Follow the Money: Single-Cell Multiomics, Data Networks, Security

April 1, 2021

By Bio-IT World Staff

April 1, 2021 | New investment funds for late-stage companies and public health. Next-gen genomic medicines and single-cell multiomics get cash, and PatientsLikeMe raises a new round of funding to expand.


$969M Investment Fund for Early to Late-Stage Companies

Foresite Capital, a multi-stage healthcare and life sciences investment firm, has announced its fifth and largest fundraise with $969 million in capital commitments, significantly oversubscribed above its original target. The offering comprises Foresite Capital Fund V, L.P. and Foresite Capital Opportunity Fund V, L.P. With these new funds, Foresite Capital is investing in emerging healthcare and life sciences companies at all stages that are solving some of the biggest inefficiencies and pain points of the $10 trillion global healthcare market. Foresite Capital now has ~$4 billion in assets under management. Press release.


$540M Investment Fund for Late-Stage Healthcare Crossover

Sofinnova Partners, a leading European life sciences venture capital firm based in Paris, London and Milan, announced the final close of the Sofinnova Crossover Fund at €445 million ($540 million USD). The fund was oversubscribed and significantly exceeded its target. The fund will maintain its focus on European clinical-stage companies needing scale-up capital and will also support best-in-class companies in the U.S. and elsewhere. The fund has, to date, invested in 10 high-profile companies developing unique products that address major unmet clinical needs. The initial portfolio has demonstrated outstanding progress since inception, with the majority of investments reaching positive clinical trial milestones and raising large financings, including two NASDAQ IPOs of European companies. Press release.


$400M Investment Fund for US Med Device, Dx, Digital Health Commercial-Stage Companies 

Accelmed Partners, a private equity firm focused on acquiring and investing in U.S. commercial stage, lower middle market HealthTech companies, today announced the successful close of its oversubscribed second fund, Accelmed Fund II. Fund II received significant backing from new investors globally, including pension funds, insurers, family offices, and high net worth individuals, as well as from existing Accelmed limited partners. Consistent with Accelmed’s strategy of developing and transforming U.S. HealthTech companies, Fund II identifies and executes on investments in medical devices, diagnostics, digital health, and technology-enabled healthcare services with a focus on control-oriented opportunities in companies with revenues typically between $20 million and $70 million. Fund II also provides a certain allocation of non-control growth capital to companies within Accelmed’s domain expertise with revenues greater than $10 million over the past twelve months. The Fund is designed to build upon Accelmed’s strong track record of capitalizing on innovative sector opportunities at a time when the demand for technology-enabled healthcare solutions has never been greater. Press release.


$300M Venture Fund for Improved Global Public Health 

Adjuvant Capital today announced an oversubscribed $300 million fund focused on accelerating the development of medical innovations for historically overlooked public health challenges. Launched in 2019, Adjuvant’s debut fund will support promising new technologies for indications that the venture capital industry has largely ignored. Merck, Novartis, IFC, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Children’s Investment Fund Foundation, Dalio Philanthropies, Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, ELMA Investments Ltd., Ford Foundation, MacArthur Foundation, Global Health Investment Corporation, CDC Group, Anthos Fund & Asset Management, and others joined in the oversubscribed debut offering. Adjuvant has already backed 14 companies developing technologies for high-impact indications ranging from rare conditions, such as melioidosis, to widespread global emergencies, such as COVID-19. Each Adjuvant investment includes binding commitments to make any successfully commercialized products broadly accessible to underserved populations in low- and middle-income countries. Press release.


$125M Series C for AI-Based Pathology 

Paige, a global leader in AI-based diagnostic software in pathology, today announced that KKR, a leading global investment firm, joined Casdin Capital and Johnson & Johnson Innovation – JJDC, Inc. (JJDC) as co-leads in its Series C financing round, bringing the round to over $125 million. Paige will use this new capital to expand its geographic footprint as it accelerates the development of AI-based clinical applications, biomarkers and diagnostics. Press release.


