- Oversubscribed funding round from leading life sciences investors, led by Wellington Partners
- Spin-off from Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin developing sophisticated AI models to improve the understanding, diagnosis and treatment of complex diseases
- Funds to expand US market presence and advance AI platform
BERLIN, Sept. 15, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Aignostics, a spin-off from Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin, developing novel digital pathology solutions with “explainable AI” for pharmaceutical research and diagnostics, today announced the €14 million oversubscribed deal closed Series A funding round. Wellington Partners led the round, joined by existing investors Boehringer Ingelheim Venture Fund (BIVF), VC Fund Technology managed by IBB Ventures and High-Tech Gründerfonds (HTGF). CARMA Fund, initiated by Ascenion, also participated as a new investor.
While pathologists are great at qualitatively interpreting individual tissue samples, in-depth analysis of large datasets is a challenge better suited to AI. Recognizing this, Aignostics is focused on building industry-leading AI models for the detailed analysis of tissue samples and associated metadata for its blue-chip pharmaceutical and biotech clients. Aignostics AI models go far beyond current out-of-the-box solutions and established approaches. Their models cover major tissue staining technologies including hematoxylin-eosin (H&E), immunohistochemistry (IHC), and immunofluorescence multiplex (mIF). They help accelerate preclinical and translational research to improve understanding of the biology of the disease, its mode of action, or new biomarkers and drug response characteristics that are difficult to assess with traditional microscopic approaches.
“With this new round of funding, we want to continue to strengthen our presence and our team. In particular, we will place more emphasis on the American market, in which we have been active since the beginning of this year,” explained Viktor Matyas, CEO and co-founder of Aignostics. “By accelerating our investments in our platform and regulatory excellence, we will be able to offer a Good Clinical Practice (GCP) compliant development and testing process from early 2023, and we expect to have the first AI models used in early-stage clinical trials. shortly after. Ultimately, we also aim to become a credible choice for global companion diagnostic (CDx) developments. »
“In addition, we will continue to drive innovation in machine learning research. For example, our patented “Explainable AI” technology reverses the engineering of traditional black-box AI models and reveals the characteristics on which its decisions and predictions are based. This helps in discovering new biomarkers or drug response characteristics. Additionally, we have developed a proprietary approach for automated cellular-level AI training that does not rely on manual annotations by pathologists. Both approaches have been successfully deployed in customer studies, and there are several other areas of research that we have identified as very promising and impactful,” said Dr. Maximilian Alber, CTO and co-founder.
“What makes Aignostics unique is not just its technology, but also its comprehensive access to key data modalities and pathologists, who are closely involved in the development process at all times. This combination allows Aignostics to quickly create custom pre-trained AI models that have tremendous impact when used by its customers on their own research and clinical trial data,” said Dr. Johannes Fischer, Principal at Wellington Partners. The offering is “tissue-centric”, which means that there is always a stained tissue sample at the heart of the analysis, but often involves additional metadata and data modalities, such as molecular or clinical data.
Dr. Alexander Ehlgen of the Boehringer Ingelheim Venture Fund added, “We have been very pleased with the development of Aignostics over the past two years and believe the team has demonstrated the value it can add to its pharmaceutical and biotech customers. BIVF is therefore delighted to continue to support the growth and development of Aignostics, and in particular its research activities, as the company develops its cutting-edge technology and intellectual property.
Dr. Rainer Strohmenger, Managing Partner at Wellington Partners commented, “We are deeply impressed with the Aignostics team and technology. Wellington is delighted to join the group of existing investors and support a leading German AI player during its expansion phase. Even more so than our previous portfolio company Definiens, Aignostics has the potential to transform the way the pharmaceutical industry and CROs use pathology in their drug development process, with the goal of significantly advancing treatments for patients with hard-to-treat diseases, including cancer.
Aignostics specializes in AI-powered pathology, uniquely combining proprietary technology, its network of pathologists, and comprehensive access to key data modalities to create bespoke AI models for its global industry clientele. pharmaceutical and biotechnology. These AI models can provide valuable insights into disease biology from tissue samples, such as novel biomarkers and drug response characteristics.
