Nimble touch: $8.2 million in VC funds puts NimbleGen over $50 million mark

NimbleGen Systems Inc. recently announced the closing of a private venture financing round in the amount of $8.2 million, an effort led by Cargill Ventures of Minneapolis, Minn., and Skyline Ventures of Palo Alto, Calif. That brings NimbleGen—a provider of flexible high-density microarray products and services for genetic analysis—to a total of $50 million raised since its founding in 1999.

Jeffrey Bouley
MADISON, Wis.—NimbleGen Systems Inc. recently announced the closing of a private venture financing round in the amount of $8.2 million, an effort led by Cargill Ventures of Minneapolis, Minn., and Skyline Ventures of Palo Alto, Calif. That brings NimbleGen—a provider of flexible high-density microarray products and services for genetic analysis—to a total of $50 million raised since its founding in 1999.
 
One of the reasons for the latest round of financing, according to Sanjiv Arora, NimbleGen director at Cargill Ventures, was that the company is well-positioned in the microarray market because it has both high probe density and long oligos.
 
"The company has made enormous strides in the past year, becoming the ChIP-chip market leader, launching its CGH platform with the highest resolution in the market, and pushing the frontier of emerging, novel applications," he says.
 
Dr. David Lowe, NimbleGen director at Skyline Ventures, agrees, noting that both the technology and management at the company inspire confidence, and managers and scientists alike have done a very effective job of forging strategic relationships and serving customers' needs in new as well as existing markets.
 
That confidence is borne out in the company's recent growth spurts, according to Dr. Stanley Rose, NimbleGen president and CEO. "For the first three quarters of 2005, our orders tripled over what we had in 2004," he reports, though he would not disclose dollar amounts.
 
The company has four main focus areas right now, he says, which are comparative genomic hybridization (CGH), ChIP-chip, comparative genome sequencing (CGS) and expression tiling.
 
"Above and beyond the individual applications we offer, though, the notion that we really want to push, is that scientists now have the ability to integrate all this diverse information, which collectively can provide a better understanding of genomics, biology and drug effects," Rose says. "We call this enhanced view of data 'high-definition genomics. It would be presumptuous to say that we know—or can know—everything about genomics even with these tools integrated together. But we can learn so much more now, and our goal is to help researchers do that with higher accuracy, more rapidly and less expensively."
 
All of the company's existing venture capital and institutional investors participated in the latest round of financing. Besides Cargill Ventures and Skyline Ventures, the list includes Topspin Partners, Tactics II Investments LLC, Venture Investors LLC, Baird Venture Partners, The Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF) and the State of Wisconsin Investment Board.

Jeffrey Bouley

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