Israeli-founded biotech startup Immunai raised $60 million in a Series A funding round to fuel its mission to advance personalized immunotherapies for better treatment of diseases.
Founded in 2018 and based in New York and Tel Aviv, Immunai uses analytics and machine learning to map out the immune system and its functions in disease behavior, uncovering insights that lead to the discovery and development of more effective and targeted immunotherapies
The startup has raised more than $80 million to date, including the latest round which was led by Schusterman Family Investments, Duquesne Family Office, Catalio Capital Management, and Dexcel Pharma, with additional participation from existing investors Viola Ventures and TLV Partners.
Immunai said in a statement on Thursday that it will use the funds to expand its proprietary database of clinical immunological data called AMICA (Annotated Multi-omic Immune Cell Atlas). The database is made up of millions of annotated and characterized single immune cells at high resolution which offers the potential for better detection, diagnosis, and treatment of diseases.
Immunai said it will also extend its functional genomics capabilities to reprogram immune cells and validate targets to better support discovery, prioritization, and development of new therapies and drug combinations.
“By partnering with pharmaceutical, biotech, and academic leaders and building its own pipeline, Immunai is poised to answer the most pressing questions in immuno-oncology, cell therapy, infectious disease, and autoimmunity, including key biology driving clinical endpoints and target discovery,” the company said.
Immunai’s collaboration with the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas for example, has resulted in the identification of a gene potentially involved in CAR-NKT-mediated antitumor activity and the two parties are now working to validate this target. Immunai said the work has led to other strategic collaborations in the immunotherapy space where Immunai is partnering to develop new cell therapy candidates in solid tumors.
“The immune system is implicated in nearly every illness, making our technology critical for identifying, diagnosing, and treating disease, from cancer and infectious disease to autoimmune disorders,” said Noam Solomon, Immunai’s co-founder and CEO, in the company statement. “Since Immunai’s founding in 2018, we have been mapping the immune system through observational genomics, using multi-omic single-cell technologies and machine learning to better understand how the immune system operates.
“Our expansion into functional genomics will help our partners tackle their most pressing questions in therapy development and will ultimately improve the lives of many patients,” he added.
“It’s increasingly clear that the immune system is even more complex than we imagined, and advancing our understanding requires combining new techniques with big data approaches,” noted Dr. Kenan Turnacioglu, General Partner at Catalio Capital Management, who recently joined Immunai’s Board of Directors. “This intersection is reflected in Immunai’s founding team and leadership, and I’m excited to be working with the company on this next phase of growth, as they bring together the brightest minds in the fields of single-cell genomics, immunology, machine learning, and data engineering to take on this task.”