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Biotechnology startup CellStain secures $3m from Evergreen Canada Israel fund

Cancer-screening technology expected to be commercially available in August

Israeli biotechnology startup

CellStain Technologies

has secured $3 million financing from

Evergreen Canada Israel

, a venture capital fund with a penchant for life sciences.

CellStain's technology could become a breakthrough in cancer research. The company has developed a technique to mark cancer cells, based on a recently-discovered common denominator of cancer cells, as opposed to regular calls. The company's staining platform can identify the early-stage creation of atypical metabolic characteristics of cancer cells. The company has dubbed the metabolic denominator of malignant cells Cancer Associated Metabolic Atypia.

On a pragmatic note, CellStain has developed products that drug companies can use to help locate products that can potentially cure cancer, and that can locate cancer-associated genes.

Existing methods to identify drugs that can turn a normal cell malignant, or that can affect a cell's malignancy potential, are complicated. They are not suitable for screening chemical libraries containing thousands of products.

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Gelvan says that CellStain's platform will be commercially available from August.

CellStain hopes to align with leading biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies. Its concept is to join forces in screening for chemicals used in drug development, as fast as possible. CellStain would handle the screening, and would transfer the data to its partners.

Its financial model is based on payment for conducting the screening, and to receive royalties where appropriate.

One quality backer

This is the second time CellStain has secured funding from Evergreen as sole investor. The investment, apparently carried out at a company valuation of $10 million post-money, increased Evergreen's stake in CellStain to 30%.

Most Israeli venture capital funds avoid biotechnology, because of the long wait for companies to mature.

CellStain was founded in 1998 by founder, President and CEO Dan Gelvan, at the technology incubator at the Weizmann Park in Rehovot. Cell biologist Ronit Bendori, a partner at Evergreen, joined the CellStain board before Evergreen's present investment.

To date the company has raised $3.2 million, of which $200,000 arrived from angels and the rest from Evergreen. Gelvan told today that the company intends to hold another financing round this year, hence its focus on a single quality investor.