New startup launches with $20M to build an AI map of the immune system

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So far, Immunai and its researchers have explored the origin of cancer-fighting T cells and the effect of PD-1 blockades, and the company lists partnerships with unnamed medical centers and biopharma companies. (Pixabay)

A new startup aims to digitally map out the entire immune system, charting each cell type’s function and potential interactions with both the body and disease through artificial intelligence and machine learning.

Founded by former researchers and computer engineers from MIT, Harvard and Stanford University, New York-based Immunai is getting off the ground with $20 million in seed money. As it builds out its team and platform, the company hopes it can enable new methods of diagnosing and treating different diseases.

So far, the company has used single-cell analysis techniques to examine millions of immune cells, forming a large clinical immunological data set aimed at furthering cell therapies and cancer immunotherapies.

According to Immunai, this detailed profiling could help researchers and drug developers find certain nuances that may affect a treatment’s mechanism of action as well as provide biomarkers for response and potential toxicity.

”When looking at only a specific disease or patient cohort, one gets a limited and siloed view of the immune system,” CEO Noam Solomon said in a statement. 

“By using machine learning and applying it to our proprietary diverse database of single-sequencing data paired with rich clinical data, our platform identifies common patterns that are not visible when looking at the narrower disease-specific view,” Solomon added.

So far, Immunai and its researchers have explored the origin of cancer-fighting T cells and the effect of PD-1 blockades, and the company lists partnerships with unnamed medical centers and biopharma companies. Its seed round was led by Viola Group and TLV Partners.

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