OpGen Raises $23.6 Million for DNA Analysis Technology

OpGen, a Madison, WI-based company whose technology analyzes DNA extracted from microbial cells, has raised $23.6 million in a Series A equity financing. The financing — led by CHL Medical Partners, Highland Capital Partners and Versant
Ventures, with previous investor Mason Wells also participating — will be used to develop diagnostic systems for the clinical microbiology market.

“Currently, clinical microbiology laboratories depend on isolating and growing microorganisms from clinical samples,” said CHL Medical Partners’ Ron Lennox, who was named chairman of OpGen’s board in conjunction with the financing. “This is a lengthy process and provides only a simple taxonomic identification. The results are rarely timely enough to influence choice of therapy and can lead to excessive use of expensive broad-spectrum antibiotics. OpGen’s new system will provide data capable of identifying bacteria down to the strain level, within a single shift.”

OpGen’s Optical Mapping system is already being used by organizations worldwide for comparative genomic analysis of a range of organisms of importance to human health, including tracing the origins of food-poisoning cases such as the recent outbreak linked to contaminated spinach. The system can be used to obtain detailed genetic information with no requirement for prior sequence data, PCR, cloning, or probes.

Applications for the new instrumentation systems include clinical microbial analysis, forensic microbiology and the development of novel molecular diagnostic products.

“There is a huge unmet need for systems to rapidly and accurately diagnose clinical infections and to control nosocomial infections,” said Corey Mulloy, from Highland Capital Partners.

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