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Seattle startup RareCyte raises $24M to advance new high-speed cell imaging platform

Totally different immune cells imaged on a bit of tonsil by the RareCyte Orion platform. Distinct cell sorts are in inexperienced, purple and white, cell nuclei are in blue. (RareCyte Picture)

Seattle-based startup RareCyte introduced $24 million in new funding on Thursday to advance its functions for the evaluation of cells.

RareCyte sells imaging-based liquid and tissue biopsy evaluation platforms that detect and analyze cells.

The corporate’s merchandise are primarily geared toward scientific and translational researchers in academia and biopharma firms. The corporate markets kits for getting ready samples from blood or tissues and devices to optically measure cells. Their merchandise intention for automation and high-volume of sampling.

The brand new funding will gasoline the commercialization and growth of its new Orion cell imaging and evaluation platform, launched final yr, and allow enlargement of its different merchandise into world markets.

The Orion instrument photos a pathology slide at excessive pace, detecting varied molecular markers on cells labeled with fluorescent probes. The instrument has 21 channels for detection, every in a position to decide up a unique fluorescent channel, enabling detecting of a excessive variety of markers concurrently.

The Orion system can yield loads of details about a organic pattern in a short while.

“The brand new Orion spatial biology platform coupled with the prevailing RareCyte portfolio of precision biology options will present vital new capabilities for researchers and clinicians to advance essential utility areas similar to immuno-oncology,” the intersection of immunology and most cancers analysis, stated Robert Weisskoff in a statement. Weisskoff is a parter at F-Prime Capital, a backer of the brand new funding, and has joined the corporate’s board of administrators.

Figuring out what immune molecules are current on cells and in what quantity can, for example, assist researchers perceive how the physique is reacting to a tumor. The platform may additionally assist advance the invention of molecules that predict how a illness similar to most cancers will progress.

RareCyte CEO Joe Victor. (5AM Ventures Photograph)

“On the planet of precision drugs, there’s a huge unmet want for researchers and clinicians to probe their treasured samples for high-multiplex data, however the out there applied sciences can take greater than per week to course of one pattern,” stated CEO Joe Victor in a statement saying the brand new platform final yr, “We imagine that Orion with 21 channel whole-slide single scan functionality in just some hours may have vital influence on this essential space.”

RareCyte is one among a number of firms increasing into the “spatial biology” area, as advances in optics, molecular methods and software program evaluation propel the field forward. Different firms within the space embody Seattle-based NanoString Applied sciences, which markets its GeoMx Digital Spatial profiler system, which might analyze quite a few molecules in a pattern to evaluate the exercise of proteins or DNA in a cell.

RareCyte additionally makes a number of merchandise for researchers to detect and analyze circulating tumor cells — most cancers cells circulating within the blood. Analyzing such cells can present data on how a tumor is creating, although long-standing efforts within the area to develop diagnostics based mostly on such cells are nonetheless ongoing.

RareCyte was spun out of Utilized Precision in 2011, shortly after Normal Electrical acquired the Seattle-area firm, which focuses on superior high-resolution and super-resolution imaging platforms for organic samples. Whole funding within the firm tops $100 million, together with a $30 million spherical in 2017 and $22 million in 2019.

Along with F-Prime Capital, different new traders embody Logos Capital, Agilent Applied sciences and Arboretum Ventures, which led the financing spherical. Current traders concerned within the new financing embody HealthQuest Capital, 5AM Ventures, and RareCyte founder Ron Seubert, who was CEO till Victor took over in 2017.

RareCyte operates out of a 22,000-square-foot facility in downtown Seattle.