CAMBRIDGE, MA, Sample6, the synthetic biology diagnostic company, today announced it closed a $12.7 million Series C funding round from a collection of top industry investors, bringing the total investment to date to $32M.
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Led by Acre Venture Partners, new investor Valley Oak Investments and existing Sample6 investors, Canaan Partners and Cultivian Sandbox Ventures, also joined the round to support Sample6's mission to improve human health by enabling rapid, on-site pathogen detection.
'Food safety and pathogen testing is in desperate need of innovation and transformation. Sample6's synthetic biology technology platform is exactly the disruption that is needed,' noted Acre Venture Partner's Sam Kass. 'It has the potential to create a paradigm shift -- from days-long wait times before action could be taken, to in-shift testing with immediate remediation following.'
The latest investment fortifies the company's dominance in the food diagnostics startup space. Acre Venture Partners focuses on funding innovators in the global food supply chain to create better outcomes for health, sustainability and transparency, and the family office of Valley Oak Investments specializes in the global food industry with deep roots in the Northern California agriculture markets.
Disruptive Testing Technology
Based on the successful commercialization of its AOAC-certified DETECT/L Listeria-testing product and cloud-based CONTROL analytics system, Sample6 is having an immediate and meaningful impact on food safety. Sample6 enables customers such as global companies like Unilever, Smithfield, and Saputo amongst others, to quickly detect and control pathogens at various points of need in the food chain, allowing food manufacturers to achieve the highest degree of control in their production environments through in-shift testing. Its technology tackles the food safety problem by enabling faster testing at the point of need, and complements it with a complete, cloud-based food safety management and control system that can integrate with data from safety and laboratory management systems - including microbial, allergen and other contaminant testing.
The BioIllumination platform making this rapid and sensitive detection possible leverages synthetic biology approaches invented by Sample6 scientists to quickly detect live bacterial pathogens in many environments and sample types. This allows for future applications benefitting from truly rapid identification or characterization such as testing for antibiotic susceptibility in clinical blood samples, swabbing patients for intake triage, determining if a lake is safe or not, or testing a dairy cattle for inflammation, to name just a few applications.
Experienced Leadership Team
In conjunction, Dr. Michael Koeris, Sample6 co-founder and VP of Research, Development and Manufacturing, has been appointed as chief executive officer (CEO) to lead the company's next phase of growth and planned market expansion. Former CEO Tim Curran will continue to provide his industry perspective as a Senior Strategic Advisor to the company.
'Michael delivers the perfect blend of passion for making the world a better place and technical vision needed to lead Sample6 for this next phase of expansion. The commercial and customer-facing operations that have been built over the past three years under the leadership of startup veteran Tim Curran position the company to effectively expand its product portfolio,' said Stephen Bloch, General Partner at Canaan Partners.
An accomplished biotech luminary, Koeris is also the founder of BiotechStart.org, a nonprofit, free resource for turning scientific discoveries into world changing biotechnology startups. Prior to Sample6, Koeris held roles at Flagship Ventures, McKinsey & Co. and KPMG Consulting. A visiting scholar with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Koeris holds multiple patents. He earned a Ph.D. in biomedical engineering studying under one of the pioneers of synthetic biology Prof. Jim Collins at Boston University (now MIT), as well as a B.S and M.S. in biochemistry and biophysics from the Free University of Berlin, during which he studied and did his thesis work at MIT.
'I've worked tirelessly with the executive team and fellow co-founders to grow Sample6's synthetic biology platform into a leading pathogen diagnostic for the food industry. It's a great honor to be leading this innovative and focused team as CEO,' said Dr. Koeris. 'Providing food manufacturers access to rapid, on-site testing coupled with a deep understanding of data translates to safer and fresher food for consumers. We have made fantastic progress toward our mission of dramatically improving the safety of the world's food supply, and our plans will only get bigger from here as we expand our footprint in the food industry and beyond.'
In addition, Kass will join the Board of Directors. Kass brings unmatched expertise based on prior roles as senior policy advisor on nutrition to President Barack Obama as well as serving as the assistant chef at the White House. In addition to working with the FDA on the Food Safety and Modernization Act, Kass has lead numerous efforts to promote a healthier, safer and more transparent food system.
Sample6 is making food safer by delivering two powerful tools to the food industry, Sample6 DETECT and Sample6 CONTROL. Sample6 DETECT is an enrichment-free, on-site, in-shift pathogen diagnostic. This advancement paired with powerful analytics from Sample6 CONTROL will shift food safety from reaction to prevention, which is the primary goal of the FSMA and HAACP initiatives in the United States. Food processors from meat, seafood, dairy, produce, and dry goods have already partnered with Sample6 in order to integrate these revolutionary products into their plants. For more information, please visit www.sample6.com.