Follow the Money: Multi-omic Drug Discovery, Antibody Manufacturing, Biopolar Focus, More

April 25, 2023

April 25, 2023 | Big money for small-batch antibodies, investment in understanding bipolar disorder, Mercy BioAnalytics nets Series A for detecting cancer biomarkers on the surface of tumor-derived extracellular vesicles; and more.   

$660M: New Fund for MedTech 

Gilde Healthcare has announced a new investment fund with €600 million in commitments: Gilde Healthcare Venture & Growth VI. The new fund focuses on fast growing companies developing solutions for better care at lower cost. Gilde Healthcare invests in companies in Europe and North America active in digital healthcare, medical technology (MedTech) and therapeutics. The fund is backed by a balanced mix of international investors, including corporates, banks, pension funds, insurers, fund-of-funds, sovereign wealth funds, endowments, family offices, entrepreneurs and the Gilde team. The new fund will invest €10-60 million per new portfolio company. 

$127M: Awards for High-Burden Healthcare Research Projects 

The Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) announced funding awards totaling $123 million to support 15 new research studies. These studies aim to fill evidence gaps, enhance research methods, or improve healthcare decision-making for a range of high-burden concerns among adults and children, including postpartum complications occurring in populations experiencing the greatest disparities in health outcomes. PCORI also awarded $4 million for two implementation projects to accelerate the uptake of strategies shown in PCORI-funded studies, one to improve decision-making about colorectal cancer screening and one to improve outcomes for patients with asthma. View all the newly funded studies and projects. All funding awards were approved pending a business and programmatic review by PCORI staff and the issuance of formal award contracts. 

$41M: Series A for Cancer Biomarker Detection 

Mercy BioAnalytics has closed a $41 million Series A financing round. The oversubscribed financing was led by Novalis LifeSciences, with participation from Sozo Ventures, Hatteras Venture Partners, iSelect Fund, American Cancer Society BrightEdge, and Broadway Angels, an all-women venture capital group. The round also included strategic investments from Labcorp and Bruker, in addition to strong participation from existing investors. The company’s novel Mercy Halo platform unlocks high clinical sensitivity and specificity through the simultaneous detection of multiple cancer-related biomarkers co-localized on the surface of individual tumor-derived extracellular vesicles. The abundance of extracellular vesicles in circulation enables the Mercy Halo test to be run on a very small volume of serum or plasma with a simple PCR-based read-out. Proceeds from the financing will be used to advance development and commercialization of the Mercy Halo test for high-risk lung cancer screening, the company’s lead clinical indication. 

$40M: Series C for Health Data Platform 

1upHealth today announced the close of a $40M Series C investment led by Sixth Street Growth with participation from existing investors F-Prime Capital, Jackson Square Ventures, and Eniac Ventures. 1upHealth will use this latest investment to expand product development and customer growth teams and accelerate efforts to lead the digital transformation of the healthcare industry in the cloud. 1upHealth’s FHIR-native platform designed for interoperability and modern computing is used by over 75 enterprise organizations including leading national and regional health plans, the highest performing CMS ACOs, international clinical research organizations, and over 20 state medicaid agencies. By leveraging the industry’s FHIR standard, modern and open cloud architecture, and restful APIs, 1upHealth helps customers acquire, store, and interact with the data needed to power their business operations and analytics. 

$31M: Series A for Development, Manufacturing of Small-Batch Antibodies 

Wheeler Bio, a boutique contract development and manufacturing organization (CDMO) specializing in process development and small batch CGMP production of therapeutic antibodies, has closed their $31M Series A financing round.  The round was co-led by Charles River Laboratories (NYSE:CRL) and Echo with participation from ATUM, Floating Point Advisors, Pine Ridge Ventures, Plains Venture Partners (a subsidiary of i2E), Seagull Capital, and Alloy Therapeutics. Wheeler Bio is building a disruptive CDMO model that is changing the paradigm for the gene-to-IND supply chain.  Their primary service offering, Portable CMC, is an open source “CMC middleware” that delivers speed, efficiency, predictability, and freedom to operate by integrating discovery CROs and CDMOs and effectively bridging the translational gap. Portable CMC includes a full complement of integrated development services, including manufacturability assessments, stable pool and clone development, process and analytical method development, process demonstration, and technology transfer into CGMP production.  In addition, their platform enhances key business integrations that speed up the translational steps for their clients while lowering technical, regulatory, and business risks.   

$15M: Grant for Advancing Scientific Understanding of Bipolar Disorder 

Breakthrough Discoveries for Thriving with Bipolar Disorder (BD2) announced its first grants, totaling $15 million, to advance scientific understanding of the genetic and biological foundations of bipolar disorder. The Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard; the University of California, Los Angeles; and the New York Genome Center will create the BD2 Genetics Platform, performing genetic sequencing on more than 30,000 samples from people with bipolar disorder from Africa, Central America, South America, and Asia. In addition, the CommonMind Consortium, comprised of the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, the University of Pittsburgh, and the California Institute of Technology, will launch the BD2 Brain Omics Platform to study human brain tissue from people who lived with bipolar disorder and those who didn’t have the disorder. The BD2 Brain Omics Platform is a groundbreaking effort to develop a brain atlas for bipolar disorder. 

$14.5M: Series A for Multi-Omic Insights for Drug Discovery 

Watershed Informatics announced the closing of a $14.5M Series A financing. This investment enables Watershed to strengthen commercial traction, accelerate product innovation, and transform how scientists discover medicines with multi-omics. Watershed developed Omics Bench, a platform to combine disparate tools into one unified ecosystem on the cloud, empowering scientists to go from sample to therapeutic insight in a single day. The Omics Bench provides comprehensive workflows and associated visualizations for whole-genome sequencing, single-cell and spatial transcriptomics, epigenomics, proteomics, metabolomics, microbial sequencing, and protein-folding. By striking the right balance between simplicity and functionality, Watershed has attracted a growing community of users looking to design and iterate experiments confidently and easily. 

$5.4M: Series B Funding for Gastrointestinal Diagnostics 

Atmo Biosciences has raised A$8M in a fully subscribed Series B funding round. The funding will support a forthcoming multi-site pivotal study for an initial U.S. Food and Drug Administration submission around the use of Atmo’s gas-sensing capsule to assess gastrointestinal motility—the rate that food moves through the regions of the gut—which is relevant to disorders such as gastroparesis (delayed emptying from the stomach), and slow transit constipation. It will also help progress Atmo’s broader clinical portfolio, particularly a pilot study using Atmo’s technology as a diagnostic tool for small intestinal bacterial overgrowth, a common and debilitating gut disorder that affects 5% or more of the general population. 

$5.4M: Financing for US Hybrid and Decentralized Clinical Trials 

Kayentis announced it had secured an additional €5M in financing. Kayentis is scaling up its operations to extend support capabilities for US hybrid and decentralized clinical trials. The company aims to extend its capacity in digital data collection and DCT solutions to fully support clinical studies led by US-based sponsors and clinical teams. Kayentis’ solutions are designed to enable clinical trial management to ensure an easier and improved experience for both patients and sites. Since announcing its growth capital investment in 2020, Kayentis has built and launched a robust patient-centric platform to support hybrid and decentralized clinical trials worldwide.