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Follow the Money: Home COVID-19 Tests, Handheld Diagnostics, Digital Pathology

December 21, 2020 | Funding updates around the diagnostics industry including cash for glycoproteomic-powered ovarian cancer diagnostics, investments in diagnosing traumatic brain injury, digital pathology, scaled up production of QuantuMDx’s portable PCR diagnostic device, and more.


$170M: Israeli ‘Digital Health First’ VC Firm

OTV (formerly Olive Tree Ventures), Israel’s ‘digital health first’ venture capital firm, today announced the closing of a fund with a total value of $170M. OTV also announced their new name and the appointment of a new Head of Asia Pacific to spearhead the fund’s expansion into the region’s market. OTV is the only venture capital fund in Israel whose primary focus is digital health, specializing in supporting their portfolio companies reach maturity, refine execution, tackle regulatory hurdles and ensure a global imprint on validated products. Over the course of the past five years, OTV has prioritized investment in digital health companies that develop cutting-edge solutions to today’s most pressing healthcare problems. OTV’s portfolio includes some of the world’s highest-profile digital health leaders, including TytoCare, Lemonaid Health, Emedgene, Scopio and Donisi Health.


$116M: Handheld, Desktop Mass Spec

908 Devices, which provides mass spectrometry devices for forensic and scientific research, raised the proposed deal size for its upcoming IPO. The Boston, MA-based company now plans to raise $116 million by offering 6.3 million shares at a price range of $18 to $19. The company had previously filed to offer the same number of shares at a range of $15 to $17. At the midpoint of the revised range, 908 Devices will raise 16% more in proceeds than previously anticipated. 908 Devices provides handheld and desktop mass spectrometry devices that are used to interrogate unknown and invisible materials, providing actionable answers to directly address critical problems in life sciences research, bioprocessing, industrial biotech, forensics and adjacent markets. Since its inception, the company has sold more than 1,200 handheld and desktop devices to over 300 customers in 32 countries, including 18 of the top 20 pharmaceutical companies by 2019 revenue, as well as numerous domestic and foreign government agencies and leading academic institutions.


$91M: Series C for Digital, Decentralized Trials

Medable has announced $91 million in Series C funding to accelerate the life sciences industry’s shift to digital and decentralized clinical trials. The round was led by Sapphire Ventures, with follow-on investment from existing investors GSR Ventures, PPD, and Streamlined Ventures. The funding brings Medable’s total capital raised to more than $136 million. Medable’s flexible and modular software platform enables clinical leaders to shift from clinic-centric to patient-centric research strategies. The platform provides a unified experience for patients and clinicians, enabling recruitment, remote screening, electronic consent, clinical outcomes assessment (eCOA), eSource, telemedicine, and connected devices. Medable has seen rapid eCOA adoption, driving the field forward with enhancements including connected devices and telemedicine. The COVID-19 pandemic has driven demand for remote clinical trial technologies and Medable is enabling complex research protocols to be conducted remotely through its platform. By minimizing the need for in-person site visits, Medable customers have achieved unprecedented results – including 3X faster enrollment and over 90% retention rates.


$58M: Series B for Healthcare Ecosystem Platform

H1, a global platform for the healthcare ecosystem, announced today that it has closed a $58 million Series B round of funding. The round was co-led by IVP and Menlo Ventures, which led the Series A round in April 2020. Transformation Capital, Lux Capital, Lead Edge Capital, Novartis dRx and YC also participated. H1 has created the largest healthcare platform to forge connections in the healthcare ecosystem. The H1 team has taken a unique approach to building the platform that combines AI, human powered engineering, third-party data sources, and government partnerships, to create the largest platform of healthcare professionals, currently spanning over 9 million healthcare professions around the globe.


$50M: Series C for Somatic Cancer, Wellness Platform

Congenica has announced the completion of its Series C funding round, raising $50 million. The round was co-led by Tencent and Legal & General and included other new investors Xeraya, Puhua Capital and IDO Investments. Existing investors Parkwalk, Cambridge Innovation Capital and Downing also participated. The funding is aimed at accelerating international market development and driving further expansion of Congenica’s product platform into somatic cancer, wellness and through partnerships with pharmaceutical companies. Furthermore, the company will deliver capabilities including the ability to integrate with existing electronic health systems and deliver automated interpretation.


