News Article

PointGuard Ventures and Morningside Invest $13M in InSilixa's Semiconductor-Based Molecular Diagnostics Technology
Date: Oct 22, 2014
Author: Insilixa, Inc.
Source: Business Wire ( click here to go to the source)

Featured firm in this article: InSilixa Inc of Sunnyvale, CA

MENLO PARK, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--PointGuard Ventures, a Silicon Valley venture capital firm, and Morningside, a privately-held investment group, announced today that they are leading a $13M financing round for InSilixa, Inc., a new Sunnyvale, California-based molecular diagnostic (MDx) platform developer. InSilixa also announced the appointment of Pete Thomas, Managing Director, PointGuard Ventures; and Dr. Gerald Chan, co-founder of Morningside, to InSilixa's board.

"Yet, the real challenge for us was how we could leverage our technology to make a high-impact product for high-volume diagnostics and applied markets. I believe we have found the perfect answer, and we are pleased to have the support of PointGuard Ventures and Morningside to develop our envisioned products."

InSilixa is developing a new generation of high-performance MDx platforms leveraging integrated circuit (IC) manufacturing technologies, particularly complementary metal-oxide-semiconductor (CMOS) processes. InSilixa's fully integrated devices, such as CMOS biochips, are specifically designed to be cost-efficient, mass-deployable, and disposable; yet offer superior clinical performance, specificity, and parallelism. InSilixa point-of-care (PoC) systems, for example, can rapidly identify the infecting pathogen in clinical samples and simultaneously verify the absence or presence of genetic mutations that result in antibiotic resistance. There is an urgent need for such a system in multiple diagnostic scenarios, such as rapid detection of multi-drug resistant bacteria ("super bugs") in intensive care units. The system is also critical for effective response to seasonal respiratory infection outbreaks and the optimal treatment of drug resistant bacterial or viral infections (e.g., tuberculosis or HIV) globally.

The underlying technologies behind InSilixa's products came out of Caltech, The University of Texas at Austin, and Stanford University. InSilixa exclusively licensed and combined them to create its unique platforms.

"When we started the company, we were confident that we could make a superior solution using our CMOS Biochip technology to compete with today's "big iron" instruments in the life science research market," said Arjang Hassibi, Ph.D., InSilixa's Founder and Chief Executive Officer. "Yet, the real challenge for us was how we could leverage our technology to make a high-impact product for high-volume diagnostics and applied markets. I believe we have found the perfect answer, and we are pleased to have the support of PointGuard Ventures and Morningside to develop our envisioned products."

While precise details of InSilixa's first products are not yet released, the company has indicated that the first generation of products will be focused on highly multiplexed genomic tests for PoC and near patient diagnosis of infectious diseases. Due in large part to the semiconductor technology underlying all its products, InSilixa is developing a platform-based architecture, which will allow the cost effective and rapid retargeting of its technology for use in different diagnostic applications, each employing different genomic target sets or panels.

"InSilixa has created an art-of-the-possible tipping point by bringing the frontiers of DNA sequencing, molecular diagnostics, and personalized medicine to handheld field devices at global utility price points," said Krish Panu, Managing Director, PointGuard Ventures. "This technology has the ability to make a tremendous and meaningful quality-of-life impact in areas such as infectious disease, dispassionate of geography and economic status. It is truly exciting for us to be funding InSilixa's future developments."

"InSilixa's focus on providing real-time, economical, mobile diagnostic capabilities could not come at a better time," said Dr. Gerald Chan, co-founder of Morningside. "We look forward to progressing this personalized point-of-care technology."

About InSilixa, Inc. (

InSilixa, Inc., headquartered in Sunnyvale, CA, is a multidisciplinary, highly motivated and highly technical team comprised of industry veterans with diverse backgrounds in semiconductor, biotechnology, medicine, and informatics. Founded in 2012, InSilixa is driven by the quest to democratize and drive down the cost of molecular diagnostics worldwide by leveraging its proprietary semiconductor-based CMOS biochip technology. To that end, the company is developing point-of-care (PoC) and near patient platforms for the delivery of low cost, high-performance, and mass-deployable solutions for DNA and protein-based diagnostic testing.

About PointGuard Ventures (

PointGuard Ventures, founded by Krish Panu and Pete Thomas, both Silicon Valley venture capitalist veterans with 35 years of venture and operating experience, invests in dynamic new technology companies to create new market opportunities or to solve problems in existing markets more cost effectively. Their venture experience spans over 50 startups, 12 IPOs, and many successful M&A transactions. PointGuard's new fund will invest in software, networking, and hardware to provide "technology convergence" solutions to many of today's markets including Mobile Commerce, Cloud Computing, Greentech, Point-of-Care medical, Education, and applied Data Analytics. PointGuard's fund strategy is to invest in a mix of companies in need of Series A & B funding, and in select later stage investments that are based in the U.S. with the potential for early global market entry.

About Morningside (

Morningside is a diversified investment group founded in 1986 by the Chan family of Hong Kong. It is engaged primarily in private equity and venture capital investments. The group has investments in North America, Europe, and across Asia-Pacific, and since 1992, in Mainland China. Morningside is an active investor in early-stage life science companies formed around new technologies that represent a high degree of novelty over existing technologies.