Jerusalem-based Genetika+, bringing the first personalized medicine platform for optimizing psychiatric and neurologic patient treatment, has closed a $10 million oversubscribed Series A funding round led by GreyBird Ventures, a Boston-based VC focused on precision medicine. Also participating in the round are Meron Capital, Jumpspeed Ventures, Sapir Venture Partners, Howard Morgan, Chairman of B Capital Group, and Michael Zeisser of FMZ Ventures and former Chairman, Investments at Alibaba Group. In September 2021, Genetika+ was also named the 2021 winner of the Extreme Tech Challenge HealthTech Award , the world’s largest startup competition for entrepreneurs addressing global challenges!
Scott Gazelle, GreyBird Ventures co-founder, said “GreyBird Ventures seeks to invest in companies that can solve the most challenging problems in medical diagnostics and make a difference in the lives of patients and their families. Selecting the right drug for patients suffering from depression is at the top of that list. Genetika+ is well positioned to solve this challenging problem and improve the lives of millions of patients worldwide.”
Genetika+ personalizes antidepressant treatment for each patient. Genetika+’s novel Brain-in-a-Dish technology allows for a first-of-its-kind in vitro screen, in which a simple blood draw is used to predict the best antidepressant or combination therapy for that patient. This approach eliminates months or years of trial and error prescribing for depression patients often accompanied by debilitating side effects. This solution for depression is just the beginning for Genetika+, which will apply its platform to develop personalized solutions for conditions across the psychiatric and neurological space.
The funding will accelerate the company’s next phase, including expanded clinical trials, increased manufacturing capabilities, and the establishment of a clinical lab in Boston, Massachusetts. The company is accelerating growth through increased hiring for multiple positions over the next 12 months in Boston and in Israel to support research and business development activities across the US market.
“Millions of patients around the world face an arduous journey to find the most effective medication to treat their depression,” said Talia Cohen-Solal Ph.D., co-founder and CEO of Genetika+. “Sadly, COVID-19 has led to even more widespread depression and a greater need for new solutions. We’re excited to secure this funding, which will enable the first biologically relevant measures to inform potentially life-changing medication selection decisions.”
Depression affects daily functioning and quality of life for more than 300 million people worldwide, making it a leading cause of disability globally. Beyond the human cost, in the United States alone, the economic impact of depression was more than $326 billion annually in 2018. During the COVID-19 pandemic, depression rates have risen threefold, with the largest increase in young adults. While a large number of anti-depressants are available, there is currently no objective way for physicians to choose among these drugs based on a patient’s specific brain biology. Initially prescribed treatments are successful only about one-third of the time.
Genetika+, founded in 2018 by Talia Cohen-Solal, Ph.D. and Daphna Laifenfeld, Ph.D. is developing personalized medicine solutions to optimize treatment for psychiatric and neurological diseases. Dr. Cohen-Solal was chosen as one of the top-50 Heathcare Technology CEOs of 2021 by Technology Innovators Media Group LLC. More on this award can be found on page 43 of the online version. The Extreme Tech Challenge (XTC) competition is the world’s largest startup competition for entrepreneurs addressing global challenges. Drawing from the United Nation’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals, XTC connects innovators with a network of investors, corporations, and mentors to help them raise capital, launch corporate collaborations, and scale their world-changing startups.
The company’s Brain-in-a-Dish technology helps physicians find the best treatment for their patients. In its first indication, depression, Genetika+ uses patented technology to rapidly test more than 70 approved antidepressants and drug combinations against an individual patient’s unique neurological biomarkers. Combined with patients’ genetic and medical history, Genetika+ can predict the optimal drug or combination therapy for each patient. This opens the door to faster treatment, fewer side effects, and lower dosing, and the elimination of arduous trial-and-error treatment protocols and needless loss of life.
Source: Cision PRWeb SEPTEMBER 30, 2021
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