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OpGen layoffs precede another funding round

Madison, Wis. - OpGen Technologies, a Madison-based DNA analysis company, has let go of an unspecified number of employees in advance of a second round of venture capital funding.

Dr. Colin Dykes, executive vice president of corporate development and chief scientific officer for OpGen, said the affected workers were let go to control costs as the company prepares for its next round of funding.

Dykes also said that Joe Shaw, former CEO of OpGen, now is serving as a consultant to the company.

An east coast firm is putting together the forthcoming round, which Dykes described as significant. He declined to predict when the round would close, but said the funding is intended to take the company to profitability.

“We're engaged in closing a new line of financing to take the company to the next level,” he said.
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Mason Wells Biomedical Fund, which led OpGen's initial $5 million round in January of 2005, also will participate in the forthcoming round, but not as the lead investor.

Daniel Broderick, founding partner of Mason Wells, and Trevor D'Souza, its managing director, serve on OpGen's board of directors.

UW spin off

The company, which started in 2001, is based on optical mapping technology developed at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

The technology, made available on a fee-for-service basis, is covered by 12 U.S. patents. Optical mapping is used by life-science researchers to analyze the human genome. It enables researchers to examine entire genomes and obtain detailed genetic information.

Dykes said the bulk of the new venture funding will be used to develop new instrumentation.

He declined to reveal the size of OpGen's staff prior to the layoffs, but the company employed 14 people at this time last year, according to the 2006 Greater Madison Area Directory of High-Tech Companies.

Joining Mason Wells in the original funding round were Stonehenge Capital, the State of Wisconsin Investment Board, and the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation.

Dykes said he is not serving as OpGen's new chief executive. The new lead investor will “certainly want to appoint a new CEO as soon as they can,” he said.

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