Follow the Money: Drug Discovery Robotics Lab, Clinical Sequencing Platform, More

June 29, 2022

June 29, 2022 | Funding for single-cell sequencing, small molecule drug discovery, neurological biomarkers, and more. 

$245M: Debut Fund for Life Sciences Technology 

Biospring Partners, a female-founded and led growth equity firm exclusively focused on B2B life sciences technology companies, announced the closing of its debut fund with north of $245 million in capital commitments from pension plans, fund of funds, endowments, foundations, and family offices. Biospring’s investments are working to push the healthcare industry forward by enabling new forms of biopharma manufacturing, diagnostic testing, and software applications that are fundamentally changing how diseases are researched, diagnosed, and treated. 

$60M: Series D Funding for Drug Discovery Robotics 

Insilico Medicine, a clinical-stage end-to-end artificial intelligence (AI)-driven drug discovery company, has completed a $60 million Series D financing and launched an AI-powered drug discovery robotics laboratory. Capital raised in the round will further bolster Insilico’s financial position and fuel the growth of its advancing pipeline, including its lead program, which is currently in a Phase I study, and the continued development of its Pharma.AI platform. In addition, the proceeds will fund ongoing global expansion and planned strategic initiatives, including a fully robotic biological data factory to complement Insilico’s vast curated data assets. 

$52M: Funding Round for Precision Immunology Pipeline  

Endpoint Health, a therapeutics company dedicated to addressing unmet needs in immune-mediated acute and chronic diseases, announced the close of $52 million in equity and debt financing. Proceeds from the funding round will extend the company’s precision-first platform and expand its therapeutic pipeline to include programs for chronic immune-mediated diseases. In addition, proceeds will be used to advance Antithrombin III, the company’s first precision therapy, to a Phase II clinical trial for the treatment of sepsis. Sepsis is responsible for one in every five deaths worldwide, yet there are few FDA-approved therapies to treat the condition.  

$43M: Series F Funding for Cancer Profiling 

Epic Sciences, a privately held diagnostics company, has completed a $43 million first close of its Series F financing. The company will use the capital from this additional round of private investment to advance its multi-omic platform and expand operations in areas such as single-cell sequencing and data analytics infrastructure. DefineMBC, Epic's novel blood-based test for comprehensively characterizing metastatic breast cancer, has been reporting patient results since April 2022. The test's multi-analyte methods have demonstrated impressive sensitivity, specificity, accuracy, and precision. 

$40M: Series A Funding for Clinical Sequencing 

Watchmaker Genomics, a life sciences company specializing in developing high-stringency applications focused on reading, writing, and editing DNA and RNA, announced that it had secured $40 million in an oversubscribed Series A, bringing total funding to date to $53.5 million. With this Series A round of financing, Watchmaker plans to accelerate investment in its protein engineering platform to deliver a suite of new products that address the demands of clinical sequencing and support emerging applications in single-cell analysis, epigenetics, and cell-free DNA. In addition, the company will expand commercial channels and manufacturing capacity, making these product solutions more broadly accessible to the life science and genomics communities. 

$37M: Series C Funding for AI-Enabled Precision Oncology 

Proscia, a digital and computational pathology solutions company, has raised $37 million to advance how we understand and treat diseases like cancer. This investment brings Proscia's total funding to $72 million. The financing will enable Proscia to accelerate the adoption of computational pathology, strengthening its market and product leadership. It will also use the capital infusion to scale its commercial operation, broaden its portfolio of computational solutions, build on its DermAI and AI melanoma detection success, and extend digital pathology's first suite of process automation solutions beyond Automated QC. 

$36.5M: Venture Fund for Genomics Startups 

Illumina and LifeArc, a UK independent medical research charity, joined select U.S. and European investors in participating in Time Boost Capital’s £30 million genomics venture fund. Time Boost Capital will provide pound-for-pound match funding to every Illumina Accelerator Cambridge graduate securing between £500,000 and £4 million in new capital from qualified investors within 18 months of acceptance. Since opening in July 2020, Illumina Accelerator Cambridge has launched 13 startups focused on harnessing genomics applications to improve human health, including novel therapeutics, diagnostics, synthetic biology, research tools, and agriculture.

$36M: Award for AI-Powered Viral Study Program

A $36 million award from the Defense Threat Reduction Agency, a part of the Department of Defense, will enable the Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine (WFIRM) to establish a research and development program to study how a virus will invade and infect humans. The program, Pathogenesis and Toxicity Forecasting Using Multi-Organoid Systems, or PATMOS, uses WFIRM’s Body-on-a-Chip platform to investigate the biochemical changes in viral infections. The platform consists of an advanced 3D model of human tissues or organs. The PATMOS program will infect the 3D organs, or organoids, with different viruses and analyze what happens throughout an infection.

$30M: Series A Funding for Small Molecule Drug Discovery 

Anagenex, a drug discovery company pairing large-scale data generation with machine learning to discover the next generation of small molecule medicines, announced that it closed a $30 million Series A financing round. Anagenex will use the funds to expand its novel data-generating platform and build a robust pipeline of programs addressing challenging unmet medical needs. The Anagenex platform iteratively assesses up to billions of compounds in parallel to generate extraordinarily high-quality data. Armed with these enormous datasets and highly accurate models, Anagenex has the tools to address some of the most challenging targets in drug discovery. 

