Novartis leads $12.5M A round for antibody diagnostics start-up ImaginAb

A Los Angeles-based start-up focused on developing new diagnostic tests for antibody treatments has landed a $12.5 million A round from a group of investors led by Novartis Venture Funds. ImaginAb re-engineers antibodies into proteins that can be used for diagnostic imaging. And it claims more than a dozen programs with partners looking to develop diagnostics that can be used to match patients with the right antibody treatment.

"This is an important growth financing event for ImaginAb because it augments financial resources from our rapidly expanding pharma companion diagnostics program and strategic NCI funding, to enable us to accelerate the clinical development of our cancer and immunology imaging programs," said CEO Christian Behrenbruch.

Novartis Venture Funds' Managing Director Campbell Murray said he was intrigued by the potential the company's technology has in influencing the way antibodies are developed, improving the patient selection process. And with new antibodies a hot focus in the development field, ImaginAb also got good marks on business potential.

"ImaginAb's strategy of harnessing the explosive growth in the antibody space to build an in vivo diagnostics program is best in class and has yielded product pipelines that will have major impact on the clinical management of cancer and autoimmune diseases," said Murray.

ImaginAb got started a bit more than four years ago, launched by Robert Reiter, Anna Wu and Christian Behrenbruch, all faculty members at UCLA. Merieux Developpement, Nextech Invest, Cycad Group and existing seed investor Momentum Biosciences all joined the round.

- here's the press release
- get the story from the Los Angeles Business Journal