Follow the Money: Biomedical Research Program, Depression Treatment Implant Device, AI Advancements, More

January 30, 2024

By Bio-IT World Staff 

January 30, 2024 | The University of New England has received an award from the National Institutes of Health to support an Institutional Development Award Center of Biomedical Research Excellence to be named the UNE Center for Cell Signaling Research; Motif Neurotech has secured a Series A financing for the development of lead product, DOT microstimulator; Ex-Nvidia exec launches and intends to further develop AI platform RagaAI; more. 


$81.7M: Series A for Antibody Development 

Oxitope Pharma and Arxx Therapeutics announced their merger to form Calluna Pharma Inc. (Calluna). Calluna has raised $81.7 million (approx. €75 million) in a series A financing and is backed by Oxitope and Arxx’s existing lead investors, Forbion, Sarsia, p53, and Investinor. The new company will combine expertise in the field of innate immunity, based on damage-associated molecular patterns (DAMPs), with a pipeline of selective antibodies that target inflammatory and fibrotic indications, including several first-in-class clinical candidates.

$75M: Financing for Oncology Diagnostics 

Cleveland Diagnostics has closed over $75 million in growth capital financing. The financing was led by Novo Holdings, responsible for managing the assets of the Novo Nordisk Foundation, along with participation from existing investors, as well as a credit facility from Symbiotic Capital. The financing will accelerate Cleveland Diagnostics’ commercial and corporate development goals. Cleveland Diagnostics’ portfolio of oncology related tests will be expanding beyond prostate cancer into additional indications in 2024. Proceeds will accelerate the commercial strategy of IsoPSA, fund expanded infrastructure and R&D pipeline development, and broaden the geographic scope of its novel IsoPSA prostate cancer test.

$48M: Series C for Laboratory Solution Portfolio Expansion 

SmartLabs announced a $48 million Series C financing. The funding round included participation from ArrowMark Partners, Winslow Capital Management, and Conversion Venture Capital (CVC2). The Series C financing marks the beginning of the next chapter in the advancement and optimization of SmartLabs' laboratory solution portfolio. It follows a number of important strategic milestones for the company—including the appointment of industry veteran Brian Taylor as interim CEO earlier this month and the August 2023 launch of its San Francisco-based CleanSuites offering, which is the most advanced research center to date—positioning the company for sustained growth moving forward.

$37.8M: Funding Granted for Liver Cirrhosis Study 

Newcastle University, University of Edinburgh, and leading research-driven global biopharmaceutical company Boehringer Ingelheim have announced the most extensive clinical study into liver cirrhosis ever. The ADVANCE (Accelerating Discovery: Actionable NASH Cirrhosis Endpoints) study is intended to be the most detailed observational study of its kind enrolling the largest number of patients and providing a detailed analysis of liver health. This $37.8 million (approx. £30 million) study is funded by Boehringer Ingelheim and reflects the company’s commitment to improve the lives of people living with cardiovascular, renal, and metabolic diseases (CRM). The study will be led by researchers at Newcastle University and the University of Edinburgh, along with collaborators across Europe. This will not only enhance the understanding of NASH cirrhosis, but it will also help identify translational biomarkers that will accelerate the development of future therapies.

$18.7M: Series A for Depression Treatment Device 

Motif Neurotech has secured an oversubscribed Series A financing of $18.75 million led by Arboretum Ventures, with participation from new investors KdT Ventures, Satori Neuro, Dolby Family Ventures, re.Mind Capital, individual investor Max Hodak and existing investors Divergent Capital, TMC Innovation, PsyMed Ventures, Empath Ventures and Capital Factory. Proceeds from the Series A financing will be used to advance the development of Motif’s lead product, DOT microstimulator, a miniature brain pacemaker designed to precisely stimulate the brain to restore healthy circuit activity to treat mental health disorders. The initial indication Motif is pursuing for the device is treatment-resistant depression (TRD), a form of major depressive disorder (MDD) that is resistant to anti-depressant medications.

$11.4M: Funding for Leveraging AI and Trial Platform 

Sano Genetics has raised $11.4 million in new funding, led by Plural with participation from existing investors including MMC Ventures, Episode 1, and Seedcamp. The new funding, which brings the total raised to $22 million, will be used to meet the growing demand for its products, leverage AI further, and expand its reach to more countries, becoming the ultimate precision trial platform.

$10.8M: Award Granted for Biomedical Research Expansion 

The University of New England has received a five-year, $10.8 million award from the National Institutes of Health to support an Institutional Development Award (IDeA) Center of Biomedical Research Excellence (COBRE) to be named the UNE Center for Cell Signaling Research (CCSR). The COBRE program supports the development of innovative biomedical research centers through awards for three sequential five-year phases. The COBRE funding will also support four initial research projects led by faculty members Eva Balog, Ph.D., Kathleen Becker, Ph.D., Harry Filippakis, Ph.D., and Luis Queme Cobar, M.D., Ph.D. The funding will also assist the University in creating nearly 5,000 square feet of new research laboratory space by renovating a section of the Alfond Center for Health Sciences on UNE’s Biddeford Campus.

$4.7M: Seed Funding for AI Research and Development 

RagaAI has successfully closed a $4.7 million seed funding round. The round was led by pi Ventures with participation from global investors including Anorak Ventures, TenOneTen Ventures, Arka Ventures, Mana Ventures, and Exfinity Venture Partners. RagaAI's funding round will primarily be used to advance research and development, with a focus on improving AI testing tools. Additionally, the company plans to expand its team and raise awareness in the AI community while forming strategic partnerships. This investment positions RagaAI for significant growth in AI innovation.

$4M: Grant Awarded for Crohn’s Disease Research 

The Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai has been awarded a grant of more than $4 million from The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust to support an innovative research project aimed at understanding the early stages of Crohn’s disease before noticeable symptoms develop. This initiative will create the "PROMISE Consortium" (PRediction and PRevention through Omics, Microbiome, Immune System, and Environment), pioneering research in the early stages of Crohn's disease before clinical symptoms emerge. It stands as the first consortium to comprehensively explore the predictive and preventive aspects through omics- and microbiome-related, immunological, and environmental factors.