Follow the Money: AI-Designed De Novo Therapeutics, Spatial Technology, DNA Platform for Rheumatoid Arthritis, More

November 30, 2023

By Bio-IT Staff 

November 30, 2023 | Absci and Almirall announced a drug discovery partnership aimed to develop and commercialize AI-designed therapeutics to fight chronic and debilitating dermatological diseases; Stellaromics is developing next-generation spatial technology that promises to accelerate the development of fundamentally novel drug treatments, including for autoimmune diseases, cancer, and more; Aqtual intends to expand its platform that evaluates protein regulation, epigenetics, and transcriptomics; more. 

$650M: Funding for De Novo Therapeutic Antibodies 

Absci and Almirall announced a drug discovery partnership aimed at developing and commercializing AI-designed therapeutics to fight chronic and debilitating dermatological diseases. The partnership combines Absci’s Integrated Drug Creation platform with Almirall’s dermatological expertise with the goal of delivering life-changing medicines to patients, marking another step forward in AI drug creation. The partnership represents Almirall’s first de novo AI drug collaboration, and it comes only months after Absci announced it could design and validate de novo therapeutic antibodies using its ‘zero-shot’ generative AI. In addition to product royalties, Absci is eligible to receive up to approximately $650 million in upfront fees, R&D, and post-approval milestone payments across the two programs if all milestones are successfully completed.

$84M: Series C for Sepsis Diagnostic Test 

Cytovale has raised $84 million in Series C funding. The financing was led by Norwest Venture Partners with participation from Sands Capital and BARDA Ventures/Global Health Investment Corporation. Cytovale will use the proceeds to bring its recently FDA-cleared rapid sepsis diagnosis test—IntelliSep—to more hospital emergency departments (ED) and health systems in the United States, addressing historical diagnosis time lags that make sepsis the leading cause of death in U.S. hospitals.

$80M: Series C for Noninvasive Cardiovascular Disease Diagnosis 

Elucid has raised $80 million in Series C funding. The round was led by Elevage Medical Technologies, with additional participation from industry strategics and existing investors. With this funding, Elucid is poised to capitalize on the past year’s momentum and expand its commercialization efforts to provide physicians and patients with critical information to combat heart disease. This round brings the company’s total funding to $121 million since inception. Elucid is addressing the need for new objective, non-invasive diagnostic methods that more accurately quantify and characterize plaque and its potential effects, based on actual histology (the microscopic structure of organic tissues). Elucid also announced that Dr. Melrose and Elevage Senior Advisor Dr. Kelly Huang will join the company’s board of directors.

$38M: Funding for Lab-Grown Human Organ Model 

Vivodyne has closed $38 million in total seed financing, led by Khosla Ventures, with participation from Kairos Ventures, CS Ventures, MBX Capital, and Bison Ventures. The funding will advance Vivodyne’s discovery pipeline and clinically predictive AI stack, which identifies novel therapeutic targets and predicts patient responses to new drugs by testing directly on lab-grown human organ tissues. Vivodyne has bioengineered over 20 types of human organ tissues that mimic native human physiology and function to accurately capture the effects of new therapies and predict patient outcomes at the cellular, tissue, organ, and systemic scale.

$32.5M: Series A for Regenerative Medicine 

Imagine Pharma has raised a $32.5 million Series A round, with an initial traunch of $10 million, bringing its total funding to date to $40 million. The round was led by IP Investors. John T. Callaghan, CPA CFE, representing the investor group, will join the board. The funding will be used to advance the company’s priority programs in regenerative medicine, oral delivery, and therapeutics. Specific programs include: commercialization of a novel nutritional supplement; completion of pre-clinical studies and IND submittal for oral erythropoietin and glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) receptor agonists; advancement of AIPC research collaboration with LyGenesis; further expansion of the company’s islet isolation services business; and strategic partnership development across all platforms.

$25M: Series A for Spatial Technology 

Stellaromics announced that the company has raised $25 million in a Series A financing round. The Series A financing round included Plaisance Capital Management and a private family office based in Silicon Valley. Founded in 2022, the company is developing next-generation spatial technology that promises to accelerate the development of fundamentally novel drug treatments, including for autoimmune diseases, cancer, neuropsychiatric disorders, and infectious diseases. In tandem with the fundraise, Stellaromics has appointed Todd Dickinson, Ph.D., as President & CEO and Ye Fu, Ph.D., has been appointed as CTO.

$24M: Series A for AI Biotechnology Growth 

Cradle has raised $24 million in Series A funding, led by Index Ventures with participation from Kindred Capital. Leading angel investors also participated in the round, including Chris Gibson, co-founder and CEO of Recursion, and Tom Glocer, former CEO of Thomson Reuters and Lead Director, Merck. The funding takes the total raised by Cradle to date to $33 million. Cradle will use its Series A funding to accelerate its growth, expand its world class machine learning and biotech team, and continue to invest in its product development and sales capabilities. The company will also continue to develop its platform to allow it to onboard more customers, in line with growing demand, and to continue to evolve its user experience to ensure the platform is intuitive and accessible for scientists and experimentalists without a machine learning background. 

$20M: Funding for 'Biology Microprocessor’ 

Triplebar announced $20 million in new funding to expand its product portfolio in food and biopharmaceuticals. Triplebar’s Hyper-Throughput screening platform acts as a “microprocessor for biology,” integrating hardware, software, biology and biochemistry to miniaturize and accelerate evolution. Synthesis Capital led the round, with participation from Essential Capital, Stray Dog Capital, iSelect Fund, and existing major investor The Production Board.

