CHICAGO 1/25/2008—Ceres Venture Fund, L.P. has committed to invest in Indianapolis-based health care company CS-Keys, Inc., as part of a $6.25 million Series A round of venture capital. The funding will provide for the introduction later this year of CS-Keys' first product, an immunohistochemistry product that specifically stains cancer cells in breast, prostate, cervical, ovarian and colorectal biopsies, and provide for development funding for other products in the pipeline. "This funding will enable us to take our research to the next level as we complete the development and clinical trial for a second product, a diagnostic blood test to monitor a cancer patient's remission status," said Claire Deselle, CS-Keys President and CEO. CS-Keys researchers are also working on validating their therapeutic target for cancer.
The first tranche of the commitment will fund next week with the remainder subject to milestone achievements. CS-Keys, Inc. has raised the financing from an investor syndicate led by Indianapolis-based Triathlon Medical Ventures. In addition to Ceres Venture Fund, other investors included Clarian Health Ventures, Prolog Ventures and Spring Mill Venture Partners.
CS-Keys was founded in early 2006 based on nearly 20 years of scientific research on DNA replication by Dr. Linda Malkas, the Vera Bradley Chair of Oncology at the Indiana University School of Medicine, and her colleagues Dr. Robert Hickey and Dr. Derek Hoelz. Based on the isolation of a novel biomarker, a unique protein found only in cancer cells, the company developed an antibody that identifies that protein in cells. CS-Keys' first product has been shown to be highly effective in identifying malignant cells from non-malignant cells. The company is developing a new series of diagnostics to detect the occurrence or re-occurrence of cancer, leading to more effective individualized treatment strategies for primary and metastatic disease.
"The technology developed by CS-Keys is truly exciting," said Donna Williamson, Managing Director of Ceres. "CS-Keys is bringing to market a series of diagnostic tests that have the potential to significantly impact cancer diagnosis and treatment. We look forward to working with the CS-Keys team in bringing the benefits of groundbreaking science to patients' lives."
Ceres Venture Fund, L.P. is one of the few venture capital funds focused on high growth investment opportunities in the information technology, healthcare and business services areas in the Midwest. With more than 60 years of experience in venture capital and operating early stage companies, Ceres' principals, Sona Wang, Donna Williamson, and Laura Pearl, have collectively invested more than $130 million in capital. Ceres is based in Evanston, Illinois.