$108M to Launch Implantable Neurostimulation System 

Mainstay Medical Holdings closed an equity financing in which it raised gross proceeds of US$108 million. Mainstay intends to use the funds to support the company’s commercial launch of ReActiv8 in the U.S., continued expansion in Europe and Australia, additional post-market clinical studies and research, and general operations.The financing was co-led by new investors Ally Bridge Group and Sofinnova Partners, through its Crossover Fund, and also included a large, global medical device company. Key existing investors who participated in the financing include Sofinnova Partners (Capital Fund), KCK Group and Fountain Healthcare Partners. Mainstay is a medical device company focused on commercializing an innovative implantable restorative neurostimulation system, ReActiv8, for people with disabling mechanical Chronic Low Back Pain (“CLBP”). The Company is headquartered in Dublin, Ireland and has subsidiaries operating in the United States, Australia, Germany and the Netherlands. Press release.


$102M Series D for Novel Host Response Diagnostics 

Inflammatix closed a $102 million Series D round of financing to support development and commercialization of its novel immune-response diagnostics portfolio. D1 Capital Partners led the round, with participation from the company’s existing investors, including Northpond Ventures, Khosla Ventures, Think.Health, and OSF Healthcare Ventures. Inflammatix’s diagnostics rapidly read the patient’s immune response to infections across multiple mRNA biomarkers using machine learning algorithms. The company’s tests can identify the presence and type of infection (viral or bacterial), and the risk of severe disease, including severe COVID-19, to enable physicians to make more informed decisions. The tests are designed to be run on the company’s sample-to-answer, cartridge-based, point-of-care Myrna test system, which produces results in under 30 minutes. The funds will enable regulatory clearance and global commercialization of the Myrna system, and the InSep acute infection and sepsis test, which is designed to enable improved triage and decision-making in the emergency department and other acute care settings. Funds will also support continued development of the test pipeline, including the ViraBac EZ acute infection test. Press release.


$96M Series B for DevOps 

Copado has closed $96 million in Series B funding, bringing the total funds invested in the company to $117 million. The financing was co-led by Insight Partners and Salesforce Ventures, with additional investment from Lead Edge Capital, ISAI Cap Venture (Capgemini and ISAI joint fund), and Perpetual Investors. Copado will use the new funding to expand its leading enterprise DevOps platform and fuel international growth. Copado enables large digital teams to move fast, at scale, with the quality and governance required to safely connect and master a multi-cloud network. Press release.


$80M Series C for Novel Synthetic Lethal Cancer Targets 

Cyteir Therapeutics closed an oversubscribed $80 million Series C financing and will use the new funds to advance its lead compound, the first-in-class inhibitor of RAD51-mediated DNA repair, CYT-0851, into phase 2 monotherapy trials in hematologic cancers and solid tumors, to initiate trials combining CYT-0851 with other cancer therapies, and to expand preclinical research to identify and advance additional novel cancer therapies. RA Capital Management led the round with Janus Henderson Investors, Acuta Capital Partners, Ally Bridge Group, Avidity Partners, Ample Plus Fund, and CaaS Capital Management, joined by existing investors Novo Holdings, Venrock, Lightstone Ventures, DROIA Ventures, Osage University Partners (OUP), and another undisclosed U.S.-based, healthcare-focused fund. Cyteir has now raised over $140 million in total to support its novel, synthetic lethal approach to cancer therapy. Press release.


