Spatial tissue analysis developer Akoya nets $50M in funding

Akoya Biosciences, developers of spatial tissue and biomarker analysis hardware, has raised $50 million to help boost its commercialization and lay more in-roads into research, drug development and clinical testing markets.

The financing was led by Piper Jaffray’s merchant banking division, with returning investments from Telegraph Hill Partners. Other backers included Agilent Technologies and Innovatus Capital Partners.

Over the past year, Akoya introduced two research platforms. Its Codex fluidics system integrates with fluorescent microscopes to provide spatial, multiplexed biomarker analysis, using a barcode system composed of antibodies and oligonucleotides.

Meanwhile its Phenoptics immunofluorescence portfolio—acquired in late 2018 from PerkinElmer, along with the team’s management, sales and support staff—is geared toward profiling cancer cells and their interactions with the immune system within the tumor microenvironment. The system includes the Mantra, Vectra and Vectra Polaris workstations and instruments.

“Akoya is transforming how immunotherapies are developed, from discovery of novel biomarkers in the tumor microenvironment to deploying high throughput, highly sensitive information to direct patient therapies,” said Thomas Schnettler, managing director at Piper Jaffray, who joined the company’s board of directors. “Our investment represents our confidence in Akoya’s relentless execution to deliver the next generation of pathology tools.”

In early November, the company launched two new kits for the Vectra Polaris system focused on profiling PD-1 and PD-L1 in lung cancer and melanoma. Each includes six immunofluorescence markers designed to evaluate the checkpoints and their suppression of immune system responses.

Akoya is also working with Precision for Medicine, formerly known as ApoCell, to develop solid tumor and liquid biopsies aimed at guiding the development of new immuno-oncology drug candidates.