Biospect Inc. is open for business.

The South San Francisco-based firm, which is developing systems to detect biomarker patterns, received more than $27 million in venture capital backing and named Deborah Neff president and CEO. The company plans to use the Series A funding to continue to build its team, further develop its platform technology and eventually develop biomarker patterns.

Officially founded last year, Biospect's technology is designed to identify and assay protein biomarker patterns that reflect and differentiate various biological states ranging from health to disease.

"Our technology is more toward diagnostic clinical applications, and initially we will target those applications," Daniel Miller, the company's vice president of finance and administration, told BioWorld Today. "As we move out and validate the platform more, we think it will draw significant interest to the research and pharmaceutical settings as well."

Its integrated system includes separations, detection and informatics technologies to detect biomarker patterns for use in diagnosing and managing disease, or drug development. Biospect plans to use minimally invasive procedures to procure samples for analysis in search of patterns of proteins, their fragments and peptides that reflect states of disease and health.

While Miller declined to specify the 30-person company's projected rate of use of the funds, he said partnering the technology would play a part in the company's future.

"We have formed some alliances, but none that can be announced," he said. "We're trying to do something fundamentally different - a new paradigm - in terms of approaching the way disease is detected and disease states are determined. And we feel like we can do something that big, given the folks that are involved."

Neff joined the company after serving as the worldwide president of BD Biosciences, the San Jose, Calif.-based unit of the diagnostics firm Becton, Dickinson and Co., of Franklin Lakes, N.J. Biospect also appointed her to its board.

The company's founders, all of whom have seats on its board, include Richard Klausner, a former director of the National Cancer Institute and now the executive director of the global health program at the Gates Foundation; George Whiteside, a professor at Harvard University; Jim Tananbaum, a managing partner at Prospect Venture Partners and Biospect's chairman; and Richard Zare, a professor at Stanford University.

The first-round investors include Prospect, of Palo Alto, Calif.; Advent Venture Partners, of London; Venrock Associates, of New York; and Versant Ventures, of Menlo Park, Calif. A number of other undisclosed individual investors from Europe contributed to the financing as well.