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Ceres Nanosciences Raises $3 Million in Series A Funding

Friday, February 3, 2017  
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Ceres Nanosciences, Inc. has completed a $3MM Million Series A financing as part of a larger, $9MM Series A round. GreyBird Ventures, an early stage venture fund, with offices in Boston, is leading the round. GreyBird is committing up to $5.5MM over the next year, and is supporting Ceres in completing the round with additional investment from strategic industry partners.

Ceres Nanosciences, a biotechnology company located in northern Virginia, has developed and commercialized a novel nanoparticle technology, the “Nanotrap®”, which provides powerful biomarker capture and biofluid sample processing capabilities for a wide array of diagnostic applications and sample handling needs.

The technology was first invented at George Mason University under a cancer research program. Ceres Nanosciences spun off in 2009 to develop a commercial-grade diagnostic test. Ceres intends to market diagnostic tests for a variety of conditions, but is starting in the rapidly expanding market with its focus on Lyme disease. The company hopes to gain FDA approval for the test within two years. Ceres officials have said they hope to capture a large part of the addressable market for Lyme testing that could be greater than $100 million within five years of launch.

“This marks a very big milestone for Ceres, and the timing could not be better, as there is a growing demand from patients and physicians, alike, for better ways to conduct non-invasive and highly accurate testing,” said Ceres CEO Ross Dunlap. “Our Nanotrap® technology platform will enable a convenient way of detecting Lyme disease, routinely and effectively, using a patient’s urine sample and a simple point-of-care test device. This will set the stage for delivering many new high-accuracy and patient-friendly tests based on this platform.”

Emanuel “Chip” Petricoin, PhD, one of the co-inventors of the Nanotrap® and a co-founder of Ceres, explained, “One of the biggest limitations in clinical diagnostics today is that most of the biomarkers that could transform healthcare exist in concentrations too low to be detected by current testing methods. Ceres stands poised to change the medical landscape by providing a transformative technology that can power clinical diagnostics to a level not seen before.”

GreyBird focuses on companies with technology for precision medicine diagnosis, particularly those that offer high specificity and the capability to reduce cost. "Ceres has solved a fundamental problem in precision medicine, concentrating the most interesting biomarkers of early stage disease that have a low natural abundance," Tom Miller, co-founder of GreyBird Ventures and a new Ceres board member, said in a statement.

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