Mousera bags $20M VC round to advance sensor tech in preclinical research

Mousera CEO Timothy Robertson

Mousera has returned to investors for cash. The Silicon Valley startup emerged from stealth mode last year with $10 million in VC funding and ex-Pfizer ($PFE) CEO Jeff Kindler on its board. Now, it has added a further $20 million in Series B funding and given a few more hints at what it is furtively building using the cash.

The story surrounding Mousera so far is more about who is involved and how much cash they are willing to commit than the technology. A one-page corporate website lists broad ambitions to empower researchers to accelerate drug discovery, "rapidly surface insights and high volumes of quality data" and make more accurate preclinical predictions of drug activity in humans. Exactly how Mousera will realize these laudable ambitions is unclear, but it has convinced some notable VC firms to finance its plans.

Big Data specialist Data Collective led the $20 million round, which also attracted funding from Lux Capital--where Kindler is a venture partner--the Dolby Family, Ame Cloud Ventures and Founders Fund. In the wake of closing the round, Mousera CEO and Co-Founder Timothy Robertson gave a few hints as to where the money is going. "We saw real opportunities using modern sensor technologies. These things can just collect vastly more information about preclinical drug development and help companies make better judgments," Robertson told MedCity News.

The backgrounds of Robertson, his fellow co-founder Joe Betts-Lacroix and the 13 other staffers listed on LinkedIn ($LNKD) reveal more information about where Mousera is headed. Robertson set up Mousera after working at Proteus Digital Health, the company that won FDA approval for an ingestible sensor in 2012. CTO Betts-Lacroix is best known as the creator of the world's smallest personal computer, an accolade the Guinness Book of World Records bestowed upon him during his time at handheld computer pioneer OQO.

Other employees can broadly be split into two camps. One group of employees has a mix of tech job titles involving hardware, software and algorithms, while the other looks like a list of employees at a preclinical lab, with vivarium operations, veterinary services and animal R&D all featuring. Mousera will take on more staff using the VC money--machine learning is one area of interest--as it continues to test the ability of its operation to assess the safety and efficacy of drugs in an invitation-only beta program.

- read MedCity News' article