Series D Round May Bring Cyntellect $23.4 Million

Cyntellect, a San Diego firm whose devices enable scientists to use live cells in research, has closed $15.1 million in venture funding. Under the terms of the Series D transaction, investors may choose to commit an additional $8.3 million, potentially bringing the total raised to $23.4 million.

The company will use the money to hire personnel, expand operations, accelerate development and commercialization of products, and explore new applications for its technology.

Cyntellect’s core technology combines laser-based medicine and semiconductor manufacturing technology to analyze and manipulate living cells. It can be applied broadly to drug discovery research — for example, to identify new drug targets or predict the physiological effects of potential drugs — and to improve the productivity of manufacturing therapeutic protein drugs. The technology may also prove useful in such areas as stem cell processing, vaccine development and cell therapy.

Currently, the company has two main products: LEAP (stands for laser-enabled analysis and processing), an automated live-cell imaging and processing system, and HOP (high-throughput optoinjector), a small bench-top optoinjection system for delivering molecules into living cells. It also makes C-lect microplates and application kits for use with the LEAP and HOP systems.

“Cyntellect does for the study and manipulation of adhesive cells what flow-cytometry does for other cells,” said Randal Kirk, CEO of Third Security, which led the financing, in a press release. “In addition, current technologies for the transfection of cells with DNA, siRNA, small molecules and proteins are less than optimal; Cyntellect’s optoinjection technology is a significant advancement in this area.”

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