$70M Series A for Next Gen Genomic Medicines

Ensoma, a company expanding the curative power of genomic medicine by pioneering a next-generation in vivo approach, launched with a $70 million Series A financing led by co-founder and seed investor 5AM Ventures, with participation from F-Prime Capital, Takeda Ventures, Viking Global Investors, Cormorant Asset Management, RIT Capital Partners, Symbiosis II, LLC, and Alexandria Venture Investments. In addition to an equity investment of $10 million in the Series A financing, Takeda and Ensoma have entered into a strategic collaboration with the potential for upfront and preclinical research payments totaling $100 million as part of a strategic collaboration worth up to $1.25 billion. The foundation of the company’s platform—its Engenious vectors—is based on over two decades of academic and clinical research generated by scientific co-founders and renowned experts, Hans-Peter Kiem, M.D., Ph.D., of Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, and André Lieber, M.D., Ph.D., of University of Washington School of Medicine. Ensoma’s Engenious vectors are designed to deliver a diverse range of genome modification technologies—including those that require a high level of packaging capacity—directly to hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) or the various cell types that arise from these cells, such as T cells, B cells and myeloid cells. The company’s vectors are optimized to work without the need for stem cell collection or prior myeloablative conditioning (e.g., chemotherapy). As a result, Ensoma’s therapies will be designed to be delivered via single injection in diverse environments, including outpatient and areas where access to sophisticated healthcare systems may be limited. Press release.


$68M for Real-World Data Network 

Syapse has closed a $68 million growth equity investment to expand Syapse’s focus on providing real-world insights to partners and assist them in improving outcomes for people with cancer. The investment is led by Ally Bridge Group (ABG), with Northpond Ventures and existing investors also participating in the financing. Syapse has expanded its Learning Health Network by partnering with some of the nation’s leading community health systems to support precision medicine strategies that are directed at improving clinical outcomes, reducing costs, and enhancing the experience of their patients. In addition, Syapse has added life sciences partnerships with established biopharmaceutical companies. Recently, Syapse and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) expanded an existing research collaboration to address urgent public health challenges including the FDA’s goal to rapidly understand COVID-19. Press release.


$65M Precision Medicine Platform Acquisition

NeoGenomics, a leading provider of cancer-focused genetic testing services and global oncology contract research services, has agreed to acquire Intervention Insights, Inc. d/b/a Trapelo Health, an information technology company focused on precision oncology. The agreement purchase price of $65 million, consisting of $35 million in cash on hand and $30 million in NeoGenomics common stock is subject to satisfaction of certain customary closing conditions and is expected to close in April 2021. Trapelo Health's products advance the appropriate use of precision oncology. The company offers an interoperable, decision-support platform for physicians, laboratories, and payers to inform testing and treatment selection, improve clinical trials matching, streamline workflow and facilitate real-time alignment with the most current clinical evidence. The platform improves patient access to medically appropriate and high-quality treatment options. With this acquisition, NeoGenomics can provide their customers with knowledgeable evidence-based information that will help them to answer difficult and challenging questions related to precision oncology biomarker testing and treatment options. This agreement also enables NeoGenomics to build a leading informatics business as part of their comprehensive oncology offering. Press release.


$60M Series A for Single-Cell Multiomics 

Immunai announced a $60M increase in funding, increasing the company’s total funding-to-date to over $80M. Immunai is an innovative biotech company that integrates single-cell multiomics and machine learning to drive key immunological insights that help its partners discover and develop therapies. This Series A round was led by the Schusterman Foundation, the Duquesne Family, Catalio Capital Management, and Dexcel Pharma, with additional participation from existing investors Viola Ventures and TLV Partners. Immunai will use these funds to expand its proprietary Annotated Multi-omic Immune Cell Atlas (AMICATM), extend its functional genomics capabilities to reprogram immune cells and validate targets, and help its partners prioritize, discover, and develop new therapies and drug combinations. Press release. After announcing the funding round in February, last month Immunai announced its acquisition of Dropprint Genomics, a San Francisco-based single-cell genomics software company. Immunai is also expanding its executive leadership team and scientific advisory board with experts in immunology, single-cell technologies and machine learning. Both the acquisition and new hires will advance the company’s work in single cell functional genomics with the goal of better supporting discovery, prioritization, and development of new therapies and drug combinations. Press release.


