Life Sciences Insight

Fluidigm scores $250M investment in microfluidics tech and a corporate makeover to boot

By the end of the first quarter of this year, Fluidigm will be nearly unrecognizable.

Between now and then, it’ll close a hefty venture capital infusion from Casdin Capital and Viking Global Investors—and use that to begin redirecting its business focus—then appoint a new CEO and change its name to reflect its new ambitions.

First up: the investment, which will flood $250 million into Fluidigm, including an upfront payment of $25 million in convertible unsecured term loans to support continuing operations. Altogether, the money will help bolster its existing mass cytometry and microfluidics platforms, with an aim of reaching more life sciences clients around the world.

Fluidigm plans to use the funding to grow its sales and marketing efforts, continue developing its platforms to make cell profiling and sample analysis processes simpler, and rack up new technologies and strategic partnerships to build out further.

In addition to these growth efforts, Fluidigm said it’ll also be on the prowl for acquisition opportunities, marking yet another avenue for rapid expansion.

In tandem with his VC firm’s investment in the company, Casdin Capital’s Eli Casdin will join the board of directors. Viking, meanwhile, will be represented by Martin Madaus, Ph.D., a former CEO of medtech giants including Ortho Clinical Diagnostics, Millipore and Roche Diagnostics.

“We are witnessing the next wave of innovation in the life science tools industry, one that promises to advance biologic insight, deliver powerful products, and substantial returns for investors,” Casdin said in a statement. “That said, to fully realize this vision requires scale and execution, a persistent bottleneck in our industry.”

In the next shake-up to Fluidigm’s leadership, CEO Chris Linthwaite will be replaced by Michael Egholm, Ph.D. The new chief will take over following stints as chief technology officer at Danaher Life Sciences, Pall Corporation and 454 Life Sciences. He’ll step into the new role when the investment closes or by May 15, whichever comes first, and Linthwaite will stay on in an advisory role through November.

Egholm will be joined in the C-suite by Alex Kim, who will become the company’s chief operating officer after spending the better part of two decades in executive roles at Danaher, Pall and in Milliken’s healthcare division.

All of these changes, beginning with the close of the quarter-billion-dollar investment, are expected to be finalized by the end of the first quarter of this year.

At that time, it will officially change its name from Fluidigm to Standard BioTools, which the company said will more accurately reflect its goal of becoming a go-to provider of biological discovery and development equipment for the life sciences industry.