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NanoString Technologies continues to rake in new capital, announcing today that it has raised $15.3 million from Morgan Stanley Expansion Capital and AllianceBernstein Alternative Investment Management Group. Existing investors, including Clarus Ventures, Draper Fisher Jurvetson, OVP Venture Partners, GE healthymagination Fund and BioMed Ventures, also participated in the financing.

The deal follows a $20 million financing round in the Seattle company last year and a $30 million round in 2009. NanoString was founded in 2003 with a molecular barcoding technology developed at Leroy Hood’s Institute for Systems Biology. The nCounter analysis system is now used by research organizations throughout the world to conduct gene expression, copy number variation and micro RNA analysis.

Now led by former Genzyme Corp. exec Brad Gray, the company plans to use the funds to support the launch of a new molecular diagnostic product for breast cancer. The product has not been cleared for commercialization in the U.S.

“We plan to use these funds to benefit all shareholders by advancing the development and commercialization of our PAM50 breast cancer assay and continuing to invest in building our life sciences business,” said Gray in a press release.

The financing marks the latest big venture capital round in a Seattle area company this quarter, following the $85 million round for Zulily; the $24 million round for Qumulo; an $18 million round for Meteor Entertainment and today’s $26 million round for Smartsheet.

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