$55M Series A for Immunotherapies

Asher Biotherapeutics, a biotechnology company developing precisely targeted immunotherapies for cancer and other diseases, announced its launch following a $55 million Series A financing led by Third Rock Ventures with participation from Boxer Capital of Tavistock Group, Invus, Y Combinator and MBC Biolabs. Asher Bio is pioneering a new approach to immunotherapy, called cis-targeting, which seeks to selectively activate only the immune cell-types that drive a desired immune response, thereby addressing the inherent limitations of immunotherapies attributable to their heterogenous effects on multiple cell-types. The company’s cis-targeted immunotherapies address the challenge of pleiotropy by requiring the engagement of two molecules in cis on the same cell for activation, an immunomodulatory receptor and a cell-type specific marker. Without both targets present on the same cell, the therapies are inactive, thereby reducing undesirable effects. The most advanced development candidate in Asher Bio’s pipeline is AB248, an engineered form of IL-2 designed to be specific to CD8+ effector T cells.  Asher Bio’s pipeline includes a cis-targeted IL-2 designed to specifically stimulate CAR-T cells, a T-cell cis-targeted STAT3 activating cytokine for cancer, and a Treg cis-targeted cytokine for the treatment of autoimmune disease. Press release.


$40M for Medication Adherence 

MedMinder Systems, a fully-integrated, end-to-end pharmacy, medication adherence and connected care solution for elderly and polypharmacy patients, closed a $40M round led by Accelmed. The company’s touch screen-enabled, automatic pill dispenser is the first solution on the market capable of delivering medications from its pharmacy directly to patients’ doors in pre-organized daily trays for the entire month. In doing so, MedMinder empowers thousands of patients to live more independently in their homes while improving their adherence to prescribed medications. The pill dispenser unlocks only at the specific time a medication should be consumed, monitors the consumption of medications, and allows remote monitoring of drug adherence by caregivers and case managers on behalf of payors as well as telemedicine with physicians, providing peace of mind for families and remote clinical teams. Proceeds from the investment round will be used to help MedMinder expand its connected care and telehealth offering, more quickly scale its commercial operations by opening additional automated pharmacy locations in high-density metropolitan areas across the U.S., and expand its management, sales and marketing teams with strategic hires. Press release.


$30M Series D for Remote Patient Monitoring

Glooko, a leading provider of remote patient monitoring and chronic care management solutions including diabetes and obesity, has raised a $30 million Series D round of funding. The financing was led by Health Catalyst Capital along with participation from existing investors Canaan Partners, Georgian, Novo Nordisk, Insulet and Mayo Clinic. The new proceeds will accelerate execution of Glooko’s commercial strategy, including increasing adoption of Glooko’s remote patient monitoring platform, widening commercialization of products in clinical research and expanding into additional therapy areas. Press release.


$26M for Next Phase for PatientsLikeMe

PatientsLikeMe, the world’s largest integrated community, health management, and real-world data platform, has raised $26 million in financing led by Alta Partners, Hambrecht Ducera Growth Ventures, Optum Ventures and PBM Capital, with participation from Jeff Leerink and Symphony Ventures, an investment partnership established by Rory McIlroy and his team. The funds will be used to expand on PatientsLikeMe’s support and empowerment of people managing significant health conditions. Through PatientsLikeMe, a growing community of more than 830,000 people with over 2,900 conditions share personal stories and information about their health, symptoms, and treatments, with a goal to improve the lives of all patients through knowledge derived from shared real-world experiences and outcomes. Press release.


$25M Seed Investments for Remote Patient Monitoring 

100Plus announced series seed investments totaling $25M, led by Henry Kravis, George Roberts, and other super angel investors. 100Plus is a remote patient monitoring solution that helps physicians remotely monitor patients and provides data that informs clinical decisions throughout their course of care, which can lead to better outcomes and cost avoidance. 100Plus is the only remote patient monitoring product to utilize artificial intelligence (AI) and offer an end-to-end solution, including patient outreach, device setup, patient engagement and automated billing. The company has ramped revenue to $5M in annual recurring revenue since its launch in January of 2020 and is poised to continue to build upon this growth. Press release.


