Amnis Nails Down Capital to Meet Rising Demand for Scientific Instruments

7/30/09Follow @xconomy

Seattle-based Amnis, the maker of a scientific instrument that provides detailed images on large numbers of cells, has raised the first $839,000 out of a venture round that’s expected to top out at $1.5 million within a couple of weeks, according to CEO David Basiji.

Amnis secured the first batch of funds from its existing investors, CVF LLC, MedVenture Associates, and OrbiMed Capital, and angels, Basiji says. The money will be used to beef up manufacturing runs so that Amnis can produce enough of its new ImageStreamX machine to meet demand from biologists, he says. By mid-September, Amnis expects to have enough orders booked to use up its full manufacturing capacity for the rest of the year, he added.

“We’re seeing a lot of organic demand,” Basiji says.

We profiled Amnis in this space last month, describing how the company is going through a transformation with its second-generation instrument. As described in that story, the ImageStreamX is essentially a cross between a traditional laboratory microscope for looking at cells, and a standard machine for counting and cataloging large numbers of cells-what’s known as a flow cytometer. Microscopes are great for providing detailed images, but they are slow, and are limited by what human eyes can see. Flow cytometers are good at giving quantitative cell counts in a sample-but don’t provide images that can provide subtle insights into variation of cells. The Amnis product is designed to combine some of the best features of both product types, Basiji says.

Amnis sells the product to academic researchers at places like the National Institutes of Health, the Pasteur Institute in France, as well as big drugmakers like Amgen and GlaxoSmithKline.

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