Metabolon, a Durham producer of diagnostic tests, has raised $15 million in new funding that is earmarked for commercialization of new products in its pipeline.
The 16-year-old company, which today has 165 employees, anticipates hiring an additional 10 to 20 workers over the next months, founder and CEO John Ryals said in an interview. Most of those employees would be added in Durham, but some of the new hires would be salespeople based elsewhere.
Metabolon announced Thursday that it raised the money from Essex Woodlands, a healthcare-focused private equity firm with $2.5 billion under management.
“It’s probably all the money we’re going to need for the next couple of years,” Ryals said. With its latest funding, Metabolon has raised about $80 million from outside investors.
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The privately held company doesn’t disclose its revenue, but Ryals did say that the company’s operations are “close to break-even now. We’re really not burning a lot of cash.”
Metabolon – which also tests medicines and other products for the likes of drug companies and universities – currently has two diagnostic tests on the market, Quantose IR and Quantose IGT, that focus on type 2 diabetes. Quantose IR tests for insulin resistance and can lead to treatment that delays or prevents the onset of type 2 diabetes.
More products are on the way to diagnose diseases that are caused by both genetic and non-genetic factors.
“We’re moving into the precision medicine space,” also known as personalized medicine, Ryals said.
That includes a new test for inherited metabolic diseases, which the company intends to roll out next month and would test for 65 rare metabolic diseases. It also has a test for chronic kidney disease that it plans to launch later this year.
Metabolon “is the leader in metabolomics,” or the science of how small molecules interact within an organism, said Scott Barry, managing partner at Essex Woodlands. “We think there is a lot of room for growth and application of this – and it’s just beginning.”
Barry said he was also impressed by Metabolon’s management team.
“They have done a great job of getting the company to where it is today, and we like to back management teams,” he said.
Essex was willing to plow more than $15 million into Metabolon, but the company didn’t need the extra funds. So, instead, Essex is looking to increase its ownership stake by investing up to $10 million more that would be used to buy out other investors – if they’re interested.
“There may be some investors that for various reasons may be looking for liquidity,” Barry said. “It would increase our ownership stake.”