IMIDomics emerges with $16.5M, former Takeda exec at the helm, and a precision approach to inflammatory disease

After 15 years of laying the groundwork, IMIDomics is coming out of the shadows with $16.5 million and a mission to bring precision medicine to inflammatory ailments such as Crohn’s disease, lupus and rheumatoid arthritis.

It will do so with a precision discovery platform that will analyze various kinds of data around immune-mediated inflammatory diseases (IMIDs) that the company has collected into a biobank. IMIDomics was founded in 2015, after incubating for 10 years within Vall d’Hebron Hospital in Barcelona. Over those 15 years, the company has amassed clinical, epidemiologic and biomolecular data into that biobank, which its technology will mine to discover new ways to tackle these diseases.

It started its own biobank because existing biobanks tend to collect data “across a less focused group of diseases or no disease focus at all,” said IMIDomics president and CEO Juan Harrison, who most recently led discovery-stage academic alliances at Takeda, in an email.

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What’s more, to collect data from large numbers of people, other biobanks collect “just a few types of biological samples across many practitioners and centers,” he added. This leads to a mix of different forms and formats that are hard to analyze.

IMIDomics co-founder Dr. Sara Marsal, now head of the rheumatology department at Vall d’Hebron Hospital, spearheaded efforts to collect data and samples from patients across Spain in 2006 when she realized that “advances in drug discovery would only occur if there was a deep understanding of the disease in these patients,” Harrison said.

“Our partnerships with institutions like Vall d’Hebron Hospital as well as the thousands of patients living with immune-mediated inflammatory diseases, who have shared their data and samples over the past 15 years, have given us a uniquely strong foundation for analyzing and discovering new ways to treat these complex diseases,” said Harrison in a statement.

Although there are drugs available for patients with diseases like rheumatoid arthritis and lupus, they aren’t perfect. Because these diseases are so complex, a patient can go years before getting the right diagnosis, Harrison said in the email.

“Then, once finally diagnosed, patients often have to go through a lengthy trial-and-error process to find a therapy that works for them,” he said. Those treatments can come with lots of side effects, while some patients don’t find relief at all.

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“It’s a frustrating process for patients and healthcare providers. IMIDomics was born out of this frustration in hope of solutions,” Harrison said.

Besides emerging from stealth, IMIDomics’ next chapter includes setting up shop in the U.S. and a $16.5 million series A round drawn from DNS Capital, Bristol Myers Squibb, The Pritzker Organization and Tao Capital.

It will use the funds to build out its platform, a move that includes collecting longitudinal data—that is, from the same patients over time—and expanding into more diseases, Harrison said in the email. The proceeds will also bankroll its efforts to discover new targets for specific patient populations in its existing dataset and support partnerships, such as one with Bristol Myers Squibb to “accelerate development in their pipeline,” he said.