Sionex Sniffs Out $12.8M Deal

Founded only months before the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, Sionex has sailed steadily on investor confidence in the need to prepare for a possible biological attack. The Waltham, Mass.-based company announced last week it closed on a $12.8 million Series B round. This brings the company’s total funding to $16.4 million.

New investor Morgenthaler Ventures led the transaction, which included previous investors Navigator Technology Ventures and Rho Ventures. Morgenthaler GP Paul Levine also joined the company’s board of directors. Alain Hanover of Navigator and Joshua Ruch of Rho are already on the board.

Sionex develops sensor chips to detect chemical and biological agents. It allows users to detect the presence and gauge the concentration of poisonous gasses. The company was spun out of the Charles Stark Draper Laboratory in 2000. Sionex closed its $3.6 million Series A in the spring of 2002 with a post-money valuation of $9 million.

The company will use the latest funding for product development and manufacturing and sales and marketing efforts.

Separately, Sionex in October partnered with Palo Alto, Calif.-based instrument supplier Varian (NASDAQ:VARI). Its first product with Varian is slated to be on the market by the end of the year.

Investors have shown a consistent interest in detection devices and chips. In September, Emeryville, Calif.-based Nanomix closed on $9 million in a Series B round to finance its building a commercial product from its detection technology.