Follow the Money: New European Fund, All-Flash Storage, More

May 4, 2020

May 4, 2020 | New life sciences fund closes in Europe, big investments in VAST Data’s all flash storage, AI-written code, Lifebit’s CloudOS, Scopio Labs’s digital microscopy, microbiome tests and much more.

$600M: Life Sciences Fund Close

LSP, Amsterdam, has closed LSP 6 at the $600 million hard cap. This is the largest fund ever raised in Europe focused on life sciences ventures. LSP currently has $1.1 billion of capital to invest across LSP 6, the LSP Health Economics Fund and LSP’s public fund and mandates. LSP 6 will, like its predecessor funds, invest in 15-18, predominantly European private companies developing new medications or medical technologies, who turn cutting-edge scientific innovations into real-world healthcare solutions. Due to strong investor demand LSP was able to raise $600 million, significantly more than the fund’s $450 million target. The success of the fundraise was mainly driven by LSP’s outstanding 32-year track record. In addition, investors recognized the potential of the large and fast-growing market opportunity in Europe for life sciences companies. LSP is ideally positioned to capitalize on this growth given its leading role in building European companies. The firm has built over 120 companies, many of which have brought breakthrough new medications or technologies to patients in large indications such as oncology, cardiology or diabetes, but also in rare diseases. LSP’s active portfolio companies are engaged in more than 100 clinical trials, comparable to the pipeline of the largest global pharmaceutical companies.

$120M: Series B for Technology Platform for Vaccines, Immunotherapies

Affinivax, Cambridge, Mass., has closed a $120 million Series B financing round, led by Viking Global Investors with participation from Bain Capital Life Sciences and Ziff Capital Partners. This represents the first financing round to be completed since the company’s founding in June 2014, when Affinivax received an initial seed and Series A equity investment from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The company has leveraged the initial investment, non-dilutive grant funding, and a partnership with Astellas Pharma to advance its novel Multiple Antigen Presentation System (“MAPS”) vaccine technology into clinical trials. Proceeds from the Series B financing will be used to continue advancing the company’s MAPS pneumococcal vaccine program and to advance several additional vaccine candidates targeting hospital-associated infections (HAIs) into clinical studies.

$100M: Series C for all flash storage

VAST Data, New York, has announced $100 million in Series C funding, led by Next47. The round brings the company’s total funding to $180 million and includes strong participation from past investors as well as new investors, including 83North, Dell Technologies Capital, Goldman Sachs, Greenfield Partners, Mellanox Capital, Commonfund Capital and Norwest Venture Partners. The new funding will be used to drive global expansion and accelerate the company’s next phase of growth. VAST Data has developed the world’s first all flash storage platform that revolutionizes the economics of flash storage to make flash infrastructure affordable for all classes of data, thereby rendering the hard drive and storage tiering obsolete. The power of VAST’s platform is applied across a number of industries and is instrumental to organizations tackling the worldwide spread of COVID-19. This includes powering next generation life science advancements and helping financial services organizations stabilize the economy.

$50M: Series B for Diagnostic Algorithm Engine

Dascena, a machine learning diagnostic algorithm company that is targeting early disease intervention to improve patient care outcomes, announced today that it closed a $50 million Series B financing led by Frazier Healthcare Partners with participation from Longitude Capital, existing investor Euclidean Capital and an undisclosed investor.

The Series B financing will enable Dascena to advance a suite of machine learning algorithms to inform patient care strategies and improve outcomes. Dascena algorithms have been validated through eighteen peer-reviewed publications in several studies funded by the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation. In a randomized controlled trial of hospitalized patients in the intensive care unit (ICU), Dascena’s InSight algorithm resulted in a 58% reduction in patient mortality and a 21% reduction in length of hospital stay.

$16M: Series B for Digital Microscopy Platform

Scopio Labs, an advanced digital microscopy company, today announced it has completed a $16 million financing round, bringing its total funding to $30 million. The Series B round will enable Scopio Labs to expand commercial operations across human and veterinary care in the United States and Europe, by ramping up manufacturing and sales, and further developing a robust clinical trial pipeline to broaden its portfolio of offerings. Scopio Labs is propelling microscopy into the digital age. Its platform automates the imaging of full microscopy samples into uniquely high resolution digital scans using cutting-edge computational photography techniques. Scopio also built and integrated end-to-end AI and remote consultation solutions for large and small labs and hospitals across the continuum of care to improve diagnostic processes while reducing turn-around time.

