Merck, Illumina back immune-mapper SerImmune in $8M round

money2
SerImmune will expand its antibody-mapping technology.

SerImmune, whose technology maps the human antibody repertoire, rounded up $8 million from Merck, Illumina Ventures and unnamed investors. The funds will drive the expansion of the company’s immune mapping platform and antibody repertoire database.

In addition to aiding drug discovery and vaccine design, the platform’s applications include the development of multiplex diagnostic panels and companion diagnostics, as well as tests for the early detection of disease, the company says.

Using next-generation sequencing, SerImmune’s technology maps human antibodies to antigens associated with infection, allergens, microbiome organisms, autoimmune diseases and cancers.

FREE DAILY NEWSLETTER

Like this story? Subscribe to FierceBiotech!

Biopharma is a fast-growing world where big ideas come along every day. Our subscribers rely on FierceBiotech as their must-read source for the latest news, analysis and data in the world of biotech and pharma R&D. Sign up today to get biotech news and updates delivered to your inbox and read on the go.

RELATED: Illumina, Mayo Clinic unite to ramp up next-gen genetic disorder testing

The company keeps a database of antigen epitopes—the part of the antigen where antibodies bind—that are related to health and disease. This information could boost understanding of the immune system’s relationships with different antigens and drive immune-related R&D.

"We believe that the platform will provide new insights into the antigens and environmental factors involved in human disease, enabling more sensitive and precise diagnostic tests, new vaccines, and more targeted biopharmaceuticals,” said Nick Naclerio, founding partner of Illumina Ventures, in a statement. “This fits our strategy of investing in great teams that are pioneering new applications of NGS alongside other strong syndicate partners."

RELATED: Merck, Amgen bump up series B to $42.4M for Akili

Illumina Ventures was born last year when the sequencing giant committed $100 million to a venture capital fund centered on early-stage companies working on new uses for DNA sequencing and using genomics to improve human health. In addition to SerImmune, Illumina Ventures has invested in Twist Bioscience, Kallyope and Genome Medical.

Suggested Articles

What the NASH field needs, says Genfit CEO Pascal Prigent, is something like the Hb1Ac test for diabetes.

Dubbed “Project Nightingale,” the efforts were announced amid concerns and federal inquiries into the data’s safekeeping and patient consent for use.

Exact Sciences received an FDA breakthrough designation for its liver cancer blood test as it finalized its $2.8 billion merger with Genomic Health.