Oregon biotech company raises $5M to fuel growth from lab to clinic

By  – Staff Reporter, Portland Business Journal

Eugene-based NemaMetrix, a biotech company that developed DNA testing equipment using nematode worms, has raised another $5 million, according to a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

Oregon Venture Fund was the lead investor and Rogue Venture Partners also participated, said NemaMetrix CEO Matt Beaudet. This is the company’s fourth funding round, bringing the grand total to $8.5 million.

NemaMetrix has also garnered $4.5 million in grant funding from the National Institutes of Health and other entities and is currently making enough in revenue to “come close to sustaining” its operations, Beaudet said.

NemaMetrix puts genetic material from patients with inherited diseases inside microscopic animals to determine the diseases’ nature and hone potential future therapies. The process takes about three months.

To this point, NemaMetrix’s products have mostly helped basic research in labs, not clinical settings. That may soon change with this latest investment.

“This acceleration will allow us to drive time down to 10 days, and that puts it in a time frame that allows it to be usable to give a clinician information to make a decision to treat an individual patient,” Beaudet said.

He expects to hire about six more people to get the total above 50, or about double what it was at this time last year. NemaMetrix recently signed a lease for a larger space in Eugene.

The originated as a research project of University of Oregon professor Shawn Lockery. He invented a technique for studying the C. elegans nematode worm that used fluids, instead of tweezers and electrodes, making it potentially more precise and cost-effective for drug screening. Lockery and another professor spun off NemaMetrix in 2012.


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