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EraGen lands $12 million venture round

Madison, Wis. — EraGen Biosciences has gained another $12 million in venture capital in an investment round led by out-of-state firms.

EraGen makes diagnostics products that clinicians and researchers can use to do genetic tests, for example, to determine the suitability of certain drugs to animals or people. The company says it has received $21 million so far in venture investment, in addition to various government grants and loans.

The funding round was led by First Analysis Corporation, of Chicago. Other participants were Prolog Ventures, of St. Louis, and Stonehenge Capital Company, which has offices in Milwaukee and elsewhere, Novartis Venture Fund, out of Switzerland and with U.S. offices in Massachusetts, and undisclosed Wisconsin angel investors. Novartis was already an investor in the company.

First Analysis vice president Tracy Marshbanks and Prolog Ventures managing director Greg Johnson joined EraGen's board of directors as part of the deal.

EraGen's priority with the new funding will be product development and attempting to gain ISO 9001 certification in 2006, said corporate communications director Regina Reynolds. She didn't say the company has a specific goal for being bought out or making a stock offering, but "we're looking to build a sustainable busines, and we're open to all things that might come along over time." Investors could not be immediately reached for comment on Monday.

Separately, EraGen CEO Irene Hrusovsky has joined the board of directors of eMetagen Corporation, a University of Wisconsin-Madison spinoff trying to develop antibiotics and anti-cancer drugs from microorganisms found in soil.

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