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Integrated Diagnostics launches with pre-eminent team and investors

Dr Leroy Hood-led venture has secured $30 million Series A financing from InterWest Partners, Wellcome Trust and dievini.

Integrated Diagnostics launched officially today with more than $30 million in funding. A pre-eminent team of scientists and investors are behind the company, which was founded by biotechnology innovator Dr Leroy Hood. Integrated Diagnostics will focus on developing personalized and preventive diagnostics based on breakthroughs using genomic and proteomic technologies to identify organ-specific proteins. The company will be developing diagnostic tools to help patients and physicians detect disease in its earliest stages. Building on research from Dr Hood, Dr Jim Heath and other leading scientists, Integrated Diagnostics is creating diagnostic tools and biomarkers that will help define the coming transition to health care that is predictive, preventive, personalized and participatory.

‘Just as the DNA sequencer allowed us to decode the human genome, the technology behind Integrated Diagnostics will allow us unprecedented insight into preventing and treating diseases like cancer, diabetes and Alzheimer’s by analyzing the proteins that appear in their earliest stages,’ said Dr Hood, current president of The Institute for Systems Biology (ISB) and the inventor of the DNA sequencer, which played a crucial part in the mapping of the human genome. ‘I have had the good fortune to found several successful biotechnology companies. I believe Integrated Diagnostics will prove to be among the most significant. By taking a systems approach to monitoring an individual’s health we will be able to provide physicians and patients an early warning system for preventing and treating diseases.’

Integrated Diagnostics will have access to Dr Hood’s research at ISB investigating protein blood markers that can report on the physiological state of the body's 50 major organs. His research uses genomic and proteomic techniques to identify blood proteins that are only synthesized in the organ of interest and then identifies subtle changes that result from disease or treatment. By monitoring concentrations of these proteins in the blood, disruptions in healthy function can be detected and traced back to the diseased organ.. This work is based on the concept of a systems view of disease in which pathophysiology arises from disease-perturbed networks of proteins, genes and other molecules.

Through its research collaborations, Integrated Diagnostics possesses proprietary data on organ-specific proteins across a range of human organs. These protein panels are applicable to many diagnostic modalities, including early detection of disease, stratification of disease types, and monitoring disease progression and recurrence. The company’s technology is applicable to a broad scope of diseases, including cancer, diabetes and Alzheimer’s disease.

‘Integrated Diagnostic’s research-enabling technologies will allow us to cut in half the standard development times for diagnostics,’ said Dr Hood. ‘In addition, the company’s technologies will ultimately permit the rapid analysis of blood biomarkers from just a fraction of a droplet of blood, at a cost of less than one dollar per protein measured.’

InterWest Partners, a diversified venture capital firm, led the $30 million Series A financing for Integrated Diagnostics and was joined by The Wellcome Trust and dievini Hopp Biotech holding. dievini’s participation in the Series A financing is part of a collaboration with the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, which plans to become part of the investor group in the future.

Integrated Diagnostics is the first commercial enterprise to emerge from a unique $200 million public–private partnership – announced in 2008 – between the nation of Luxembourg and three American research institutions, including ISB.

‘Integrated Diagnostics represents two important investing models,’ said Dr Arnold Oronsky, general partner at InterWest Partners. ‘The first is an innovative public–private investment partnership that seeks to achieve advances in health care, a return on investment and to spur the growth of a nation’s health care industry. The second model is the growing importance of investing in science that helps us to understand the complex biological systems that influence many diseases. There is a huge market for diagnostic tools that can make sense of that complexity; we believe Integrated Diagnostics is well placed to meet that need.’

Dr Hood is the founder of more than a dozen biotechnology companies, including Amgen, Rosetta Inpharmatics and Applied Biosystems. Integrated Diagnostic’s other founders include Jim Heath, Ph.D, professor of chemistry at Caltech; David Galas, Ph.D, professor at ISB and VP/CSO of the Battelle Memorial Institute; and Paul Kearney, Ph.D, president and chief scientific officer of Integrated Diagnostics.

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