The UK biotech PredictImmune has raised €11M (£10M) in a Series B fundraising round to commercialize technology to predict the progress of inflammatory bowel disease in newly diagnosed patients.
The funds will finance the global launch of PredictSURE IBD, a blood test that can identify patients with the most severe cases of inflammatory bowel disease, a chronic condition caused by inflammation in the colon. Following the product’s UK launch in April, PredictImmune aims to expand its team and commercial infrastructure, and partner with labs in global regions including the US.
PredictImmune’s blood test is designed to measure the expression of particular genes in cytotoxic T cells, which are involved in the inflammatory condition. It is the first tool on the market that can predict which patients will need more intensive treatment in the first year after diagnosis.
“We hope that in the long term these types of enabling prognostic tests will allow inflammatory bowel disease patients to have significantly better quality of life with these chronic diseases by enabling clinicians to make informed decisions about appropriate treatment pathways at the time of diagnosis,” Paul Kinnon, the CEO of PredictImmune, told me.
In one of PredictImmune’s studies this year, the test was used to classify 123 patients with inflammatory bowel disease as either high-risk or low-risk. According to the study results, 91% of patients requiring more intensive treatments were in the high-risk group. In contrast, 98% of the patients predicted as low-risk did not require extra treatments.
According to Kinnon, blood tests will become instrumental to tailoring treatments to patients across the field of medicine. “The biggest challenge is getting the test to market efficiently and rapidly in order to improve patients’ outcomes,” he told me. “This essentially is our goal – build the test and bring it to the market to enable better treatment decisions now rather than two to five years down the road.”
Blood tests are one of many different ways to accelerate the adoption of personalized medicine. For example, an international team of scientists recently used DNA sequencing and gene expression in tumors to better personalize medication for cancer patients, and found that some patients could benefit more than others from this strategy.
Big pharma companies are also buying into projects developing personalized medicine, including a big Finnish project collecting samples and health data from 500,000 Finns, which could help the companies to predict which drugs might work in different patients.
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