$47M: Series D for Novel Oncolytic Immunotherapies

CG Oncology has closed a $47 million Series D preferred stock financing led by new investor Kissei Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd., with participation from existing investors ORI Healthcare Fund, Camford Capital and Perseverance Capital Management. The financing will support the advancement of CG Oncology’s late-stage clinical programs for its lead oncolytic immunotherapy, CG0070, including an ongoing global Phase 3 trial (BOND3) with CG0070 as a monotherapy for the treatment of BCG-unresponsive, Non-Muscle Invasive Bladder Cancer (NMIBC), and a combination Phase 2 study (CORE1) of CG0070 with KEYTRUDA (pembrolizumab) in the same indication. In addition, a Phase 1b study (CORE2) is currently ongoing with CG0070 in combination with OPDIVO (nivolumab) as a neoadjuvant immunotherapy for Muscle-Invasive Bladder Cancer (MIBC) in cisplatin-ineligible patients.


$42M: Series A for Allogeneic CAR-NK Cell Therapies

Catamaran Bio has launched with $42 million in financing. Sofinnova Partners and Lightstone Ventures co-led the Series A round that is part of the launch financing, with participation by founding investor SV Health Investors, as well as Takeda Ventures and Astellas Venture Management. Proceeds will be used to advance the company’s two lead chimeric antigen receptor (CAR)-NK cell therapy programs. In addition, funding will expand the company’s TAILWIND Platform, an integrated and proprietary suite of technologies for designing, genetically engineering, and manufacturing allogeneic CAR-NK cell therapies.


$34M: Series B for glycoproteomic powered ovarian cancer diagnostic

InterVenn Biosciences has raised $34M in a Series B fundraising. The latest round was led by Anzu Partners with full participation of Genoa Ventures, Amplify Partners, and True Ventures; Xeraya Capital and the Ojjeh Family joined the syndicate as well. Funds will be used to commercialize the company’s High-Throughput-Glycoproteomic powered diagnostic for ovarian cancer; to service increasing partnership platform demand; and to accelerate development efforts for the immuno-oncology treatment response and colorectal cancer indications. InterVenn has demonstrated that analysis of protein glycosylation, the most common and most complex form of post-translational protein modification, is a highly effective way of discovering uniquely informative biomarkers. This breakthrough was made possible given the company’s development of its AI neural network for high throughput analysis (PiP) and enabling software that powers the proprietary Vista research product for over a dozen different oncology indications.


$24M: Series A for Molecular Cartography

Resolve Biosciences has completed a $24 million Series A financing round and appointed Co-founder Jason T. Gammack as Chief Executive Officer. The Series A financing round was led by PS Capital Management and MasterMind Advisory Services and included participation from Alafi Capital, John Shoffner, and High Tech Gründerfonds. The company will use the proceeds to accelerate product development and drive industry adoption of its Molecular Cartography technology. The company's Molecular Cartography platform is a groundbreaking multi-analyte and highly multiplex spatial analysis technology that enables scientists to resolve the most daunting biological challenges in areas such as oncology, neuroscience, and infectious disease. It produces deep contextual datasets that illuminate molecular interactions at subcellular resolution, while preserving the sample tissue. The initial applications of Resolve's Molecular Cartography platform deliver the highest-resolution view of transcriptomic activity and provide the ability to interrogate hundreds of genes in a single run. Future solutions will add DNA, protein, and metabolomic data layers. Unlike current approaches, Resolve's technology provides the required sensitivity, specificity, and workflow convenience to elucidate the cell's complex transcriptional landscape.


