ALBUQUERQUE, N.M., June 28 /PRNewswire/ -- Exagen Diagnostics, Inc., an emerging leader in the commercialization of practical IVD kits based on proprietary genomic markers for prognostic or predictive testing, today announced it raised $7 million in Series B financing. Tullis-Dickerson & Co. led this second round, with the participation of vSpring Capital and Wasatch Venture Fund. Exagen completed a $5.7 million Series A round of financing in early 2004. "This round of funding gives Exagen the resources to accelerate our go-to-market plans and advance our pipeline," says Waneta Tuttle, Ph.D., Exagen president and CEO. "We plan to be the first provider of genomic marker IVD kits for breast cancer that enable widespread use in any CLIA-certified laboratory. Our first tests are the Key2(TM) Breast Cancer Prognosis panel of products that detect changes in DNA copy number in both hormone receptor-positive and hormone receptor-negative tumors." Exagen commercializes and sells IVD kits that measure genomic markers to predict likelihood of disease progression or response to pharmaceutical drug treatment. In addition to breast cancer, other IVD products will include a panel of tests for hepatitis C to identify those patients most likely to respond to standard treatment with interferon and ribavirin. Kits will initially be licensed to key laboratories and later sold to pathologists globally. Exagen will also partner with pharmaceutical companies to develop companion response-prediction kits for new therapeutics. Using its proprietary discovery technology, Exagen mines genome-wide data to discover the best, small combination of genes for a specific testing purpose. Because the best combinations use only three to five genes, Exagen readily implements tests using "pattern of genomic amplification" (PGA) FISH (fluorescent in situ hybridization), a procedure common in laboratories performing oncology tests. The success of Exagen's proprietary discovery technology has been demonstrated in over 10 projects covering multiple therapeutic areas. "We believe Exagen is poised to significantly advance patient testing in the very near future," said Thomas Dickerson, chairman of Tullis-Dickerson & Co. and chairman of the board of directors, Exagen. "The company's early success so clearly validated our initial investment that we were eager to lead this second round of funding." Dinesh Patel, Ph.D., partner, vSpring Capital, stated, "We are excited to add resources that keep Exagen focused on bringing its first two products to market next year." Todd Stevens, managing director, Wasatch Venture Fund, said, "We have tremendous confidence in the company's leadership and anticipate the addition of new members of the management team as Exagen accelerates its go-to-market plan in the coming year." About Exagen Diagnostics, Inc. As an emerging leader in prognostic and predictive IVD kit development, Exagen Diagnostics is uniquely able to discover, validate and productize small sets of genomic markers for use in oncology, infectious disease and other indications. Exagen aims to commercialize IVD kits that can be performed by existing diagnostic laboratories and to develop tests that accompany the launch of new therapeutics and/or support pharmaceutical R&D/Phase IV. For more information, visit www.exagendiagnostics.com. About Tullis-Dickerson & Co. Tullis-Dickerson & Co., Inc. is one of the country's largest health care-focused private equity groups, providing capital to small and mid-sized companies. The firm provides seed through late stage capital to creative, committed management teams leading growth companies. Within health care, Tullis-Dickerson focuses on segments including biotechnology and life sciences, health care information technology and informatics, health care services/managed care, medical devices and medical distribution. About vSpring Capital vSpring is an early-stage venture capital fund focusing on investment opportunities in Information Technology and Life Sciences. vSpring capitalizes on the managerial skills and operating experience of its principals to successfully invest in and mentor early-stage companies. vSpring is headquartered in Salt Lake City, Utah with additional offices in Albuquerque and Los Alamos, New Mexico. About Wasatch Venture Fund Wasatch Venture Fund specializes in early-stage, information technology and life science investments. With headquarters in Salt Lake City, Wasatch also maintains offices in Santa Fe, New Mexico and Phoenix, Arizona. Since its inception in 1994, Wasatch has focused exclusively on working with driven entrepreneurs to build successful technology companies. For more information, visit www.wasatchvc.com.
SOURCE Exagen Diagnostics, Inc.