By Randall Osborne
West Coast Editor
Even in a tight financing market, rays of scattered light shine on some companies ¿ including privately held Genicon Science Corp., which raised $27 million to pursue its Resonance Light Scattering technology to analyze biological interactions.
¿This is not about raising money to conduct three years worth of research to prove it works,¿ said James Linton, vice president of business development for San Diego-based Genicon. ¿It does work.¿
RLS, deployed in multiple assay formats, starts by binding sub-microscopic, ¿nano-sized¿ particles to molecules, and then using white light source-based instruments to measure activity. Under such light, the particles emit light of telltale wavelengths and intensities.
Genicon says the intensity of one colored light signal generated by an RLS particle is up to a million times greater than the most sensitive fluorescent molecules used as labels in analytical bioassays.
The particles don¿t bleach, quench or decay ¿which means you can archive data, and it allows you to standardize assays globally,¿ Linton said.
Investors in the third round of financing include Audax Ventures, of Newport Beach, Calif.; CMEA Life Sciences, of San Francisco; GIMV, of Antwerp, Belgium; and Radius Ventures, of Boston.
Genicon, founded in 1998, has 42 employees and partnerships with Incyte Genomics Inc., of Palo Alto, Calif.; Pall Corp., of East Hills, N.Y.; and Ventana Medical Systems Inc., of Tucson, Ariz.
¿Incyte is going to be commercializing a product where RLS is used with antibody microarrays,¿ Linton told BioWorld Today. ¿Ventana has a proprietary automated system, for processing tissue microslides. About a year ago, they figured out this system could be very robust for processing genomic microarrays, and we¿re creating a kit for them that will fit into the automated system.¿
That¿s the ¿value-added¿ aspect of Genicon¿s three-part business model, Linton said. The second aspect, involving toolkits for the bench top researcher who wants to create a customized assay, is exemplified in the relationship with Pall, he said.
¿They have a membrane-coated slide, which has been around a lot longer than glass surfaces,¿ he said, and Genicon will be working with Pall to make a slide ¿allowing end users to spot oligonucleotides, proteins or antibodies.¿ Another such deal is with Corning Inc., of Acton, Mass., he added.
¿They¿re commercializing RLS on custom-spotted microarrays, on a high quality Corning glass slide for nucleic acids,¿ Linton said.
The third aspect of the business model involves Genicon acting as an assay solutions provider.
¿We¿re taking RLS to companies with very large programs, where they want us to match our technology to their existing programs,¿ Linton said. ¿They¿re not reselling it, they¿re just using large quantities. We have a number of relationships we have not announced, funded relationships with major players in the genomics world.¿