Takeda joins Novartis and Merck in $45M funding for Koneksa Health

Takeda Ventures has joined Novartis and Merck in backing Koneksa Health, which bills itself as a digital biomarker company.  Koneksa's platform stands to benefit from the renewed interest the COVID-19 pandemic brought to remote monitoring of clinical trials, since the technology is designed to collect patient data remotely and analyze details in real time.

The $45 million series C funding will go toward expanding Koneksa’s digital biomarker platform. While the financing round may be small for a biotech, it is almost three times its $16 million series B. The company received $9.6 million in its series A and said in its series C announcement that it has raised approximately $65 million in gross proceeds from private financings to date.

Koneksa has been working on its digital biomarker technology since it started up in 2015. The platform is designed to analyze clinical trial data from wearables and sensors that measure details like vital signs, gait and balance as well as sleep and motor activity. The endgame is to help with trial recruitment, create a seamless experience for patients and improve access to study evidence for sponsors and research organizations.

The funding will also go toward developing self-service capabilities for Koneksa's clinical data integration solutions. Takeda Ventures joined the series C, led by AyurMaya, and existing investors including the likes of Novartis and Merck reupped their support.

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Koneksa is not new to Takeda. The Japanese company teamed up with the biotech in 2016 to add biosensor wearables to some of its early-stage clinical trials. 

Takeda isn’t the only company Koneksa has partnered with. Late last year, Sanofi elected to extend its collaboration with the biotech to use its platform in some of the French Big Pharma's phase 3 trials for a multiple sclerosis therapy and some other projects.

In addition to funding, the company also announced that a new face would be added to its board of directors: Karan Takhar, managing partner at AyurMaya. This isn’t the only new hire at Koneksa; it also recently added its first chief medical officer, John Wagner, M.D., Ph.D. Wagner previously held senior leadership positions at Takeda and Merck and brought Type 2 diabetes drug Januvia and cancer therapy Zolinza to market.