$16M: Series A for Cell-Free DNA Platform  

Aqtual has raised $16 million in Series A financing, co-led by Genoa Ventures, Manta Ray Ventures, and Yu Galaxy. Aqtual's proprietary platform evaluates protein regulation, epigenetics, and transcriptomics by analyzing previously unexplored cell-free DNA fragments found in blood, opening the door to new clinical applications in almost every major disease area. Aqtual also announced it has enrolled the first patient in PRIMA-102, a prospective clinical trial to evaluate the ability of its technology to select effective treatments for patients with rheumatoid arthritis. This rapid, proof-of-concept study aims to develop a classifier capable of predicting effective drug classes for patients.

$13M: Series A for Clinical Development of Intracerebral Hemorrhage Drug  

Bioxodes has received $13 million (approximately €12 million) in a Series A funding from historic investors. This financial backing includes $9.3 million (approx. €8.6 million) in capital and $3.7 million (approx. €3.4 million) in non-dilutive funding from the Wallonia region. It comes on top of the $29.2 million (approx. €27 million) in capital and subsidies previously raised by Bioxodes, bringing to $42.2 million (approx. €39 million) the total funding secured by the company since its creation. This new funding will allow Bioxodes to continue the clinical development of its main drug candidate, Ir-CPI, for patients with intracerebral hemorrhage (ICH), right through to the end of phase IIa. The company also intends to use the proceeds to pursue new preclinical R&D work into the effect of Ir-CPI on neutrophils, which are key components in the neuro-inflammatory process.

$10M: Funding for Clinical Intelligence Platform Development  

Culmination Bio has received a $10 million investment from Merck Global Health Innovation Fund (Merck GHI) and Amgen Ventures. As a spinoff from Intermountain Health, Culmination Bio maintains exclusive rights to a physical library and cloud-based data lake covering over 40 years of de-identified patient electronic health records and biospecimen data. As the most extensive data lake of its kind, it enables biopharmaceutical companies to gain important insights critical to facilitating diagnostic and therapeutic development. This funding will allow Culmination Bio to further develop its exclusive Intelligence Platform and expand its commercial growth. The platform offers speeding up patient recruitment and quick query capabilities across genomic, biological, clinical, and claims data, which has already supported research on everything from population-wide genetic studies to drug discovery.   

$10M: Seed Financing for Peptide Therapeutics, CRISPR 

Flashpoint Therapeutics announced a $10 million seed financing round led by Beta Lab, a leading deep tech venture capital firm headquartered in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, with participation from leading private equity investor Russell Carson’s CS Venture Opportunities Fund. The funding will be used to advance its first therapeutic candidate in oncology, nominate a second development candidate, and advance multiple internal and partnered discovery programs. Flashpoint will also use the funds to expand its team and enhance the platform to develop best-in-class multi-targeted RNA, CRISPR, and peptide therapeutics with unique characteristics.

$9M: Funding for Medical Imaging Scheduling 

Medical imaging technology company Medmo announced a $9 million funding round led by Lerer Hippeau, alongside existing investors Jerusalem Venture Partners (JVP), C2 Ventures and Stone IsraVentures. In addition, an array of notable angel investors participated, including Elliot Cohen, founder of PillPack (acquired by Amazon), and Klara (acquired by ModMed) Co-founders Simon Bolz and Dr. Simon Lorenz. The additional financing will be used to further accelerate the company’s rapid expansion and platform development. Medmo’s technology allows all parties to regain control of the care journey by facilitating the seamless scheduling of imaging exams including MRIs, CTs, Mammograms, Ultrasounds, and X-Rays.

$5.3M: Seed Funding for Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria 

Glox Therapeutics has raised $5.3 million (approximately £4.3 million) in seed funding to develop effective targeted therapeutics against antibiotic-resistant Gram-negative bacteria. The Company will use the funding to establish laboratories in Oxford and Glasgow and expand its team to accelerate its bacteriocin development program. The investment round was led by Boehringer Ingelheim Venture Fund and Scottish Enterprise. Leveraging the power of bacteriocins, Glox Therapeutics aims to advance the field of antimicrobial therapy by overcoming resistance to traditional antibiotics. It will focus on selectively eradicating target pathogens while preserving the patient’s microbiomes, ensuring a more balanced and effective treatment strategy with reduced side-effects.

$5M: NCI Grant for Cancer Therapy Center 

The Department of Immunology and Immunotherapy and the Icahn Genomics Institute at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai have been awarded a $5 million grant from the National Cancer Institute of the National Institutes of Health to establish a state-of-the-art center dedicated to the discovery and development of cutting-edge targets for cancer therapy. The new Cancer Target Discovery and Development Center aims to find better ways to fight cancer and advance the field, bringing hope to patients and their families. Key objectives of the Center include: identifying and validating novel cancer targets; developing innovative therapeutic approaches, including immunotherapies; advancing the understanding of cancer biology through comprehensive genomic analysis; and collaborating with industry partners to accelerate the translation of discoveries into clinical trials.

$4.8M: Pre-Series A for Heart Disease Drug Discovery Platform AG has closed a $4.8 million (approximately €4.5 million) Pre-Series A round co-led by i&i Biotech Fund, Invest AG, aws Gründungsfonds II, and Tensor Ventures. The financing enables the completion of a ready-to-use, fully integrated, automated, high-throughput Cardioid Drug Discovery Platform for proprietary and collaborative drug discovery programs in indications with a high medical need such as drug-induced and genetic cardiomyopathies as well as myocardial infarction and fibrosis.