Toronto Research Startup Xagenic Nets $20 Million

Toronto-based research startup Xagenic, a molecular diagnostics company heavily associated with the MaRS Discovery District brand, has raised $20 million in series B funding.

The new round is being led by a new investor, Domain Associates, LLC, while existing investors CTI Life Sciences Fund and the Ontario Emerging Technologies Fund also joined. In January 2012 the company raised a series A round of $10 million from CTI Life Sciences Fund L.P.Qiagen N.V. and the Ontario Capital Growth Corporation through its Emerging Technologies Fund.

“Xagenic has developed a truly revolutionary diagnostic platform that will drive molecular testing out of the high complexity lab and to the point-of-care,” commented Bruce Cohen, Executive Chair at Xagenic.  “The cost of adoption of the Xagenic platform is more than an order of magnitude lower than that of any other molecular diagnostic platform, which will finally make molecular testing approachable for physician offices and clinics.”

The company previously received a $500,000 seed funding round from MaRS and an additional $2.2 million through the Ontario Centres of Excellence, the MaRS Discovery District Investment Accelerator Fund, The Health Technology Exchange (HTX), and the Ontario Institute for Cancer Research.

Xagenic Inc., is developing the first lab-free molecular diagnostic platform with a 20-minute time-to-result based on University of Toronto research by professors Shana Kelley and Edward Sargent. Kelley remains the startup’s founder and CEO. More specifically, its AuRA (Amplified Redox Assay) technology uses nanostructured microelectrodes to permit rapid, enzyme-free, direct detection of nucleic acids from clinical specimens without the need for sample extraction. The entire workflow is automated on a disposable cartridge that runs on a small, easy system that enables on-demand, near patient molecular testing, empowering clinicians to make treatment decisions for their patients at the time of first consultation.

“Xagenic’s success reflects the merits of investing locally to retain highly-skilled jobs,” said MaRS CEO Dr. Raphael Hofstein. “Xagenic now employs 25 people, but if MaRS Innovation and others in Canada had not been here to support it, those jobs would almost certainly be located elsewhere.”

Hofstein that that Xagenic created MaRS Innovation’s model “for how we turn exciting, discovery-stage research into a meaningful approach to improved healthcare.” Hofstein served as Xagenic’s first chairman and CEO from 2010 to 2012. Other MaRS Innovation staff filled key positions during the company’s earliest days.

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