Pop Genetics Raises First Round

Population Genetics Technologies Ltd., a UK-based developer of new technologies for population studies, has raised Gbp3.8 million in first-round funding. Backers include Auriga Partners, Noble Fund Managers and company founders. The company also announced that it has named Mel Kronick as CEO. He previously was a division R&D manager at both Agilent and Applied Biosystems.




Population Genetics Technologies Limited, a privately-held Cambridge company focused on creating new paradigms for performing large-scale population genetics studies, has raised gbp3.8 million in a first round of venture funding.
The financing was provided by Auriga Partners, Noble Fund Managers, and Compass Genetics Investors LLC (the founders of PGT: Drs. Sydney Brenner, Sam Eletr and Philip Goelet).

The company also announced the appointment of Dr Mel N. Kronick as chief executive officer and member of the PGT  board.  Dr Kronick was former division R & D manager at both Agilent Technologies and Applied Biosystems.

He was responsible for multiple product development activities that have resulted in commercially successful products using DNA sequencing and DNA microarray technologies.

For the last 18 months he has worked closely with PGT management to refine PGT's business focus and then to organise this Series A funding. Joining Dr Kronick on the PGT board are Dr Bernard Daugeras, managing partner of Auriga Partners, and Dr Stephane Mery, director, Healthcare Investments, at Noble Fund Managers.

Dr Sam Eletr, former acting CEO of PGT, will now serve as board chairman: Dr Eletr was founder of Applied Biosystems (the company that developed the first and most successful DNA sequencing machines) and Lynx Therapeutics (the company that pioneered the genesis of the emerging next generation sequencing technologies). Dr Mark Treherne, a former research executive at Pfizer, who has founded several UK biotechnology companies and served as chairman of the PGT board until now, will remain on the board.

PGT was started in 2005 with seed funding from the Wellcome Trust's Technology Transfer Division to develop and then commercialise several novel concepts for studying populations that were proposed by Dr Sydney Brenner, co-recipient of the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 2002.

Dr Brenner has noted that “this new technology will enable users to discover shared gene variants characteristic of a particular disorder or a specific response to drugs without the need to sequence separately every individual genome in a particular population.”

Dr Eletr recently observed: “Advances in technologies designed to obtain DNA sequence information are moving at a significant pace. Our new method, if successful, will be a huge leap forward, as it is expected to reduce significantly the cost of using any sequencing technology, however efficient, that can analyse only one genome at a time.”