SomaLogic closes $200M financing round

Nan Fung Life Sciences and Madryn Asset Management join iCarbonX in investing to accelerate SomaLogic’s unique precision health insights delivery business

January 3, 2018 – Boulder, CO – SomaLogic announced today that it has capped its $200 million funding round, anchored by iCarbonX with substantial investments from Nan Fung Life Sciences and Madryn Asset Management. The successful round will accelerate SomaLogic’s goal of becoming the world’s leading provider of precision digital health insights.

SomaLogic uniquely and precisely measures thousands of human proteins rather than genes, and turns those measurements into insights that empower people to purposefully and meaningfully manage their individual health and wellness. SomaLogic’s “SOMAscan®” technology, which currently measures 5,000 proteins in a single sample, has successfully analyzed over 150,000 samples across more than 50 diseases or conditions, with plans for an additional 1 million more samples by the end of 2020. The continuously growing power of the SOMAscan technology, the massive proprietary data sets being accumulated and analyzed, and the strategy for turning those assets into a successful health insight company have together caught the attention of leading investors in emerging digital health markets.

“We are delighted to expand our relationship with SomaLogic and continue to support the company’s growth,” said Avinash Amin, Managing Partner at Madryn Asset Management. “We believe SomaLogic’s proteomics technology provides the basis for unique and differentiated insights into human health and disease, with broad implications for diagnosis and treatment.”

Understanding the changes over time in bodily proteins is being increasingly recognized by the medical community as essential to the effective personalized maintenance of health and management of disease. Unlike genes, proteins respond dynamically to changes in the body and the environment, offering meaningful and actionable health information in real-time.

“These new investments by Nan Fung and Madryn, two elite, global healthcare investors, are yet another huge vote of confidence in our strategic direction and the deep intrinsic value of our technology,” said Al Reynolds, SomaLogic’s CEO. “We are delighted that they recognize the huge potential of our technology to radically transform healthcare, and are joining us as valued partners to accelerate that goal.”

Specific financial details were not disclosed.

SomaLogic Contact
Laura S. Mizoue, Ph.D.
Communications Specialist
T: 720-417-7509
lmizoue@somalogic.com

About SomaLogic:
SomaLogic delivers meaningful and actionable health-management insights that empower individuals worldwide to continuously optimize their personal health and wellness throughout their lives.
These essential insights, provided through a global network of partners and users, are derived from precise, proprietary, and personalized measurement of critical changes in an individual’s proteins throughout life. For more information, visit http://www.somalogic.com/.

About Nan Fung Group:
Founded in 1954, Nan Fung Group is a conglomerate based in Hong Kong with global interests in real estate development and investment, financial investment, hotels and shipping. The Group continues to diversify its business and growth globally with interests in a diverse range of business partnerships, including life sciences.

About Nan Fung Life Sciences:
Nan Fung Life Sciences, part of Nan Fung Group, is a global life science investment platform with a significant presence in the US and Greater China.
Leveraging on the Group’s strong capital position, it has a long-term commitment to life sciences through direct investments and fund investments covering the full spectrum of the industry (including therapeutics, medical devices and diagnostics) and across different development stages.

About Madryn Asset Management, LP:
Madryn Asset Management, LP is a leading alternative asset management firm that invests in innovative healthcare companies specializing in unique and transformative products, technologies, and services. The firm draws on its extensive and diverse experience spanning the investment management and healthcare industries, and employs an independent research process based on original insights to target attractive economic opportunities that deliver strong risk-adjusted and absolute returns for its limited partners while creating long-term value in support of its portfolio companies. For additional information, please visit www.madrynlp.com.

 

Large-scale profiling of blood proteins identifies new markers of heart damage

A new report published online in the American Heart Association journal Circulation describes the successful measurement of changes in blood proteins at a previously unattainable scale. The results revealed a large number of proteins that increased significantly soon after a heart attack—some that are well-known markers of myocardial damage but many that are completely new. This proof-of-principle study demonstrates that comprehensive protein profiling to diagnose and treat human health and disease is on the horizon.

The types and levels of many proteins that circulate through the body are constantly changing in response to changes in real-time health status. Until recently, this gold mine of information has remained largely untapped because conventional technologies can’t measure thousands of proteins present in vastly different concentrations in complex mixtures such as blood.

In this study, researchers at the Novartis Institute for BioMedical Research, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Brigham and Women’s Hospital used the SOMAscan platform to measure the levels of ~5,000 proteins in blood samples taken from patients undergoing a “planned” heart attack, a medical procedure that can help reduce severely overgrown heart muscle (hypertrophic cardiomyopathy). They analyzed plasma taken before and at different time points after the procedure, looking for proteins whose levels changed significantly. Their results not only confirmed findings from an earlier study that used an earlier, smaller version of the SOMAscan platform (ref: Ngo, D et al. (2016) “Aptamer-Based Proteomic Profiling Reveals Novel Candidate Biomarkers and Pathways in Cardiovascular Disease.” Circulation 134(4): 270-285.), but also identified nearly 150 new proteins, many of which had not been previously associated with heart damage. Twenty-nine of the proteinswere also elevated in patients who suffered “unplanned” heart attacks.

This article is the first published description of large-scale protein profiling at a level that has not previously been reported. The expanded SOMAscan assay platform provides opportunities for unbiased discovery of disease markers to improve diagnosis, predict future events, monitor responses to therapies and identify targets for drug development. Ongoing studies by these authors are applying this expanded SOMAscan platform to larger groups of patients.

Jacob, J et al. (2017) “Application of Large Scale Aptamer-Based Proteomic Profiling to “Planned” Myocardial Infarctions.” Circulation, epub ahead of print.

