Sony Buys VC-Backed iCyt Mission Technology

Sony Corp. has acquired iCyt Mission Technology, a Champaign, Ill.-based of high-performance cell sorters for use in disease research and agricultural biotechnology applications. No financial terms were disclosed. iCyt had raised over $8 million in VC funding from Open Prairie Ventures, Illinois Ventures and Fox Paine.


Open Prairie Ventures II, L.P., announced today the sale of iCyt Mission Technology, a growth-stage portfolio company based in the University of Illinois Research Park that is a developer of high-performance cell sorters for use in disease research and agricultural biotechnology applications, to Sony Corporation. The acquisition marks Sony’s entrance into the life science sector and new products and advancements will be announced in May at CYTO 2010, the industry trade show for the Congress of the International Society for the Advancement of Cytometry (ISAC), in Seattle.

Gary Durack, founder, President and CEO of iCyt said, “Sony brings an amazing level of technology and engineering capability to the field of cytometry. As a Sony company, iCyt will be able to leverage Sony’s global resources to deliver a variety of innovative solutions to the cell analysis market. This is truly a win for iCyt, its customers, and all who will benefit from these advances.”

Dennis Beard, a general partner of Open Prairie Ventures, noted: “Open Prairie Ventures was pleased to be an investor in the company and applauds the efforts of iCyt’s management team, Board of Directors and investors on their achievement of this transaction with Sony. The success of this liquidity event matches Open Prairie’s strategy to invest a portion of its portfolio into growth-stage companies and to provide for early distribution opportunities.” Open Prairie Ventures made its initial investment in iCyt Mission Technology in June, 2008. Other investors in iCyt include Illinois Ventures, the Helmuth Family, Fox Ventures and the Illinois Emerging Technology Fund. In addition, funds were provided to iCyt from investment activities of the State of Illinois Treasurers office via the Technology Development Account.

Open Prairie Ventures is an early-stage venture capital firm investing in promising life science and agricultural technology companies. Open Prairie applies both its capital and team expertise to focus on companies with efficient capital usage and disruptive technologies. With offices in Illinois and Kansas City, Open Prairie’s national reach and unique access to investment opportunities throughout the Midwest region allows the firm to build a diverse portfolio of high-growth technology companies. For more information, visit

iCyt supplies advanced flow cytometry analysis and sorting technology for use in life science research. Its products are marketed to private and public research institutions, pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies, and large medical centers. iCyt has received significant industry recognition for its line of multi-channel, high-speed cell sorting products. For more information on iCyt, visit