Startups

Money Moves: iECURE, Avisi Technologies and Invent Analytics just scored $75M+ in venture capital

Take note of these November and December announcements, including a $65 Series A for Penn gene-editing spinout iECURE. Plus, the Center for Diagnostics Discovery is launching in Horsham.

Life sciences. (Photo by Polina Tankilevitch from Pexels)

Money Moves is a column where we chart the funding raises of tech companies across the region. Have a tip? Email us at philly@technical.ly.


Avisi Technologies raised a seed round

Medtech startup Avisi Technologies has raised a seed round, CEO Rui Jing Jiang confirmed to Technical.ly. The company — a 2020 RealLIST Startups honoree — aims to treat open-angle glaucoma with an ocular implant that’s designed to remove excess fluid from inside the eye. Its recent funding injection totals just over $4 million.

The raise will expedite the company’s clinical development of its VisiPlate product and go toward additional research and development, Jiang said. Avisi will also be transitioning its HQ from Philly to the Bay Area, though the team will continue to work with the Singh Center for Nanotechnology at the University of Pennsylvania.

Joining the board of directors is Dr. Catherine Mohr of Good Growth Capital and the Intuitive Surgical Foundation, and Paul Norris, partner at Accanto.

iECURE raised a Series A-1

Penn gene-editing spinout iECURE has raised additional capital following its $50 million Series A last year, the company announced last week. Its new $65 million Series A-1 was co-led by Novo Holdings A/S and LYFE Capital with participation from existing investors Versant Ventures and OrbiMed Advisors.

The majority of the round will go toward advancing the company’s lead program, GTP-506, including funding Investigational New Drug-enabling studies, starting clinical trials following regulatory approval, and achieving early human data readouts. It’ll also fuel further progress on iECURE’s portfolio of gene-editing products for the treatment of patients with rare liver diseases.

“In the last year, we have made significant progress in both advancing development of our lead program for neonatal onset OTC and building a world-class team with an extensive track record in developing and commercializing novel therapies,” CEO Joseph Truitt said in a statement. “We believe that this funding will enable us to execute all the tasks necessary to begin clinical development of what could be the first mutation-agnostic in vivo gene insertion therapeutic program.”

Center for Diagnostics Discovery is launching

Eric Rieders, an owner and former CEO of NMS Labs, is pursuing a new project in Horsham: an incubator called the Center for Diagnostics Discovery, for entrepreneurs working on new diagnostic products and processes.

Philadelphia Biz Journal reported that the proposed 50,000 square feet of space will live in the 150,000-square-foot building that houses NMS Labs. The space was previously leased by Cigna, and the site will focus on discovery, development and commercialization in diagnostics. Rieders said he’s modeling the site after the Pennsylvania Biotechnology Center in Bucks County.

“We’ve worked with some of the organizations inside of there, so I’ve been over there a couple of times,” he told PBJ. “A lot of the incubators and accelerators in the life sciences area are pointed at therapeutics, especially these days in Philadelphia where there’s an awful lot of interest in gene and cell therapy.”

The project will offer membership to entrepreneurs working on early- and mid-stage diagnostic science applications. That plan will include lab and business space, plus access to equipment, private office suites, meeting rooms and support facilities. The space is expected to be available in early 2024.

Invent Analytics raised a Series A

Center City-based retail planning solutions company Invent Analytics announced Tuesday that it had raised $7.5 million in Series A funding led by EBRD (that’s European Bank for Reconstruction and Development), with participation from Collective Spark. The round will be used to accelerate Invent Analytics’ growth in North America and Western Europe as the company continues to invest in its AI-powered supply chain tech for omni-channel retail, per a release.

The company helps retailers with profitability via demand forecasting, inventory planning and pricing. Invent counts a team of 140 including data scientists and engineers.

“Supply chain and inventory management have become a C-level priority for retailers due to the ongoing supply chain disruptions, inflationary pressures as well as consumers’ increasing expectations for omni-channel experience,” EBRD’s Yalcin Gungoren said in a statement. “Invent Analytics’ differentiated and science-driven retail planning suite delivers a measurable and straightforward ROI with an incredible speed-to-value.”

Blumberg Institute got state funding

Doylestown-based Baruch S. Blumberg Institute’s Academic Entrepreneur Initiative was granted $2 million from the state’s Angel Investment Venture Capital Program at the end of November, the organization announced. Blumberg collaborates with other institutions and scientists to help develop biotechnology innovations into valuable, often-commercialized products for improving human health.

The Venture Program’s goal is to grow access to capital for high-growth startups and encourage job creation in Pennsylvania, with a focus on companies in commercializing R&D, tech transfer or the application of new technologies.

Blumberg will fund five biotech spinouts: MERLIN Biotech, Larlingene Life Sciences, RimmSting Life Sciences, Pentrávalent LLC and Cirna Diagnostics LLC.

“The Blumberg Institute is a true leader and example of how providing a unique environment including physical workspace, equipment and other business resources and collaborations can lead to the successful transition from a startup company to one with significant job creation and growth that now commercially produces products originally developed at these incubators,” said Senate Majority Appropriations Committee Chairman Pat Browne, who helped develop the Angel Investment Venture Capital Program, in a statement.

LifeX in Pittsburgh also recently received funding from the state program.

Companies: Avisi Technologies
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