Over the past two years, Immunai's founding team has been secretly working on developing a new technology to map each patient's immune system.
Immunai was founded by Noam Solomon, a postdoctoral student trained at Harvard and MIT and former Palantir engineer, Luis Voloch, and emerged from the interest of the two men in computer biology and systems engineering. When the two Ansuman Satpathy, a professor of cancer immunology at Stanford University, were introduced, and Danny Wells, who works as a data scientist at the Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy, saw the way forward for the company.
"Together we said that we have an understanding of all the technologies and machine learning that have to go into the work, and Ansu and Danny bring single cell biology," said Solomon.
Now that the company introduces itself and has received $ 20 million in funding from investors like Viola Ventures and TLV Partners, It will boost attitudes and expand its already solid research and development activities.
According to the company, Immunai already has clinical partnerships with over ten medical centers and commercial partnerships with several biopharmaceutical companies. And the team has already published peer-reviewed work on the development of T cells to fight tumors after PD-1 blockage, Immunai said.
“We are implementing a complex engineering pipeline. We wanted to scale to hundreds of patients and thousands of samples, ”said Wells. “New medications called checkpoint inhibitors are currently coming onto the market in the world of cancer therapy. We try to understand how these molecules work and find new combinations and new targets. We have to see the immune system in full granularity. "
This is the combination of Immunai hardware and software that enables researchers, Wells said. "It is a vertically integrated platform for single cell profiling," he said. "We're going further to find out what the biology is there for and to find out in a new combination design for the study."
Cell therapies and cancer immunotherapies are changing medical practice and offering new treatments for diseases. However, given the complexity of the immune system, the developers of these therapies have little insight into the effects of their treatments on the immune system. Given the diversity of individual patients, product variations can significantly change a patient's response to treatment, the company said.
Immunai has the potential to change the way these treatments are developed using single-cell technologies to profile cells by generating data from a single blood sample over a terabyte. The company's own database and machine learning tools map incoming data to different cell types and create profiles of immune responses based on differentiated elements. Finally, the database of immune profiles supports the discovery of biomarkers, which can then be monitored for possible changes.
"Our mission is to map the immune system with neural networks and transfer learning techniques based on deep immunological knowledge," said Voloch in a statement. “We developed the tools and know-how to help every researcher in immuno-oncology and cell therapy improve their work. This helps to increase the speed with which drugs are developed and brought to the market by clarifying their mechanisms of action and resistance. "
According to Solomon, pharmaceutical companies are already aware of the transformation potential of the technology. According to Solomon, the company is already in the process of signing a seven-figure contract with a Fortune 100 company.
One of the company's earliest research coups was to use research to show how the immune system works when introducing anti-PD1 molecules. Typically, the presence of PD-1 means that T cell production is suppressed. ImmuneAI's investigations showed that the reaction did not occur with T cells in the tumor. According to Wells, there were new T cells that migrated to the tumor to ward it off.
"All of the approach we have to investigating all of these indications – we believe that the right and most effective way to examine these diseases is to look at the immune system from the top down," Voloch said in an interview. “If you look at all of these different scenarios. From the top you can see these patterns that would otherwise not be available. "