$23M: Series A for Traumatic Brain Injury Test

BRAINBox Solutions announced the initial closing on a $23 million Series A financing to support the clinical development of the company's BRAINBox TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury) Test to aid both in the diagnosis and prognosis of mild TBI (concussion). BioVentures Investors led the financing round and was joined by the Tauber Foundation, the Virginia Tech Carilion Innovation and Seed Funds, Genoa VC, Pharmakon Holdings LLC, Astia Angels and additional qualified investors, including Kevin Love, professional basketball player and mental health advocate. BRAINBox TBI is the first test designed to assist in both the diagnosis and prognosis of concussion. The multi-marker and multi-modality test, which can be used in either point-of-care or clinical laboratory settings, includes a panel of blood biomarkers as well as advanced digital neurocognitive testing in partnership with BrainCheck, Inc. Using proprietary AI algorithms, BRAINBox TBI combines the results of the test components and patient reported outcomes to generate a single, objective score for diagnosis up to 96 hours from the time of injury and a prognosis report for likely injury-related symptoms up to three months post-event.


$23M: Series B for Digital, Computational Pathology Solutions

Proscia has secured $23 million in Series B funding led by Scale Venture Partners, with participation from Hitachi Ventures, the strategic corporate venture capital arm of Hitachi, Ltd., bringing its funding total to $35 million. The company will use the investment to accelerate its global growth and strengthen its position of leadership in transforming cancer research and diagnosis at a time when demand for modernizing pathology is higher than ever. With its Concentriq software platform, Proscia is accelerating the transformation to digital pathology, which centers around high-resolution images of tissue biopsies, as the new standard of care. Concentriq combines enterprise scalability with powerful AI applications to help laboratories, health systems, and life sciences companies unlock new insights, accelerate breakthroughs, and improve patient outcomes.


$21.5M: Series B for Software, Data Products for Biomarker Discovery has raised $21.5 million in Series B funding led by SignalFire with participation from Madrona Venture Group, Borealis Ventures, StageDotO Ventures and industry veteran David Shaw. Ovation’s suite of software and data products make it easier for molecular diagnostic labs to bring innovative tests to the patients that need them. Developed by scientists to help laboratories accelerate adoption of molecular diagnostics, Ovation is a turn-key, cloud-based platform with configurable, out-of-the-box workflows for molecular tests and seamless integrations to support the needs of a rapidly growing lab. With this latest round of funding, Ovation will work with its network of participating labs to develop insights that can help life-science companies reduce the time and cost associated with biomarker discovery.


$20M: Series A for AI-Powered Cell Classification

Deepcell has closed its Series A round of financing with $20 million, led by Bow Capital and joined by Andreessen Horowitz, which led its $5 million seed round. The new funding will allow Deepcell to develop its microfluidics-based technology, continue building a cell morphology atlas of more than 400 million cells, and drive a hypothesis-free approach to cell classification and sorting. Spun out of Stanford University in 2017, Deepcell is using deep learning and big data to classify and isolate individual cells from a sample. The technology combines advances in AI, cell capture, and single-cell analysis to sort cells based on detailed visual features, delivering novel insights through an unprecedented view of cell biology. The Deepcell platform maintains cell viability for downstream single-cell analysis and can be used to isolate virtually any type of cell — even those occurring at frequencies as low as one in a billion — to offer access to rare cells and atypical cell states that will help advance precision medicine research.


$20M: Series B for Spatial Omics

Rebus Biosystems has closed a $20 million Series B financing round, led by Illumina Ventures and joined by Lifecore Partners, Ncore Ventures, Xolon Invest, CTK Investments, Ray Co., Ltd., Seegene Medical Foundation, LabGenomics Co., Ltd., and Timefolio Asset Management. At the heart of the Rebus Biosystems spatial omics solution is the company’s patented Synthetic Aperture Optics (SAO) system, which provides the resolution and sensitivity of a 100X oil lens, but with the breadth and depth of a 20X air lens. Data is captured 100 times faster than with other imaging based spatial omics methods that rely on 100x lenses and z-stacking. Speed and ease of use of the system is further improved by integration with custom microfluidics and image processing.