$18M Series C for Oncology Platform

Carevive Systems has completed a Series C equity investment of $18 million to scale its oncology platform that combines clinical data and patient-reported data. The oversubscribed round was led by Philips Health Technology Ventures, and also includes Debiopharm Innovation Fund, and OurCrowd’s digital health fund, Qure Ventures, as well as prior investors HLM Venture Partners, LRVHealth, Cerner, and founder Madelyn Trupkin Herzfeld. Press release.


$15.5M Series A for Surgical Intelligence Platform

Theator, the Surgical Intelligence platform leveraging AI and computer vision to improve surgeon performance, has raised $15.5M in an oversubscribed Series A round led by Insight Partners, joined by new investor Blumberg Capital, and supported by all existing investors including NFX, StageOne Ventures, KdT Ventures, and iAngels. Several notable individual investors, including 23andMe’s Co-founder and CEO Anne Wojcicki, former Netflix Chief Product Officer Neil Hunt, and Zebra Medical Vision’s Co-founder Eyal Gura, also participated in the round. Theator’s AI-powered platform is based on smart annotation and cutting edge video analytics technology, which extracts and annotates key moments from surgical procedures, enabling surgeons to review operations and glean detailed insights within minutes. By identifying the most pivotal surgical steps, events, milestones, and ultimately decisions, Theator’s technology streamlines the pre-operative preparation and post-operative review and assessment process, significantly increasing surgeons’ performance, efficiency, and productivity. The round will be used by Theator to scale its commercial operations and partnerships with U.S. providers, grow its R&D team and cement its status as a world-leading provider of AI-powered Surgical Intelligence solutions. Press release.


$15M Series B for Medical Data Management, Collaboration Platform

Flywheel has secured $15 million in Series B funding co-led by Beringea, a transatlantic venture capital investor and 8VC, which is focused on building technology platforms that create long-term economic and societal value. Other investors include Novartis dRx Capital, Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE), Great North Labs, iSelect and Argonautic Ventures, which has deep knowledge and experience in the life sciences market. With Flywheel’s cloud-based data management solution, organizations can streamline and scale their research and machine learning workflows. This funding will allow Flywheel to deepen its presence in the life sciences and AI markets and accelerate product development to power the digital transformation strategies of life sciences, clinical, and academic institutions globally. Press release.


$15M Convertible Loan for POC Dx 

QuantuMDx has raised £11 million in its latest funding round. Proceeds will be used to complete manufacturing and commercial scale up of Q-POC, QuantuMDx’s rapid, PCR point of care diagnostic system which detects SARS-CoV-2, the virus which causes COVID-19. The £11m funding has been structured as a convertible loan, enabling participation from the Future Fund, a scheme designed by the UK government and delivered by the British Business Bank. The latest funding round brings the total of new investment raised by QuantuMDx, since January 2020, to £37 million. This includes £16 million in government funding received last year to accelerate development and scale-up of the Q-POC system, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as £10 million in convertible loan notes. Press release.


$13.2M Series A-2 for Intracoronary Imaging 

SpectraWAVE, Inc. announced a $13.2 million Series A-2 financing to support completion of product development and regulatory filing for its flagship intracoronary imaging product, designed to help physicians optimize coronary stenting interventions and limit future adverse events. The funding round is led by prior investor Deerfield Management, and includes follow-on investment from prior unnamed seed investors. Coronary artery disease (CAD), the buildup of plaque in the wall of the coronary arteries that supply blood to the heart, causes 9 million deaths worldwide each year. In CAD, patients can undergo stent placement to relieve symptoms, but one in five patients can experience a major adverse event. SpectraWAVE is developing a medical imaging platform that combines two state-of-the-art technologies providing high resolution plaque structure and content in coronary blood vessels. The imaging data aids interventional cardiologists during stent optimization and in their assessment of the patient’s risk for future adverse events. With the new funds, SpectraWAVE will continue to scale the team, development, and operations ahead of a regulatory filing. Press release.


