Press release

Lightcast secures $49 million in Series B financing to commercialize its single-cell platform for functional analysis

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March 13, 2024
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  • Financing led by M Ventures, with participation from existing investors ARCH Venture Partners, Illumina Ventures, OMX Ventures, +ND Capital, and Longwall Ventures
  • Novel single-cell platform allows users to control and profile massively parallel and sequential droplet- based assays, with end-to-end tracking and live cell recovery for downstream applications
  • Funding will accelerate company growth and expansion leading up to full commercial launch further enabled by appointment of Chief Commercial Officer Paul Steinberg

Cambridge, UK, August 17, 2023 - Lightcast Discovery Ltd. (“Lightcast” or the “Company”), a life science tools company developing a novel single-cell functional analysis platform, today announced the completion of a £38M (c. $49 million) Series B funding round, led by M Ventures. Current investors joining the round include ARCH Venture Partners, Illumina Ventures, OMX Ventures, +ND Capital and Longwall Ventures. The company also announced the appointment of Paul Steinberg as Chief Commercial Officer.

Lightcast is advancing single-cell functional analysis with a flexible droplet-based platform that can load, select, process, analyze, and recover tens of thousands to hundreds of thousands of individual cells at the same time. This novel technology enables the manipulation of addressable picolitre droplets with light in a massively parallel manner, enabling sequential assays beyond transcriptome-only readouts. Unlike standard microfluidic methods, Lightcast’s platform offers greater flexibility to analyze a wide range of cell types and assays, as well as the precision to meticulously control and monitor the number, occupancy, location, and movement of each droplet. The unprecedented flexibility, scalability, and control of this approach will streamline workflows for drug discovery and development, and promote translational and basic research advancements.

Paul Loeffen, CEO of Lightcast, commented:
“The power of single-cell analysis to uncover the complexities of biology has become increasingly evident, but much of the work still focuses on the transcriptome as the primary readout. The next stage is to enable functional single-cell analysis at a comparable scale and with increased precision and control. With this funding, we will drive commercialization of our platform to meet the critical need of unifying diverse functional assays into a streamlined workflow to accelerate drug development.”

Christian Uhrich, Principal at M Ventures, said:
"Lightcast’s unique single-cell platform will be offering a completely unique experience in conducting complex experiments with ease, speed, and precision at an unmatched scale for basic and translational research as well as drug discovery. We continue to be impressed by the development of the organization and experience of the team to build a leading company in the single-cell analysis market. We’re happy to support Lightcast into the next stage of its development.”

Lightcast has also strengthened its executive team with the appointment of Paul Steinberg as CCO. With a track record of over 20 years in leading commercial teams, corporate growth strategies, business development efforts and global accounts in life science tools, Mr. Steinberg will play a crucial role in the company's commercial launch and spearheading global sales and marketing endeavors. He brings extensive experience in the life sciences tools industry, particularly in bringing ground-breaking single-cell genomic and proteomic technologies to market and achieving key launch milestones. Prior to joining Lightcast, Mr. Steinberg held key leadership positions at renowned companies including Resolve Biosciences, Levitas Bio, NanoString Technologies, Fluidigm, and Thermo Fisher Scientific. Mr. Steinberg holds a bachelor of science in biology and a master of science in analytical chemistry, both from the University of Miami.

For further information 

Andrew Noble for Lightcast Discovery Ltd. 

+1 (415) 722-2129

About M Ventures

M Ventures is the strategic, corporate venture capital arm of Merck. From its headquarters in the Netherlands and offices in Germany, USA and Israel, M Ventures invests globally in transformational ideas driven by innovative entrepreneurs. Taking an active role in its portfolio companies, M Ventures teams up with management teams and co-investors to translate scientific discoveries into commercial success. M Ventures focuses on identifying and financing novel solutions to some of the most difficult challenges, through company creation and equity investments in fields that will impact the vitality and sustainability of Merck‘s current and future businesses.

About Lightcast Discovery 

Lightcast Discovery aims to unleash new capabilities within the single-cell analysis field by developing a more accessible, scalable, and flexible platform for scientists in basic, translational, and applied research. These capabilities will empower new biological discoveries and accelerate the development of novel drugs, therapies, and biologics. Founded in 2019 and based in Cambridge, UK, Lightcast has invented a technology that uses light to control picolitre-scale droplets for functional analysis of individual cells, which can then be moved to other platforms for further interrogation.

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