$14.8M: Scaled Up Production of Portable PCR Diagnostic Device

QuantuMDx Group Limited, a UK-based life sciences company, is investing over £11 million to scale up production to mass manufacture its flagship diagnostic device, Q-POC and disposable test cassette. QuantuMDx accelerated development, scale-up and manufacture of Q-POC—its rapid point-of-care testing system—earlier this year in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Q-POC is a portable, PCR device offering rapid, sample-to-answer, molecular diagnostic testing at the point of care, with results in approximately 30 minutes. The Q-POC system comprises a sample collection kit, single-use test cassette and analyzer. The company’s first commercial assay for Q-POC will detect SARS-CoV-2, the virus causing COVID- 19, and Flu A & B, providing a powerful rapid PCR diagnostics and surveillance tool for clinicians and public health officials. QuantuMDx has worked with British development partner Cambridge Design Partnership to undertake pilot manufacturing of Q-POCTM, and is now working with Cogent Technology, as the company scales for volume manufacturing.


$14M: Novel Treatment for Ischemic Stroke

BrainsGate has secured $14 million in a new investment round at a pre-money valuation of $147 million. New investor, BNP Joint Capital Fund, and the Impact investment and consulting firm SPERO led the round alongside existing investors, Elron, Medtronic, Agate, Pitango, and Cipio. The new investment is expected to fund BrainsGate through its pre-market approval (PMA) and enable it to achieve volume production readiness and apply for coverage from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) for its Ischemic Stroke System (ISS). BrainsGate’s therapy involves a less than 5 minutes procedure in which a neurostimulator implant is injected into an existing canal. The implant stimulates a nerve center that augments collateral blood flow to improve stroke patients’ outcomes in a 24-hour window. In May 2020, BrainsGate received marketing approval in Europe (CE marking) of its ISS product. BrainsGate’s PMA application was filed with the US FDA in February 2020. The company plans to initiate commercialization activities subject to the PMA being approved.


$10.6M: UK Investment Firm for Life Sciences

Intuitive Investments Group, a closed-end investment company focused on the life sciences sector, has raised £7.85 million (before expenses) in its AIM float by placing 39,250,000 new Ordinary Shares at 20p. The net proceeds of the Placing will be used by the Company to invest in fast growing and/or high potential Life Sciences businesses, based predominantly in the UK, wider Europe and the US, chosen from an identified pipeline of investment opportunities. Investments will be focused on diagnostics and healthcare, medical devices, tools and technologies and bio-therapeutics and pharmaceuticals


$7.4M: BARDA Extension For Point-of-Care Infection Diagnostics

Inflammatix has announced a contract extension of $7.4 million from the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) to further develop its point-of-care test and system to diagnose infection by reading the immune system. The contract is part of a BARDA contract worth up to $72 million, if all options are exercised. The new funding will support continued development and commercialization of Inflammatix’s sample-to-answer, point-of-care Myrna test system, which is designed to read RNA using machine learning and produce results in under 30 minutes, as well as continued development of the ViraBac EZ test (formerly known as HostDx Fever), which reads gene expression patterns in the immune system to identify whether a suspected infection is bacterial or viral, enabling physicians to quickly and accurately determine when to prescribe antibiotics. The test will use a fingerstick collection and capillary blood sample, and is designed for use in primary care, urgent care and other outpatient clinical settings.


$6.6M: Series A for Robotics, Machine Learning in Biology

Trailhead Biosystems announced its $6.6 million Series A financing. The company has developed a proprietary platform to perform systems-level interrogation of complex biological problems, ranging from the generation of industrially-scalable manufacturing conditions for specialized human cells to combinatorial drug discovery in cancer and anti-viral therapies. Trailhead robotically conducts the largest dimensioned experiments in biology, using machine learning to discover critical process parameters and combinatorial inputs that explain biological responses. Trailhead aims to rapidly develop the capability of creating specialized human cell types at high purity for regenerative medicine and therapeutic purposes at an industrial scale, addressing current industry needs for highly specialized cells used in drug discovery and modeling of human diseases. Through strategic partnerships, the cells provided by the company will be used to address multiple areas of clinical need. The company currently develops products that target type I diabetes, Parkinson's disease, Multiple Sclerosis, Alzheimer's disease, and blood disorders, among others.