$8.2M Seed Round For Private Data Sharing Tech

TripleBlind, creator of a new rapid, efficient and cost-effective data privacy and API-driven virtual exchange solution, announced today it has closed $8.2 million in seed financing led by Dolby Family Ventures with strategic investment from Okta Ventures, NextGen Venture Partners, Operator Partners, Wavemaker Three-Sixty Health, AVG Basecamp Fund, Anorak Ventures, Quiet Capital, Clocktower Technology Ventures, Parity Responsible Technology Fund and Manresa Ventures. Existing investors from the first round, including Accenture Ventures, Flyover Capital and KCRise Fund exercised their pro-rata rights and participated in the round, as did several angel investors. The round was oversubscribed. The funding round highlights the fintech and healthcare industries’ need for private data sharing and collaboration. Press release.


$6M to Mount Sinai Team Tasked with Decreasing Disparities in Cancer Trials

Mount Sinai researchers have received a grant award to lead a collaborative team of New York institutions in an initiative that addresses disparities in the participation of Black, indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC) in cancer clinical trials. Stand Up To Cancer (SU2C) awarded $6 million to a multi-institutional team, its first team of researchers dedicated to health equity in cancer research. The team, which has been named the SU2C Health Equity Breakthrough Team, includes doctors and scientists specializing in both social science and clinical research from four New York City institutions that serve some of the most diverse and medically underserved communities in the United States. The team will work with community-based groups and community oncologists in New York City to help engage people from medically underserved communities and try to establish new standards regarding their views on cancer care and research. Press release.


$5.3M for AI-Organized Genomic Information

Genomenon announced that it has completed a $5.3M financing round in the company. The financing will enable the company to expand its commercial operations, which serve genetic testing labs, hospitals, pharmaceutical and biopharma companies. Genomenon leverages AI (Artificial Intelligence) to organize the world’s genomic knowledge and put it at the fingertips of doctors and clinicians to diagnose patients suffering from rare & genetic disease and cancer, and researchers to help create precision medicine targeted at molecular drivers of disease. Genomenon’s Mastermind Genomic Search Engine is used by over 1,000 genetic testing labs and hospitals worldwide to provide clinical insight into the scientific literature on genomic data. New investors in this round of financing included BroadOak Capital Partners, Green Park & Golf Ventures, Red Cedar Ventures and Michigan Rise with continued support from existing investors Invest Detroit Ventures, IrishAngels, Michigan Angel Fund, Invest Michigan and Atain Specialty Insurance Company. Press release.


$5M in Pre-Series A for Biomedical Molecular Data Company 

Elucidata, a biomedical molecular data company, has closed a $5 million pre-Series A funding round led by IvyCap Ventures. The financing round also included participation from Hyperplane Venture Capital and several angel investors. Elucidata plans to use the funding to accelerate product development, expand its commercial efforts, and continue hiring world-class talent. Elucidata is focused on developing Polly, a proprietary cloud platform for drug discovery. The company said that Polly is the largest repository of biomedical data designed for scientists trying to discover drugs. With Polly, scientists can get access to curated and analysis-ready data from over 100,000 biomedical datasets, a number that is doubling each quarter, accelerating data-driven discovery efforts. Elucidata launched Polly in April 2019 and now has over 30 partners in industry and academia as its customers. Press release.


$3.16M for Parasite Research 

Three British groups led by the University of Glasgow and funded by the Wellcome Trust, will study the Leishmania parasite which spreads leishmaniasis—disease that causes skin ulcers and damage to internal organs, bone marrow and the immune system; and which can be fatal if left untreated. Leishmaniasis affects some of the poorest communities globally in tropical and subtropical parts of the world. The disease has been categorized as a ‘neglected tropical disease’ by the World Health Organization due to limited research and control measures for the disease. There are approximately one million cases of leishmaniasis in the world at any one time, and although scientists sequenced all the genes in the leishmania parasite fifteen years ago, progress has been slow since then. Press release.


