BioNanomatrix Moves HQ and Nano-Scale Analysis Technology to San Diego

6/15/11Follow @bvbigelow

BioNanomatrix, a venture-backed molecular analysis startup founded in 2003 with technology licensed from Princeton University, says today it has established its new headquarters in San Diego.

The move follows the appointment of R. Erik Holmlin as BioNanomatrix CEO six months ago. Holmlin was previously the CEO at Carlsbad, CA-based GenVault, which was acquired by Pleasanton, CA-based IntegenX in February. But a BioNanomatrix spokesman tells me the shift also represents a strategic move for the company, which was previously based in Philadelphia.

With the presence of Carlsbad, CA-based Life Technologies (NASDAQ: LIFE) and San Diego-based Illumina (NASDAQ: ILMN) and Genoptix (now part of Novartis Molecular Diagnostics), the region aleady is home to some giants in molecular diagnostics and genome sequencing. Other specialized biomedical diagnostics companies based in San Diego, including Quidel (NASDAQ: QDEL) and startups like Celula, have drawn additional expertise to the cluster here.

In a statement from BioNanomatrix, Holmlin says, “Expanding our team here will accelerate commercialization of our innovative platform.” While a number of key employees are moving from Philadelphia to San Diego, Holmlin adds that the company’s East Coast office will remain “an important site for ongoing research and development” of its systems in the field and support for users.

The company also expanded its management team, naming Todd Dickinson as vice president of product development and Xing Yang as vice president of system integration.

As a preliminary step to the move, BioNanomatrix raised $23.3-million in a Series B round of equity financing in March. Domain Associates, based in Princeton, N.J., and San Diego, led the round and was joined by new investor Gund Investment Corp. and existing investors Battelle Ventures, Innovation Valley Partners, and KT Venture Group. Total funding since BioNanomatrix was founded is roughly $28.9 million. Previous investors include 21 Ventures and Ben Franklin Technology Partners.

Han Cao founded BioNanomatrix to commercialize the company’s core single-molecule nanoscale whole genome analysis technology, which he co-invented, and Hao continues to serve as the company’s chief scientific officer. The company says its technology can perform nano-scale, single-molecule analyses on minute biological samples that would be otherwise unattainable.

Bruce V. Bigelow is the editor of Xconomy San Diego. You can e-mail him at bbigelow@xconomy.com or call (619) 669-8788 Follow @bvbigelow

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