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Empowering research: Lightcast Discovery secures $49M to unveil Single-Cell functional analysis platform

Lightcast Discovery CEO
Picture credits: Lightcast Discovery

UK-based Lightcast Discovery is a biotech company developing a novel single-cell functional analysis platform. Now, the company has completed its Series B funding round by raising £38 million. The investment round was led by M Ventures and saw participation from existing investors ARCH Venture Partners, Illumina Ventures, OMX Ventures, +ND Capital and Longwall Ventures, known for its investments in Wayland Additive.

Lightcast Discovery will use the fresh funds to accelerate its growth and expansion leading to a full commercial launch. Besides the investment, Lightcast Discovery appointed Paul Steinberg as its Chief Commercial Officer. 

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.

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 commercialisation 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 organisation and the 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.”

New approach for functional analysis of cells 

Founded in 2019 in Cambridge and led by CEO Paul Loeffen, Lightcast Discovery is developing a single-cell functional analysis with a flexible droplet-based platform. This platform can load, select, process, analyse, 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 analyse 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.

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