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Israeli biotech startup Immunai raises $215m for drug discovery platform

Koch Disruptive Technologies, venture capital firm of Koch Industries, leads investment round

Ricky Ben-David is The Times of Israel’s Startups and Business editor and reporter.

The Immunai team in Israel. (Eliad Golan)
The Immunai team in Israel. (Eliad Golan)

Israeli startup Immunai raised $215 million in a Series B funding round led by Koch Disruptive Technologies, the venture capital firm of Koch Industries, the company announced late Wednesday.

Immunai, founded in 2019, says it is on a mission to comprehensively map the immune system with single-cell biology and AI in order to fuel discoveries of new therapeutics and accelerate drug development. The company developed a drug “actuary” platform called AMICA (Annotated Multiomic Immune Cell Atlas), that “enables high-resolution profiling of the immune system at industrial scale, generating biological insights that accelerate R&D and power novel discoveries.”

Immunai said the new funds will be used to expand the platform.

Investors in this current round, which brings Immunai’s total raised capital to $295 million, include Talos VC, 8VC, Alexandria Venture Investments, Piedmont, and ICON.

“We have made great progress towards our core mission of understanding the immune system, which we believe is essential to finding the answers to human health and disease,” said Noam Solomon, CEO and co-founder of Immunai, in a statement. “Unlocking the immune system will accelerate the evaluation and development of novel immune medicines. Our approach is to combine best-in-class single-cell genomic methods and artificial intelligence with a deep understanding of immunology.”

Luis Voloch, CTO and co-founder of Immunai, added, “The ability of our platform to surface and evaluate new drug targets has given us the confidence to push into therapeutic development with our partners. We’re grateful for both the capital and expertise we’re receiving in the round, and will use both to develop our platform and help advance targets towards the clinic.”

Immunai founders Luis Voloch, right, and Noam Solomon, left. (Eric Sultan)

Immunai said it has tripled in size over the past year, growing its staff to 120 employees made up of experts in genomics, machine learning, bioinformatics, immunology, and software engineering, in New York City, Tel Aviv, Zurich, Prague, and San Francisco.

The company also has more than 30 running partnerships with top-tier pharmaceutical companies and leading academic institutions including Harvard, Stanford, Memorial Sloan Kettering, and Baylor College of Medicine.

Eli Groner, managing director at Koch Disruptive Technologies, who will be joining Immunai’s board of directors, said the startup “is leaving no stone unturned in understanding and developing technology to map the immune system – critical scientific work that will give us greater knowledge to treat diseases and improve patient outcomes.

“We invested in Immunai because we recognize that understanding the immune system and its incredible complexity is key for the future of medicine,” he added.

In July, Immunai acquired Swiss biocuration and data integration company Nebion for an undisclosed amount. Nebion became a subsidiary of Immunai and its team of executives joined the company in various roles. Moderna co-founder Robert Langer became a board member, and world-renowned immunologist Jacques Banchereau, who previously served as SVP and head of Inflammation & Virology and chief science officer at Roche, joined as chief scientific officer.

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