Berkeley-based biotech startup Exogen turns to crowdfunding

By VCPOST Staff Reporter

Feb 15, 2014 12:43 PM EST

Instead of turning to venture capitalists to raise money, Exogen Biotechnology launched a crowdfunding campaign via Indiegogo. Within 10 days, almost 300 backers worldwide donated $50,000, according to SF Gate.

Exogen was co-founded by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory biophysicists Sylvain Costes and Jon Tang. The two are working on a technology that can measure DNA damage and determine a person's predisposition to cancer, immunological disorders, and neurodegenerative diseases. Costes said he has invented a method to automate the process using a machine that can scan and score the damaged DNA, the report detailed.

At this time, fewer venture capital firms are investing in biotech startups. For this reason, more entrepreneurial scientists are turning to crowdsourcing platforms to raise money for their projects, the report noted.

According to the Exogen founders, they chose to raise funding through Indiegogo partly because they want to turn the campaign into a citizen science project. Backers who donate at least $99 receive a blood sample extracting kit. Costes and Tang analyze the samples, the report explained.

Exogen is planning to let users check their scores online. Those with high levels of DNA damage could employ lifestyle modification to prevent onset of cancer and other diseases, SF Gate reported.

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