Larry Gold named to 2017 National Academy of Inventors

The National Academy of Inventors (NAI) has named Larry Gold, the founder and chairman of the board of SomaLogic, as one of its 2017 fellows.

Election to NAI Fellow status is the highest professional distinction given to academic inventors. NAI Fellows are inventors on U.S. patents and were nominated by their peers for their spirit of innovation and creation of new technologies that have significantly impacted society.

Dr. Gold has been a professor in the department of Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology at the University of Colorado, Boulder since 1970 and is an elected fellow of the National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. A bioscience industry pioneer, Dr. Gold founded two other biotech companies prior to SomaLogic.

The NAI elected 155 fellows to the class of 2017. The induction ceremony will be in April as part of the Seventh Annual NAI conference in Washington, D.C.

 

Click here to read the story from the University of Colorado, Boulder.
Click here for more information on the National Academy of Inventors

An immune system timeline for tuberculosis progression

An international team of researchers has defined the series of immune system changes that occur when tuberculosis (TB) transitions from a non-infectious state to active disease. The results, published online in PLOS pathogens, highlight changes in inflammatory processes that can be detected in the blood long before clinical symptoms arise. These findings have important implications for developing diagnostics, vaccines and treatments to battle the TB epidemic.

An estimated 1.7 billion people—one quarter of the world’s population—are infected with the bacterium that causes TB, but only ~10% develop active pulmonary disease. In the article, scientists from the South African TB Vaccine Initiative, the University of Cape Town, the Center for Infectious Disease Research and SomaLogic looked for changes in various molecules in blood that together could predict the risk of TB progression. The time between the initial blood collection and TB diagnosis ranged from 1 to 894 days, so the investigators could construct a timeline of changes that occurred as the disease evolved.

The blood analyses revealed that TB progression associated with sequential modifications of immunological processes. Some of these processes, such as type I/II interferon signaling and complement cascade, were elevated as early as 18 months before TB diagnosis.

Understanding the biology of progression from infection to active pulmonary TB opens the door to blood-based tests that may determine those who are at risk of developing active disease and who need early treatment. These findings could also help development of better vaccines and host-directed therapies that accelerate eradication of TB infection.

Ref: Scriba, TJ et al. (2017) “Sequential inflammatory processes define human progression from M. tuberculosis infection to tuberculosis disease”PLOS Pathogens 13(11): e1006687.

Protein profiling reveals immune system dysfunction in Down syndrome

An article published online in Scientific Reports shows that Down syndrome may be a form of chronic immune disorder. In the largest and most comprehensive study of its kind to date, investigators at the Crnic Institute for Down Syndrome, the Sie Center for Down Syndrome, the University of Colorado, and Somalogic measured the levels of over 3500 proteins in the blood of Down syndrome patients and compared them to non-Down syndrome controls. Their results provide a new framework for understanding the physiological mechanisms that drive the altered disease susceptibilities seen in individuals with Down syndrome, and suggest that individuals with Down syndrome could benefit from therapies that decrease or modulate immune responses.

Down syndrome, or Trisomy 21, is caused by having three copies of chromosome 21 instead of two. Although the genetics of Down syndrome have been known for 60 years, it is still unclear how having the extra chromosome leads to various Down syndrome traits, including changes in common disease susceptibilities (e.g., Down syndrome individuals are more likely to develop Alzheimer’s, leukemia and autoimmune disorders, but less likely to develop solid tumors and cardiovascular disease). Understanding the biology that underlies these differences could inform a wide range of medical conditions that affect not only Down syndrome individuals, but the entire population.

The researchers used the SOMAscan assay to compare levels of blood proteins in 165 individuals with Down syndrome and 98 controls, and they identified 299 proteins that differed significantly between the two groups. Surprisingly, most of these proteins are not encoded by genes located on chromosome 21, but are associated with immune system control. Down syndrome individuals appear to have something that resembles an autoinflammatory condition, with elevated levels of proteins that promote inflammation but deficiencies in proteins that help eliminate foreign pathogens. The findings provide a new way to think about Down syndrome and possible targets of therapies to improve the health and lifespan of those with Down syndrome as well as the general population.

Sullivan, KD et al. (2017) “Trisomy 21 causes changes in the circulating proteome indicative of chronic autoinflammation” Scientific Reports 7(1): 14818.

 

Modified DNA aptamer inhibits IL-1α signaling

Modified DNA aptamer inhibits IL-1α signaling

In an article published online in Nature Communications, scientists from SomaLogic and Yale University report that they have successfully generated a novel Slow Off-rate Modified Aptamer (SOMAmer) molecule that binds tightly to interleukin 1 alpha (IL-1α), an essential inflammatory protein implicated in cancer and other diseases. The SOMAmer (called SL1067) shows high specificity for IL-1α and can block its activity. SL1067 could therefore be a useful tool for elucidating IL-1α’s role in producing inflammation and regulating the immune system.

IL-1α/SL1067 structure with IL-1α in green. SL1067 is in cyan with naphthyl-modified residues in orange.

The researchers determined the three-dimensional structure of SL1067 bound to IL-1α, providing the first high-resolution structure of this essential protein. This is also the first crystal structure of a SOMAmer that contains bases modified with naphthyl groups, five of which are involved in IL-1α binding. The naphthyl modifications allow SL1067 to adopt a very compact structure with unusual three-dimensional shapes that have never been seen before. Since SL1067 is small (only 22 nucleotides in length), stable and easily synthesized, it serves as an excellent starting point for development of novel therapeutic molecules that target IL-1α.

 

Ren, X et al. (2017) “Structural basis for IL-1α recognition by a modified DNA aptamer that specifically inhibits IL-1α signaling” Nat Commun, epub ahead of print.
https://www.nature.com/articles/s41467-017-00864-2