$2M for Pediatric Heart Valve Trials

PolyVascular, leading the effort to improve children's lives with a novel polymeric transcatheter valve (PTV) for children, announced today that it was awarded a $2 million Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase II grant earlier this year to bring its polymeric stent-mounted valve (SMV) to clinical trials within the next two years in an effort to address pediatric congenital heart disease (CHD), which affects over 1 million patients around the world. As part of the next stage of growth for the company, PolyVascular named Will Clifton, MD, as Chief Operating Officer (COO) to oversee the completion of the grant as Principal Investigator and to manage the operations and R&D for the company.


$1.5M for Liquid Biopsies

ClinSpec Diagnostics, a Glasgow-based developer of liquid biopsies for early detection of cancer, has reached its round two funding target of £3.5M by securing an additional investment of £1.1M. The company, which is a spinout from the Department of Pure and Applied Chemistry at the University of Strathclyde, has secured the £1.1M investment from Norcliffe Capital Limited, the University of Strathclyde, Eos Advisory and the founders. Fast, inexpensive and easy to undertake, the ClinSpec Dx liquid biopsy is a blood test using revolutionary technology based on the world-leading research of Dr. Matthew Baker. Through a combination of infra-red light and artificial intelligence, its ‘drop, dry, detect’ technology provides results in minutes. Press release.


$1.09M UK Point of Care Dx Spinout 

University of Birmingham spinout Linear Diagnostics Ltd has secured £800,000 from the Midlands Engine Investment Fund (MEIF) and other investors in the company’s second round of funding, which will enable the company to commence the development of the hardware platform for its tests. The finance will facilitate the ongoing development of the company’s high-speed platform technology for point of care diagnostics. The funding package includes backing from MEIF Equity Finance, managed by venture capital firm Midven, the University of Birmingham and the UKI2S Fund. The UK Future Fund matched the investment from the initial investors. Press release.


$1M Research Grant on Fairness and Bias in Artificial Intelligence Hiring

Researchers from American University’s Kogod School of Business were awarded a nearly $1 million research grant for their project to address structural bias in artificial intelligence (AI) hiring systems titled, “Using Machine Learning to Address Structural Bias in Personnel Selection.” The grant is part of the National Science Foundation (NSF)’s Program on Fairness in Artificial Intelligence (FAI) in Collaboration with Amazon. The three-year project will integrate statistical machine learning methods with theories based on legal, social, behavioral, and economic sciences in hiring practices. The goal of the project is to establish machine learning as an important pillar for the design of personnel selection systems in human resource management. Press release.


‘Significant Investment’ to Advance Computer-Aided Drug Discovery 

Optibrium has announced a “significant investment” from Kester Capital, a leading UK mid-market private equity firm typically investing between £10 to £20 million per deal. The funding will accelerate the development of the business through organic growth and acquisition. Optibrium’s products enable preclinical drug discovery, focusing on ‘hit to lead’ and ‘lead optimization’ phases. Their lead products are StarDrop and Cerella. StarDrop is a comprehensive suite of integrated software for small molecule design, optimization, and data analysis that enhances the drug discovery process’s speed and productivity. The Cerella platform delivers artificial intelligence technology that learns from complex drug discovery data to target high-potential chemical compounds. Press release.


Diffusion Pharmaceuticals Announces Full Exercise of Underwriter’s Option to Purchase 

Diffusion Pharmaceuticals announced that the underwriter of its previously announced underwritten public offering has exercised in full its option to purchase an additional 4,390,244 shares of its common stock at a price to the public of $1.025 per share, less underwriting discounts and commissions. After giving effect to the option closing, the aggregate gross proceeds to Diffusion from the offering were approximately $34.5 million, before deducting underwriting discounts and commissions and offering expenses payable by Diffusion. H.C. Wainwright & Co. acted as the sole book-running manager for the offering. Diffusion intends to use the net proceeds of the offering to fund research and development of its lead product candidate, trans sodium crocetinate, including the TCOM Study, the DLCO Study, and other clinical trial activities, and for general corporate purposes. Press release.