The $15 million Series C round was led by Vertical Venture Partners, a Palo Alto venture firm that invests in enterprise technology companies that target vertical markets. NanoCellect’s more recent $20 million Series D was led by global private equity firm, Warburg Pincus.
With the pandemic shutdown back in March 2020, NanoCellect adjusted its strategy to account for labs that would need to conduct their work in a new way. The company pivoted away from trade shows and shifted to webinars that showcased their technology as a solution to the decreased capacity in labs and the high demand for tools used for cellular analysis.
Happy Cells, Better Science
The company was co-founded in 2009 by Will Alaynick, José Morachis, Nate Heintzman, Sung Hwan Cho, and Professor Yuhwa Lo. Its first WOLF system was launched in 2017 and the recent investments will support the launch of NanoCellect’s second-generation WOLF G2 cell sorting system.
In the past, cell analysis was less specific and researchers would just look for a rough pattern among thousands of cell samples. Today, NanoCellect’s WOLF cell sorter platform uses microfluidic technology that allows scientists to examine a single cell which tells a much richer story of what is happening.
The company’s single-cell sorting technology has broad applications including single cell genomics, antibody discovery, cell line development, genomic sample preparation, CRISPR genomic editing and plant and animal genomics.
Neary, said that the ability to understand what is happening inside a single cell is an area of research that is booming. He added that the key to their technology is that it is gentle on cells as it sorts them at a lower pressure and in cell culture media.
“We treat the cells very gently, and for that reason they live,” Neary said. “And it also protects the researchers because you’re not making aerosols to sort these cells, which obviously as you can imagine with COVID is a bit of a concern.”
Neary explained that another advantage of their platform is that it costs approximately $100,000 whereas other industry cell sorting systems typically cost three to seven times more. Additionally, the WOLF system weighs 46 pounds while other systems can weigh about 500 to 800 pounds.
Investment in Growth
Throughout NanoCellect’s recent financing rounds the company managed to retain existing investors and attract new ones to support its growth.
The Series C funding round included existing investors Agilent Technologies, Illumina Ventures and FusionX Ventures as well as new investors such as Yonjin Capital and Sagian Equity.
“Since NanoCellect delivered their first WOLF systems in 2017, the company has rapidly expanded global installations while sustaining impressive customer satisfaction with its differentiated WOLF system, which validated our conviction in leading NanoCellect’s Series C Round,” said Paul Conley, managing director of Vertical Venture Partners.
New York-based Casdin Capital joined the Series D round alongside returning investors Illumina Ventures, VVP, Anzu Partners, FusionX Ventures and Sagian Equity.
NanoCellect currently has 66 employees and hired 22 people this year alone. The company is expanding its R&D team and projects that it will grow its headcount to approximately 79 by the end of this year, Neary said.
CEO: Chris Neary
HEADQUARTERS: La Jolla
BUSINESS: Company focused on developing pioneering solutions and commercializing cell analysis and sorting that is based on microfluidic technology.
EMPLOYEES: 66 employees
NOTABLE: The company’s platform is used in a variety of scientific applications including single cell genomics, antibody discovery, cell line development, genomic sample preparation, CRISPR genomic editing, and plant and animal genomics.
CONTACT: LinkedIn - NanoCellect Biomedical, Inc.