EXCLUSIVE: Star RI Startup Nabsys Closes in Providence

Friday, September 11, 2015


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Providence-based startup Nabsys -- who had raised over $40 million and was considered a rising rock star in the genome-mapping world -- has closed its downtown office.  

The company, which had been most recently located at 60 Clifford Street in Providence, was shuttered on Friday, with a For Lease sign in the window.  A parking lot attendant across the street said that the forty plus employees had previously parked there were gone.

According to multiple sources and Valentin Dimitrov, who served as the Manager of Detector Design and Evaluation for Nabsys since 2010, told GoLocal the company has been "closed for a couple of weeks now."

The company was able to secure win after win of venture and equity funding, including funds from Rhode Island's Slater Fund - who featured Nabsys as one of their successes. Governor Gina Raimondo's venture fund invested in Nabsys and the now-Governor served on the company board. Raimondo's venture fund, Point Judith Capital, manages millions for both the State of Rhode Island and the City of Providence.

As GoLocal's Stephen Beale reported in March of this year:

Governor Gina Raimondo’s former investment firm Point Judith Capital was listed as having the highest level of fees among private equity firms in 2013 and 2014, while she was still serving as state treasurer, according to newly disclosed documents.

Slater wrote about Nabsys' success, "NABsys is an example of how a startup can successfully grow by leveraging grant money to attract follow-on investments. In 2007, the company was awarded more than $1 million in grant funding from the National Institutes of Health's National Human Genome Research Institute, and subsequently received seed-round backing from Slater and other investors."

Fundraising headlines included:

NABsys Secures $7 Million Series B Funding Led by Stata Venture Partners, February 17, 2010

NABsys Announces $10M Series C Round, September 14, 2011

Nabsys Secures $20 Million Series D Financing to Support Launch of Semiconductor-Based Single-Molecule Platform for Genomic Analysis, March 13, 2013

Nabsys was headquartered in a building right near the new Brown Med School and the building is owned by Brown University.  A "For Lease" sign was in the window on Friday.  

In 2013 Nabsys had made GoLocal's "Hot" List:

"RI's smart company developing sequencing technology for DNA analysis - has raised $20 million more in funding - this brings the total to more than $40 million in capital. "Nabsys was the first company to receive a “$1000 Genome” award from the National Human Genome Research Institute of the National Institutes of Health for an electronic approach to sequencing DNA."

The then-CEO Barrett Bready was named Rhode Island Innovator of the Year, but he was replaced as CEO in 2014 by Steve Lombardi.

RI State Funding through Slater Fund

Accroding to Rich Horan, Slater Fund’s investments in Nabsys and Gene Spectrum are:

Nabsys Inc.

$225,000 Convertible Loan, dated June 2004, subsequently converted into Nabsys’ Series A financing in April 2009;
$250,000 Convertible Loan, dated June 2007, subsequently converted into Nabsys’ Series A financing in April 2009; and
$250,000 investment in Series A Preferred Stock, dated April 2009, aggregating $4 million.

Gene Spectrum Inc. (the company was merged into Nabsys)

$20,000 Loan, dated Aug-Oct 2000, subsequently converted into Gene Spectrum shares as part of 2007 merger with Nabsys; and
$250,000 Loan, dated Feb-Oct 2003, subsequently converted into Gene Spectrum shares as part of 2007 merger with Nabsys.

"The Slater Fund served as founding investor in both Nabsys and Gene Spectrum. The companies were combined by way of merger in 2007 and went on to complete the $4 million Series A financing in 2009. 

As indicated, I served as a member of the Nabsys Board of Directors from inception in 2004 through completion of the company’s Series A financing in 2009, when the Board was reconstituted per the terms of the Series A financing," Haron said in an email to GoLocal.

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Governor Gina Raimondo was an investor and served on the board

Nabsys History

According to its website, Nabsys was formed through the 2007 merger of two companies founded by scientists from Brown University, and raised the $41 million in venture financing since 2009.  

"Nabsys is dedicated to enabling advances in life sciences and healthcare through strategic deployment of a novel positional sequencing platform with broad applicability for DNA analysis. The Nabsys platform uses solid-state nanodetectors to analyze single DNA molecules, revealing both location and identity of DNA sequences over long distances. The system is designed to set new standards for accuracy, speed and scalability, offering compelling advantages for the analysis of genome structural variation, genome mapping, and both targeted and whole genome sequencing."

GoLocal and other media covered the developments of Nabsys extensively.  In October 2011, GoLocal featured Nabsys in an article  "RI Life Science Companies Strut Their Stuff":

Nabsys develops DNA-sequencing technology that will help scientists map, understand, and treat diseases like cancer. According to CEO and President Barrett Beady, M.D., who was recently named “Rhode Island Innovator of the Year,” the company attracts a highly educated workforce – from the likes of Brown, MIT and Harvard, to name a few – and is capitalizing on Providence’s potential to become one of the foremost hubs of life science innovation in the country.

“Providence has many of the key components,” Beady said. “There are prestigious research institutions and teaching hospitals, available venture capital, and an educated workforce. It also has a strategic location, with easy access to both Boston and New York.”

Nabsys last posted on their Facebook page in November 2014; the last Tweet from the company was February 2015.  


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