Caliper Technologies Corp., of Palo Alto, Calif., has completed a private financing of $20 million consisting of $5 million from collaborative partner Dow Chemical and $15 million from other sources.

Participants included previous investors Lombard Odier & Cie, State Farm Insurance and Venrock Associates, along with new-to-Caliper investors Tredegar Investments and BB BioVentures.

With the financing, Caliper has $29 million in cash, enough to carry the company for at least two years.

"Our company is still quite young," said David Lam, president and CEO. "This investment will be primarily used to continue to develop the technology and the products we are working on."

Caliper currently has a staff of 35, with 15 additional positions open.

The bioinformation technology company's lead developmental project is the LabChip, which uses electrokinetic forces to create an automated system of microscopic pumps and valves that control movement of tiny volumes of fluid across a chip.

The chips can screen compound libraries against genomic targets, diagnose diseases, perform separation procedures and conduct bioanalysis of DNA material.

The advantages, according to Caliper, are precision, speed and use of smaller quantities of substances. (See BioWorld Today, Sept. 10, 1996, p. 1.)

Earlier this year, the company signed a collaboration agreement with The Dow Chemical Co., of Midland, Mich., with the purpose of applying Dow polymer technology to the development and manufacturing of disposable LabChips. — Debbie Strickland