Aignostics officially started in 2018 as part of the Digital Health Accelerator program of the Berlin Institute of Health (BIH), based on joint research by Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin, one of Europe’s largest university hospitals, led by Prof. Frederick Klauschen, and TU Berlin, directed by Prof. Klaus-Robert Müller. At the beginning of 2020, Aignostics was separated from Charité. To date, Aignostics has raised nearly €20 million in funding from leading venture capitalists and has offices in Berlin, Germany, and Boston, USA.
ABOUT WELLINGTON PARTNERS
Wellington Partners is a leading European venture capital firm that invests in the most promising early-stage and growth-stage life science companies in the fields of biotechnology, therapeutics, medical technology, diagnostics and digital health. With funds totaling over €1.2 billion, of which €590 million is committed to life sciences, Wellington Partners actively supports world-class private companies that translate true innovation into successful businesses with exceptional growth . To date, Wellington Partners has invested in 56 innovative life science companies, including Actelion (acquired by J&J), Definiens (acquired by AZ), immatics. invendo (acquired by Ambu), MTM Laboratories (acquired by Roche/Ventana), Oxford Immunotec (acquired by PerkinElmer), Rigontec (acquired by MSD), Symetis (acquired by Boston Scientific) and Themis (acquired by MSD).
ABOUT BOEHRINGER INGELHEIM VENTURE FUND GMBH
Established in 2010, the Boehringer Ingelheim Venture Fund GmbH (BIVF) invests in innovative companies to drive innovation in biomedical research. BIVF seeks meaningful improvements in patient care through pioneering science and its clinical translation by building long-term relationships with scientists and entrepreneurs. BIVF’s goal is to target unprecedented concepts addressing high medical needs in immuno-oncology, regenerative medicine, infectious diseases and digital health. For more information, please visit:
ABOUT IBB VENTURES
IBB Ventures (www.ibbventures.de) has been providing venture capital to innovative Berlin-based companies since 1997 and has established itself as the market leader in seed funding. The funds are mainly used for the development and market launch of innovative products or services as well as for business concepts from the creative industries. Two funds with a total volume of 122 million euros are currently in the investment phase. The two venture capital funds are financed by the Investitionsbank Berlin (IBB) and the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), managed by the State of Berlin. IBB Ventures has already invested in more than 260 creative and technology companies in Berlin; in syndication with partners, start-ups received approx. €1.7 billion, of which IBB Ventures has invested €250 million as lead manager, co-lead manager or co-investor.
ABOUT GRÜNDERFONDS HIGH-TECH
High-Tech Gründerfonds (HTGF) is a seed investor that finances high-potential technology-focused start-ups. With a total investment volume of approximately 900 million euros in three funds and an international network of partners, HTGF has already helped to create more than 670 start-ups since 2005. With the launch of HTGF IV, more than 400 million euros of fund volume will be added in the fall of 2022. Driven by their expertise, entrepreneurial spirit and passion, its team of experienced investment managers and start-up experts help guide the development of young companies. HTGF focuses on high-tech start-ups in digital technology, industrial technology, life sciences, chemicals and related business fields. To date, external investors have injected over €4 billion into HTGF’s portfolio through over 1,900 follow-on funding rounds. HTGF has also successfully sold stakes in over 160 companies.
Fund investors in the public-private partnership include the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action, KfW Capital, the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft and numerous companies from a wide range of industries.
ABOUT THE CARMA FUND
CARMA FUND is an investment fund for the advancement of life science and healthcare assets and early-stage companies. The fund is particularly suitable for young projects in the medical field with their extended development times due to its very long-term and flexible investment methods. It started with a first Closing of €47m in June 2022 and is based in Munich and Frankfurt.
ABOUT ASCENION GMBH
Ascenion is an independent technology transfer company focused on the life sciences. It is a partner of 30 research organisations, universities and university hospitals in Germany and Europe. Its particular strengths are support for spin-offs and project development. In 2022, Ascenion launched the CARMA FUND which invests in early-stage projects and start-ups in the life sciences and healthcare sector. As a BIH Technology Transfer Partner and Charity Ascenion supported the Founders and Researchers in the successful implementation of the BIH Digital Health Accelerator program spin-off. Working closely with BIH, Ascenion also supported the negotiation of key agreements throughout the series’ seed funding process and cycle.