Oxford and Lisbon-based biotech startup iLoF is an emerging firm in this space that is poised to make a difference on a global scale via its platform that creates improved access to personalized medicine for people living with complex diseases around the world. However, this comes as medical scientists have confirmed that patients respond and react differently to medicine and treatment, notably in a complex scenario like Alzheimer’s.
A source familiar with the matter has confirmed that the fact that millions of people across the globe currently live without access to an effective disease-modifying treatment led to the creation of iLoF.
The subject startup is believed to be revolutionizing approaches to future healthcare, while the new capital injection is understood to be in the region of $4 million dollars in equity investment led by Faber, alongside Microsoft’s venture fund and Quiet Capital, US-based M12, which also include EU-based Lunar Ventures, Alter Venture Partners, re.Mind Capital and Fluxunit, the corporate VC arm of ams OSRAM. Angel investor ‘Charlie Songhurst’, formal GM at Microsoft, and Berggruen Holdings, also among the participants is the family office of Nicolas Berggruen, a serial investor and philanthropist.
In addition to the investment is the €880k grant from ERDF.
‘Sofia Santos’, Partner at Faber, commented: “iLoF has the potential to positively impact millions of patients around the globe and become an integral part of the $500B global personalized medicine market. Its unique combination of photonics and artificial intelligence can both directly impact the fast-growing AI in Drug Discovery Market and transform the diagnosis, staging, and triage of a myriad of diseases, progressively moving healthcare from a central hospital based-approach into a low-cost, distributed patient-driven approach”.
In order to achieve its mission, the subject startup which was founded in 2019 has created a digital library of disease biomarkers and biological profiles, while focusing more on patient-centric is enabling biotechs and pharmaceutical companies to make clinical trials faster and cheaper. As a result, biotech startup iLoF’s pulls together massive amounts of data to build a library of biological profiles by integrating world-class physicists, biologists, and data scientists to get life-saving personalized treatments to patients at a rapid pace.
‘Luis Valente’, Co-Founder and CEO, made clear: “We collect vast amounts of data to create digital twins of biological profiles and disease subtypes, which we store in our digital library. Different patient profiles can be selected and screened using our platform to speed up the development of effective and personalized treatments while enabling humane, patient-centric clinical trials”.
The platform amasses a wide range of optical signals, creating rich signatures of the ensemble of particles on biological samples, which are, in turn, converted into bio-digital twins. These bio-digital twins overcome the traditional limits of biochemical analysis that can be re-analyzed a potentially infinite number of times. This is understood to supercharge the search for emergent features and patterns that could be the key to developing diverse novel therapeutics.
It was observed during the pandemic that iLoF worked with St. John’s Hospital and the Faculty of Medicine in Porto to understand how the platform could help manage the influx of COVID-19 patients and optimize resources. During this, the startup demonstrated its competence and ability to accurately distinguish COVID-19 patients based on their likelihood of ICU admission, thereby enabling hospitals to manage critical resources more effectively. However, the pandemic perfectly highlighted the need for a more personalized approach to drug discovery – and iLoF is poised to revolutionize this approach.
In view of this, ‘Priyanka Mitra’, investor at M12, Microsoft’s venture fund noted: “In the midst of the accelerated pace of change brought on by the global pandemic, the need for personalized medicine solutions that serve each patient’s individual needs has never been more pressing. iLoF’s cloud-based library of optimal fingerprints is world-class technology built by an outstanding team that will help us usher in this new era of personalized patient care and healthcare delivery”.
The startup plans to take its vision from what it calls a next-generation bioinformatics platform to a breakthrough disease screening one.
‘Mehak Mumtaz’, COO and Co-founder of iLoF added: “Our ultimate vision is to go from a next-generation bioinformatics platform to a breakthrough disease screening one. Moving from supporting researchers and scientists to directly helping patients around the world will vastly deepen our understanding of diseases and help physicians detect the world’s more severe and impactful diseases, such as Ovarian Cancer or Alzheimer’s Disease”.
It also plans to hire 20 people internationally by 2023, notably across physics, biology, data science, and product management profiles. Though it recently hired ‘Alex Turpin’ as Head of BioSignal and Analytics. However, speaking of the fresh investment, ‘Elad Verbin’, Partner at Lunar Ventures, added:
“iLoF embodies the power of artificial intelligence to revolutionize healthcare as we know it. We are increasingly excited to back iLoF’s team of biologists, laser physicists, and data scientists as they teach a computer how human blood looks at the nano-scale when affected by cancer or Alzheimer’s. Humanity urgently needs access to cheap, painless point-of-care diagnostics, and optical technology and machine learning are finally advanced and strong enough to provide this. iLoF is a frontrunner in leveraging these new optics and machine learning capabilities, providing an accurate early screening platform that improves the lives of tens of millions”.
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