NanoString Technologies

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NanoString Technologies, Inc
Russell 2000 Component
FoundersKrassen Dimitrov, Amber Ratcliffe, Dwayne Dunaway
HeadquartersSouth Lake Union, ,
Key people
Brad Gray, CEO
ProductsnCounter® Analysis System
Revenue$147.6 million[1] (2014)
Total equity$204 million[1] (2015)
Number of employees
270[1] (2015)

NanoString Technologies, Inc. (NASDAQ: NSTG) is a publicly held biotech company that specializes in development of cancer diagnostics tools.[1] The company's technology enables a wide variety of basic research, translational medicine and in vitro diagnostics applications. The company was founded by Krassen Dimitrov, Amber Ratcliffe, and Dwayne Dunaway in 2003,[2][3] and is based in Seattle, Washington.[4] NanoString's "nCounter Analysis System" is based on a digital molecular barcoding technology invented by Dimitrov and Dunawa[citation needed] in Leroy Hood's lab at the Institute for Systems Biology (ISB), and became commercially available in 2008.[5] NanoString received a CE-mark designation for selling the Prosigna breast cancer prognostic gene signature assay (PAM50-based breast cancer test) in Israel and EU in September 2012,[6] and in September 2013, NanoString received FDA 510(k) clearance for Prosigna.[7]


NanoString's nCounter technology is a variation on the DNA microarray and was invented and patented by Krassen Dimitrov and Dwayne Dunaway.[citation needed] It uses molecular "barcodes" and microscopic imaging to detect and count up to several hundred unique transcripts in one hybridization reaction.[8]


NanoString products include:

  • The nCounter Analysis System: The system consists of two instruments: the Prep Station, which is an automated fluidic instrument that immobilizes CodeSet complexes for data collection, and the Digital Analyzer, which derives data by counting fluorescent barcodes. As of March 2015, 264 of these systems were installed around the world, over 50% in research institutions.[1]
  • CodeSets: These are custom-made or pre-designed sets of color-coded probes pre-mixed with a set of system controls.


The original patent that is the basis for the nCounter Analysis System was invented and licensed from The Institute for Systems Biology. The business plan was written by Amber Ratcliffe and Aaron Coe and won seed funding in multiple business plan competitions.[9] NanoString was spun out of The Institute for Systems Biology and founded as a separate company in 2003 by Krassen Dimitrov, Amber Ratcliffe and Dwayne Dunaway.[citation needed]

In 2004, NanoString raised its first significant funding in a $4.3M series A financing.[citation needed] They have since raised several more rounds of financing to expand into the development of molecular diagnostics. As of 2011, NanoString Technologies had raised nearly $70M with their series D.[10][citation needed]

In 2009, Perry Fell who had been CEO since 2004, left the company abruptly and with no official explanation.[11] Between 2009 and 2010 the company operated with an acting CEO, Wayne Burns.[12] Brad Gray, a former Genzyme executive, was hired as president and CEO in 2010.[12]

As of June 2010, the company was not yet profitable.[12] In an interview, Gray suggested that NanoString would begin to develop clinical diagnostics.[12] As of July, 2012, NanoString began indicating a move towards becoming a public company by hiring several senior staff with public company experience.[13] NanoString received a CE-mark designation for selling the Prosigna breast cancer prognostic gene signature assay (PAM50-based breast cancer test) in Israel and EU in September 2012, and in September 2013, NanoString received FDA 510(k) clearance for Prosigna.

In 2013, the company's IPO raised $54 million that was used to expand NanoString sales and marketing efforts. As the result, NanoString revenue has increased by 52% in 2014-2015 financial year.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g Annie Zak (20 March 2015). "NanoString pulls in 52% more sales". Puget Sound Business Journal. 35 (48). Seattle: American City Business Journals. p. 39. ISSN 8750-7757. LCCN 99107105. OCLC 11683053.
  2. ^ Kimberly Stegmaier. "Krassen Dimitrov of ISB on Business and Better Microarray Labels | BioArray News | Arrays". GenomeWeb. Retrieved 2012-10-14.
  3. ^ Nocera, Joseph (2004-04-05). "A Tale Of Two Companies One started in 1955 and is in the FORTUNE 500. The other started five months ago and doesn't have an office yet. What it takes to reach the pinnacle of business. - April 5, 2004". Retrieved 2012-10-14.
  4. ^ Timmerman, Luke (August 11, 2004). "Funding lets Nanostring pursue molecular "bar-code" reader". Seattle Times.
  5. ^ "Lee Hood's Proteges Strike Again: Nanostring Ships Its First Commercial Cell Analyzer". Xconomy. 2008-07-14. Retrieved 2012-10-14.
  6. ^ "NanoString Gets EU Clearance To Sell Breast Cancer Diagnostic Test". Xconomy. 2012-09-27. Retrieved 2012-10-14.
  7. ^ "NanoString Wins FDA Approval of Breast Cancer Diagnostic Test". Xconomy. 2013-09-09. Retrieved 2013-09-09.
  8. ^ Geiss, Gary K; Bumgarner, Roger E; Birditt, Brian; Dahl, Timothy; Dowidar, Naeem; Dunaway, Dwayne L; Fell, H Perry; Ferree, Sean; George, Renee D; Grogan, Tammy; James, Jeffrey J; Maysuria, Malini; Mitton, Jeffrey D; Oliveri, Paola; Osborn, Jennifer L; Peng, Tao; Ratcliffe, Amber L; Webster, Philippa J; Davidson, Eric H; Hood, Leroy; Dimitrov, Krassen (2008). "Direct multiplexed measurement of gene expression with color-coded probe pairs" (PDF). Nature Biotechnology. 26 (3): 317–25. doi:10.1038/nbt1385. PMID 18278033.
  9. ^ Puget Sound Business Journal (2003-05-27). "UW startup wins second business plan competition - Puget Sound Business Journal". Retrieved 2012-10-14.
  10. ^ "NanoString Adds $2.5M Financing". Xconomy. 2011-06-30. Retrieved 2012-10-14.
  11. ^ "NanoString CEO Perry Fell Departs". Xconomy. 2009-03-24. Retrieved 2012-10-14.
  12. ^ a b c d "NanoString Hires Genzyme Vet as CEO to Lead Foray Into Molecular Diagnostics". Xconomy. 2010-06-29. Retrieved 2012-10-14.
  13. ^ "NanoString Makes IPO Prep Move, Adds Finance Vet to Board". Xconomy. 2012-07-18. Retrieved 2012-10-14.