$12.9M: data driven solutions for the healthcare industry

H1 has completed its first institutional funding round. Menlo Ventures led the $12.9 million Series A, joined by Novartis dRx, Y Combinator, Baron Davis Enterprises, ClearPoint Investment Partners, Jeff Hammerbacher, Liquid 2 Ventures, and Underscore VC. Greg Yap, partner at Menlo Ventures, will join H1’s board of directors. The company will use the capital to grow its existing team, including sales, customer success and engineering, as well as to fuel expansion into additional market segments. The H1 platform provides comprehensive in-depth profiles of more than 8 million healthcare professionals and 16,000 institutions in 70-plus countries, all of which are kept up-to-date weekly. H1 enables users to understand and analyze any healthcare professional’s full profile, including expertise, interests, publications, location, conferences and congresses, and clinical trials, and leverages AI to identify the thought leading doctors in a given disease area.

$12M: Series A for Automated Code Suggestions

Codota, Israel, closed a $12M Series A funding round. The round was led by, with the participation of existing investor Khosla Ventures, and new investors TPY Capital and Hetz Ventures. To date, Codota has raised over $16M, including a seed round led by Khosla Ventures in 2017. Codota's semantic AI infrastructure emulates the human understanding of computer code and is based on more than a decade of academic research at the Technion, Israel’s foremost technological institution. Founded in 2015, the company has analyzed millions of code repositories to generate insights at scale and boost developer productivity. Codota automates all predictable parts of the development cycle, such as looking up syntax and applying the best practices for using common libraries, by suggesting the next piece of code the developer would need, just in time, in a similar fashion to Smart Compose on Gmail.

$12M: Real World Data To Recruit, Engage Clinical Trial Participants

Trialbee, Malmo, Sweden, has closed an €11 million investment round to onboard strategic investor MTIP, the European specialist investor in Healthtech scale-up companies. Existing investors Industrifonden and Briban Invest also participated in the round. The additional capital will be used to further accelerate the company’s topline growth and enhance the Trialbee technology platform, which integrates real world data and real time analytics to recruit and engage patients. This latest round brings the total amount raised by Trialbee to date to €25 million. The Trialbee solution is proven to accelerate the patient recruitment process and maintain patient engagement by incorporating data-driven digital solutions in clinical trials and optimizing protocol design and site selection.

$12M: Series A to Advance the Use of Digital Twins in Clinical Trials

Unlearn.AI, San Francisco, Calif., has closed a $12 million Series A financing. The financing round was led by 8VC with participation from all the company’s existing investors including DCVC, DCVC Bio and Mubadala Capital Ventures. Through its investment, 8VC Principal Francisco Gimenez, Ph.D., has joined the Unlearn Board of Directors. The company’s proprietary DiGenesis platform processes historical clinical trial datasets from thousands of patients to build the disease-specific machine learning models used to create Digital Twins and their corresponding virtual medical records. Digital Twin records are longitudinal and include demographic information, common lab tests, and endpoints and/or biomarkers that look identical to actual patient records in a clinical trial. Through this novel approach of generating control patient data, Unlearn aims to reduce the number of patients required to run a trial while maintaining rigorous standards of evidence and study randomization and blinding.

$8.65M: AI-assisted MRI Solutions

HeartVista, Los Altos, Calif., has closed a $8.65M Series A financing round. The round was led by Khosla Ventures, Jeff Rothschild, Leslie Ventures, Open Field Capital, and additional investors. Combined with several grants from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), this latest raise brings the company’s total funding to $16.35 million. The additional capital will go towards building AI-guided musculoskeletal and neural packages, expanding HeartVista’s sales, marketing and regulatory operations worldwide, deepening strategic partnerships with the world’s most renowned cardiology centers, and enhancing its core One-Click Cardiac Package.

