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Seahorse Bioscience To Expand Worldwide Sales, Manufacturing Capacity

Seahorse Bioscience, a Billerica-based maker of cell-based metabolic assays, has closed $5m financing to fund expansion of domestic and international sales and marketing activities and to increase manufacturing capacity of its popular XF series of instruments.

Investors in the Series D round included Commonwealth Capital Ventures, FLIR Systems, Rock Maple Ventures, Life Sciences Partners, Oxford Bioscience Partners, Healthcare Ventures, New Science Ventures and HLM Venture Partners.

Introduced in 2006, Seahorse’ XF Analyzers measure two energy pathways of the cell in a microplate, enabling scientists to generate a comprehensive picture of cellular bioenergetics in real-time.

Seahorse claimed that the XF Analyzer plays a key role in the resurgence of interest in the Warburg effect, a discovery about the way cancer cells prefer to burn sugar over fat. Blocking sugar metabolism can cause cancer cells to die, a phenomenon that is fueling a new wave of research into how cancers proliferate and ways to stop them.

In response to the impact, organizers of the upcoming Keystone Symposia on Cancer Cell Metabolism have invited Seahorse’s Dr Min Wu to speak about new findings of cancer metabolism using the XF Analyzer.

Jay Teich, CEO of Seahorse, said: “This investment is a milestone for Seahorse. It is enabling us to aggressively grow our sales efforts and our manufacturing capability. We will use the funds to double our worldwide sales coverage and will be hiring at our manufacturing plant in Chicopee, MA, ensuring that we keep pace with market demand for our XF system.”

Jeff Hurst of Commonwealth Capital Ventures, said: “While sales by most life science businesses declined in 2009, the demand for Seahorse’s technology led to the third consecutive year of impressive sales. With the impact they are having in the cancer market it was an easy decision for us to increase our investment to allow them to accelerate their geographic growth and accelerate market adoption.”