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Metabolon Nabs $15M from Essex Woodlands for Precision Medicine Push

Xconomy Raleigh-Durham — 

Metabolon, a company that makes diagnostics tests that analyze the biochemical processes related to metabolism, has raised $15 million in new funding from healthcare investment firm Essex Woodlands to advance its precision medicine efforts.

Research Triangle Park, NC-based Metabolon specializes in metabolomics, the study of substances related to the body’s metabolism. With the new funding, Metabolon says it will build and commercialize its pipeline of metabolomics products, adding to a portfolio that already includes tests for obesity-related diseases.

The company says its proprietary technology can identify biomarkers from a biological sample, which can then lead to early detection of a disease. Initially, Metabolon focused on obesity-related conditions. Its first test, Quantose IR, tests for insulin resistance. A second test, Quantose IGT, tests for prediabetes.

Metabolon says that by testing for biomarkers formed from metabolism, these tests can play a role in developing diagnostics or therapies that are made for individuals based on factors such as genes and lifestyle, known as precision medicine. Metabolon’s diagnostics pipeline includes tests for liver disease and kidney function. The company says that metabolomics can identify biomarkers for health assessments and customized drug therapy.

“Metabolomics has emerged as a powerful technology for precision medicine by dissecting underlying disease processes, which has set the stage for new ways to diagnose, monitor and provide treatment guidance,” Metabolon CEO John Ryals said in a prepared statement.

Besides its diagnostic tests, Metabolon also makes money by partnering with pharmaceutical companies and food companies, who use its metabolomics technology to test how their own products interact with the body’s metabolism.

Metabolon says that the Essex Woodlands investment includes the option to add $10 million more to the new funding, which would be used to buy shares from Metabolon’s other investors. It didn’t disclose how or why Essex might choose to do so. Since Metabolon’s founding in 2000, the company says it has raised about $80 million.

With the latest financing, Scott Barry, managing director at Essex Woodlands, will join Metabolon’s board of directors.