$7.5M: Series A for Genomics Cloud

Lifebit Biotech has closed its Series A funding round of US$7.5M (£6 million) led by Idinvest Partners, to fuel ongoing product innovations and global market expansion. Previous investors Pentech Ventures LLP, Beacon Capital, and Connect Ventures also participated in the round. The company’s product, Lifebit CloudOS, offers unified and secure genomics research over distributed big data. On top of its core foundation, the platform provides integration to all open-source analysis and visualization tools, as well as a marketplace of proprietary ones, a powerful data and cohort browser, and advanced AI functionality that together are powering discoveries in drugs and personalized medicine. The company just announced ifebit CloudOS 2.0, which integrates the Biobank Data Browser engineered for the extreme scale and complexities of biobank big data.

$2.5M: SBIR Grant for Bone Adhesive

LaunchPad Medical, Lowell, Mass., has been awarded a $2.5 million Direct-to-Phase II Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke to advance the development of Tetranite, its bone adhesive biomaterial technology, to improve cranial flap fixation procedures. The clinical use of this product is expected to reduce infection rates, enhance bone healing, and improve the overall cosmetic outcome for patients while eliminating the need for metal fixation hardware. This grant will enable the company to complete its pre-clinical research and prepare its regulatory filing with the FDA to start a clinical trial.

$2.1M: Grants for microbiome biomarker test

Bio-Me, Oslo, Norway, has received a total of 2 million Euro in grants and public support from the Norwegian Research Council to develop a companion diagnostic test for immune checkpoint inhibitor (ICI) cancer treatments. It is well known that the gut microbiome influences the efficacy of ICI treatments. Bio-Me will use its breakthrough PMP—Precision Microbiome Profiling technology—to develop a microbiome-based test that can identify responders to ICI. Test development involves key Norwegian and International partners and a close collaboration between leading clinical experts and academic researchers in the field. The project will run to the end of 2023 and diagnostic test is set to be available shortly after that and is anticipated to significantly improve patient outcomes.

$2M: Partnership to Transform Cancer Care

The American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) will receive $2 million from the UBS Oncology Impact Fund (UBS OIF) managed by MPM Capital as part of an innovative partnership that supports potentially transformative cancer research. The UBS OIF is also making a donation of $2 million to the UBS Optimus Foundation to support access to cancer care in emerging markets. The total donation of $4 million is an annual record for the fund, which is intended to generate compelling returns for its investors while having a measurable social impact.

$1.25M: Grant for Lateral Flow and Rapid Diagnostics

Mologic, Bedfordshire, UK, has been awarded circa £1 million by the Wellcome Trust and the Department for International Development (DFID), as part of the UK government’s £46 million international coronavirus (COVID-19) prevention and research funding package. The funding will be used by Mologic and global partners, to develop a point-of-need diagnostic test for the virus, in addition to supporting the Company to initiate research for novel vaccine candidates. Mologic will build on their experience developing a rapid test kit for Ebola, which was also jointly funded by UK aid and the Wellcome Trust, to create a new hand-held diagnostics device to detect COVID-19. This will allow health officials to test for the virus at home or in the community, providing results in 10 minutes, without the need for electricity or a laboratory. Rapid identification of the virus enables quicker quarantine and access to care, to support global efforts in preventing further spread—especially in vulnerable countries that have limited specialist facilities. Alongside their work on diagnostics, UK aid is also supporting Mologic in the development of a COVID-19 vaccine candidate for further evaluation.

Milestone Payment from Merck for functional antibody repertoire

Serimmune, Goleta, Calif., announced that the company has received a research milestone payment from Merck under its ongoing discovery and development collaboration agreement. Under terms of the previously announced agreement, Serimmune applied its SERA platform to clinical and preclinical specimens provided by Merck. Merck will lead preclinical and clinical development and commercialization of candidates identified from the collaboration. Serimmune is eligible to receive research, development, and regulatory milestone payments and tiered royalties on sales of any products resulting from the collaboration. Serimmune’s SERA technology platform reveals the diverse antigens that stimulate immunity. Serimmune is using this platform to create a growing database that can be interrogated to uncover disease information. The company is actively pursuing commercial partnerships for the SERA platform and has a number of ongoing collaborations with government, academic and commercial organizations.