$27M: Series B Funding for Heart Disease Diagnostics 

Elucid announced closing a $27 Million Series B financing round. The Elucid platform is the only FDA-Cleared and CE-Marked software to quantify plaque morphology validated against tissue specimens objectively. Specifically, the exquisite algorithms developed through machine learning characterize tissue types in the artery wall known to cause heart attacks. The capability to discern complex plaque biology at the cellular and molecular level is powering new applications to derive fractional flow reserve, risk of heart attack/stroke, and expression prediction. This comprehensive approach enables physicians to diagnose the direct cause of chest pain and determine if patients have early-stage heart disease, which alternative methods cannot see. 

$25M: Series A Funding for Neurological Diseases 

NeuraLight, a company developing objective and sensitive biomarkers for neurological disorders, announced $25 million in Series A funding. The round will support the company as it seeks to improve the design of neurological clinical trials, increase the probability of success for novel neurological therapeutics, and usher in a new era of precision medicine for neurology. NeuraLight leverages proprietary computer vision and deep learning algorithms to extract all relevant oculometric markers from facial videos captured with a standard webcam or smartphone. The company’s technology applies to various neurological disorders, initially focused on Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, Multiple Sclerosis, and ALS. 

$21M: Series A Funding for Early Detection Cancer Test 

Elypta, a Swedish diagnostics company aiming to commercialize the first metabolism-based liquid biopsy for early detection of any cancer, announced the raise of $21 million in a Series A financing round led by Bonnier Ventures. The company will use the capital to develop and validate blood and urine tests for Multi-Cancer Early Detection (MCED) in adults with no cancer symptoms and to detect recurrence in kidney cancer patients. The tests are based on the detailed profiling of human glycosaminoglycans–also known as the GAGome–as biomarkers of cancer metabolism. Detecting stage I cancer is the key challenge here, and whereas other MCED tests based on cell-free DNA struggle to find cancer at this early stage, metabolism-based biomarkers could make a difference. 

$19M: Series A Funding for Gastrointestinal Diagnostics 

Gemelli Biotech, a company focused on improving health by providing precision diagnostics for gastrointestinal diseases, announced the completion of a $19 million Series A financing. Gemelli will use the capital to accelerate the commercialization of its trio-smart and ibs-smart precision diagnostic tests, including expanding sales and marketing across the US and the scale-up of laboratory and manufacturing capacity. Gemelli has launched two products: trio-smart–the only clinical breath test that measures levels of hydrogen, methane, and hydrogen sulfide to provide clinicians and patients with a complete picture of gut health–and ibs-smart–a patented diagnostic blood test for post-infectious irritable bowel syndrome. 

$10M: Funding for Immunotherapy Research

The Mark Foundation for Cancer Research and the Bloomberg~Kimmel Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy announced a new $10 million commitment to Johns Hopkins University. This investment allows for novel work, advanced immunotherapy research, and lifesaving breakthroughs for cancer patients. The Mark Foundation Center’s fundamental research priorities include studying how cancer evades the immune system and spreads. Of the $10 million investment, The Mark Foundation is donating $6 million, and BKI is providing $4 million, helping scientific teams to continue using innovative technologies to determine why certain patients do not respond to immunotherapies.

$9M: Research Grant for Lung Cancer Technology

The Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania received a five-year, $9 million research grant from the National Cancer Institute for imaging technology that illuminates lung tumor tissue, helping clinicians detect and remove it. This technology, intraoperative molecular imaging (IMI), is based on fluorescent beacon molecules that target and bind themselves to tumor cells, essentially making them glow, allowing doctors to distinguish cancer from healthy tissue easily. Penn researchers with the Center for Precision Surgery in the Abramson Cancer Center and colleagues at other institutions will use the research grant to study and improve IMI technology for non-small-cell lung cancers.

$2.9M: Funding for Tumor Antibody Drug Conjugates 

Spirea Limited, a Cambridge company created to advance a new generation of antibody drug conjugate (ADC) therapeutics, announced that it secured funding of £2.4 million with investments from high-profile UK and US investors. Spirea will use the funds to initiate its pipeline of superior and differentiated ADCs to treat solid tumors. Spirea’s technology allows for a higher drug-to-antibody ratio, which means more drugs reach the cancer cell for the development of stable and tailored ADCs incorporating a variety of drug payloads at varying potency levels and different modes of action. This method will result in significantly better efficacy and safety profiles for cancer therapeutics. 

Undisclosed Funding for Drug Discovery Technology 

Optibrium, a drug discovery software developer, announced it had secured further investment from existing investors Kester Capital–a UK mid-market private equity firm–to develop and commercialize its computer-aided drug discovery technologies, make future appointments to the senior leadership team, and continue expansion across Europe and the United States. Optibrium’s products enable preclinical drug discovery, focusing on ‘hit to lead’ and ‘lead optimization’ phases extracting maximum value from pharmaceutical data to target high-quality compounds and accelerate discovery cycles confidently.