21 Jan Lucigen Receives Funding, Breaks New Ground with Enzyme Research
Madison, Wis. – Sometimes the small things do count. Lucigen Corporation, which specializes in microbial enzyme cloning, has recently received $300,000 in initial investor funding. The Middleton, Wis.-based company plans to generate a total of $1 million through equity financing and a National Science Foundation grant in order to continue to develop cloning technology that has been deemed “revolutionary” by some.
“Through grants we’re developing the next generation of cloning, with single microbial cell capabilities” said David Mead, president and chief executive officer of Lucigen. The company plans to use the funds to expand manufacturing and marketing for its current cloning products and to accelerate the pace of its enzyme discovery program.
Using “Single Cell Genomics” and “Nanoclone” technologies, Lucigen is helping discover and cultivate previously unavailable enzymes found within microbes that live in extreme environments, like hot springs and polar ice cores, for researchers. The company’s technology can clone microbes from a single cell, as compared to the current industry standard of approximately 10 billion cells.
“[Our techniques] are a billion times more efficient than current techniques,” Mead said. “Most life forms are unculturable—we go after everything that couldn’t be accessed previously.”
The potential impact of Lucigen’s ability to unlock the door to a microbial world “depends on the application,” according to Mead. But he foresees his company’s products having impact and being used in several industries, including human health, animal health and diagnostics. “We’re looking to convert our inventions to commercial product,” he said.
Last October Lucigen received one of only four in-kind DNA sequencing grants awarded by the U.S. Department of Energy, resulting in 100 million sequence reads on Lucigen’s unknown or rare DNA by the DOE’s Joint Genome Institute. After the sequencing is complete, Lucigen will have sole ownership of the DNA sequence information for six months before it is available to the public.
Lucigen was founded in 1998 and has since received a total of $2 million in small business innovative research (SBIR) grants from the National Institutes of Health, National Science Foundation and the DOE. Its products are distributed in 20 countries.
Kristin V. Johnson is a Madison-based writer. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.