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Matrix Genetics has received an undisclosed investment from Avista Development, the venture capital arm of Spokane utility Avista Corp. The money will be used to complete a spin off from Targeted Growth, a Seattle agricultural sciences company whose technologies are used to increase crop yields.

Matrix Genetics is developing technologies to produce renewable fuels and specialty chemicals from cyanobacteria, also known as blue-green algae.

“Avista’s investment is the springboard for Matrix to become an independent company with the resources to further develop our technologies that are creating a pathway to low-carbon, sustainable and renewable fuels and chemicals,” said Margaret McCormick, CEO of Matrix Genetics. “Their support will enable us to add staff, expand our labs, and continue the great tradition of bioscience companies in the state of Washington.”

In July, Targeted Growth landed $5 million in venture capital financing, bringing total funding in the 13-year-old company to more than $40 million.

A spokesman for Matrix said that the amount of cash being invested is significant enough to allow the company to triple staff, from five to 15 employees and move into new laboratory space, likely in the South Lake Union area of Seattle.

Matrix now has a cash runway of 12 to 18 months, and is currently in discussions with other investors and strategic partners. The company plans to formally announce the spin off today at an event being held at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center.

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