$6.1M: 3-D Sequencing Platform

DNA sequencing instigator Single Technologies announced the completion of a heavily oversubscribed €5 million share issue to existing and new shareholders. Among the new investors are Jens von Bahr, Rothesay Ltd, Carl-Henric Svanberg funded Cygnus Montanus Trust, Professor Ulf Landegren and Andreas Ehn. The funds will be used to accelerate development of the company’s 3-D sequencing platform. Stockholm Corporate Finance acted as financial advisor. The new funding will enable the company to finalize automating its 3-D sequencing process, make it more robust and improve quality for both Whole Genome Sequencing (WGS) and transcriptomics applications. The ambition is to open the first data sequencing production site in Stockholm by 2022.


$5M: Gates Grant for At-Home COVID-19 Test

Sherlock Biosciences has received a $5 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to continue to advance INSPECTR, its instrument-free, synthetic biology-based molecular diagnostics platform. In addition to advancing the INSPECTR platform development to be as sensitive as gold-standard PCR tests, the funding will support the development of an over-the-counter disposable product, similar to an at-home pregnancy test, that can be used to detect SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. Pending approval, the company says they will launch this product in mid-2021. INSPECTR, which stands for Internal Splint-Pairing Expression Cassette Translation Reaction, uses synthetic biology to enable the creation of instrument-free diagnostic tests that can be conducted at home, at room temperature. INSPECTR can be adapted to work on a simple paper strip test or to provide an electrochemical readout that can be read with a mobile phone. It can also be adapted for use in laboratory or point-of-care settings.


$4M: Prostate Health Center at Mount Sinai

Mount Sinai has received a $4 million donation from Lizzie and Jonathan Tisch to support prostate health and the Milton and Carroll Petrie Department of Urology at Mount Sinai. The prostate program will be named The Lizzie and Jonathan Tisch Center for Prostate Health. The medical services provided at the Lizzie and Jonathan Tisch Center for Prostate Center include state-of-the-art prostate cancer screening and imaging technologies, precision urology, focal therapy, targeted biopsies, robotics for prostate cancer surgery, prostate cancer fusion biopsy, and active surveillance. Additionally, prostate cancer experts such as Dr. Tewari; Avinash Reddy, MD; Sujit Nair, PhD; Robert Valenzuela; MD; Michael Palese, MD; and Steven Kaplan, MD, are available to see patients at the newly named Center.


$2.9M: NIH Grant for Human Placental Stem Cells

Human placental stem cells may have the potential to regenerate heart tissue after a heart attack, according to Mount Sinai researchers who have received a $2.9 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to study them. Their findings could lead to new therapies for repairing the heart and other organs. Hina W. Chaudhry, MD, Director of Cardiovascular Regenerative Medicine at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, is the Principal Investigator for this four-year award. Dr. Chaudhry and a team of investigators previously discovered that mouse placental stem cells can help the hearts of mice recover from injury that could otherwise lead to heart failure. They identified a specific type of placental stem cells, called Cdx2 cells, as the most effective in making heart cells regenerate.


$2M: Cryo Solutions for Cell, Gene Therapy

GlycoNet has secured a $2-million USD equity investment for PanTHERA CryoSolutions (PanTHERA), a Canadian biotechnology start-up. The investment came from US-based investor Casdin Capital and bioproduction tools supplier BioLife Solutions Inc. In addition to an up-front investment, subject to closing conditions, BioLife will provide an additional $2 million to support product development over the next 24 months in exchange for exclusive, worldwide marketing and distribution rights to the technology for use in cell and gene therapy applications. The core technology from PanTHERA was created out of an academic research collaboration between the University of Ottawa and the University of Alberta. During cryopreservation of biological materials, the uncontrolled growth of ice causes cell injury and death. PanTHERA's solution is to develop ice recrystallization inhibitors (IRIs) to control the growth of ice and prevent this damage from occurring, ultimately resulting in superior cellular products after thawing.