The Ontario Institute for Cancer Research (OICR) and DVS Sciences Inc., today announced that DVS Sciences has completed a $14.6 million series A financing. DVS, a Toronto-based spinoff from the University of Toronto, invented and manufactures pioneering instrumentation that enables paradigm-shifting biological research with potential clinical applications that include personalized medicine. The company was an early recipient of seed funding from OICR, which is an independent, not-for-profit corporation established by the McGuinty government in 2005.
The Series A financing was led by 5AM Ventures. Additional investors included Mohr Davidow Ventures (MDV), Pfizer Venture Investments (PVI) and Roche Finance Ltd.
"With early seed financing provided by OICR, and support from its Entrepreneur in Residence program, DVS Sciences is a perfect example of our mission to generate faster translation of scientific research into cancer patient care, while supporting Ontario-based health care companies in a challenging economic environment," said Frank Stonebanks, OICR's Chief Commercial Officer. "Most importantly, this first round of financing -- the largest venture-backed Series A equity raised in Canada's life sciences and medical technology fields in recent years, and almost twice the average Series A funding in the U.S.-- will help accelerate commercialization of the revolutionary CyTOFTM analytical instrument pioneered by DVS Sciences, which promises to greatly enhance cancer research, screening and treatment."
"This is a great example of public-private collaboration," said Ontario Minister of Research and Innovation Glen Murray. "Our government is proud to partner with Ontario innovators and entrepreneurs to bring promising new technologies to market."
The financing will allow DVS Sciences to create state-of-the art manufacturing facilities in Ontario, establish a distribution network and increase global sales of CyTOF. The instrument, conceptually similar to a flow cytometer, enables highly multiplexed biomarker analysis for scientific research, clinical trials and personalized medicine. The DVS system uses stable isotope tags to identify up to 100 biomarkers at a time with very high resolution and wide dynamic range, whereas a flow cytometer uses fluorescent tags, which limit the multiplex capacity due to spectral overlap. The CYTOF has been demonstrated to analyze 34 biomarkers simultaneously in single human leukemia cells at a rate of 1,000 cells per second with absolute signal quantification. Several CyTOF instruments have been sold to leading laboratories in Canada, the U.S.A. and Asia.
"This financing is the first step in our transformation from a research-based entity to a commercial company," said Dr. Scott Tanner, President of DVS Sciences, Inc. "We are now in a position to commercialize our innovative instrumentation and reagents that will foster the acceleration of medical research, enable personalized therapeutic diagnosis and prognosis, and transform drug discovery."