CosmosID, the leading genomic big data company focused on microbiome research, outbreak investigations, and infectious disease diagnostics, using next-generation DNA sequencing, announced $6M in Series B funding. The company will expand its engineering capabilities, enhance clinical applications, undertake research and development to improve linkage of the DNA genetic code to actual biological traits (genotype to phenotype), such as antibiotic resistance, and develop new products directed at monitoring, predicting, and preventing disease outbreaks.
The funding round was led by the Applied Value Group (AVG), a private investment firm chaired by Bruce Grant (former head of Arthur D. Little North America and Chairman of Tele2, the second largest Swedish telecom carrier). As Vice Chairman of CosmosID, Mr. Grant said, "We invest in small and medium-sized companies that can significantly create economic value for their customer base through innovation in radically improving cost and time efficiency for customers. AVG has achieved that in an array of industries from high tech to manufacturing. Among all of our current 25+ investments there is no one that will revolutionize the speed and cost efficiency for their customers like CosmosID. And much more importantly the outstanding accuracy in diagnosis will save a multitude of lives"
The power of the CosmosID platform is its ability to identify all microorganisms (bacteria, viruses, fungi, and parasites) and characterize their attributes (e.g. antibiotic resistance, virulence, etc.) in a single, universal, rapid analysis. The company has analyzed over 20,000 biological samples that range from human, animal, plant, water, and soil. Chris Mason, Associate Professor in Genetics from Weil Cornell Medical School said, "I have explored the microbiome of everything from the NY subway to outer space and the software analysis component is critically important. CosmosID provides a robust tool for the quantification and detection of microorganisms and antimicrobial resistance markers and we are actively using it for onsite in situ diagnostics."
CosmosID began generating revenue in 2015, with customers in the pharmaceutical, probiotics, microbiome research, and food safety markets. Later this quarter, they will announce new partnerships with some major players in the genomic space.
Key to long-term growth, the company is evaluating the clinical utility of its broad range pathogen detection system in partnership with 15 leading research hospitals in the United States and Europe. A single CosmosID analysis detects multiple organisms and accurately identifies pathogens and their virulence and antibiotic resistance genes, all within a clinically relevant time(<24 hours), whereas legacy assays normally take days to weeks. CosmosID will be used to detect disease causing agents where legacy assays perform poorly, such as co-infections (i.e., gonorrhea/chlamydia), polymicrobial infections (i.e., pneumonia, cystic fibrosis, urinary tract and prosthetic joint infections etc.) and infections caused by difficult to detect microbes (chronic wound and respiratory infections, and meningitis/encephalitis).
CosmosID also provides rapid screening for multi-drug resistant organisms (MDROs), also known as super bugs, including Clostridium difficile, Staphylococcus aureus, and Carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae. These organisms are prevalent in healthcare associated infections (HAIs). HAIs are recognized as the most frequent adverse event encountered in health care, and can result in prolonged hospital stays, long-term disability, antimicrobial resistance, unnecessary death, and major increases in healthcare costs. The technology developed by CosmosID will help improve patient outcomes, shorten the length of hospitalization, allow better therapy selection, and ultimately reduce the total cost of care. George Watts, co-director of the Genomic Center at University of Arizona said "CosmosID can provide the resolution necessary for genomic sequencing of pathogens to become a reality in the shift to precision medicine."
With better food safety monitoring, CosmosID will help reduce foodborne illness outbreaks. CosmosID's platform provides identification of bacteria and/or viruses needed to detect causative agent(s) of food-borne illnesses, such as the recent Chipotle E. coli and norovirus and Blue Bell ice cream Listeria outbreaks. The Food and Drug Administration recently awarded CosmosID a contract to facilitate faster and more accurate identification of both common and novel foodborne pathogens.
CosmosID offers its genomic analysis software platform in the cloud, on an appliance/server (for high volume, high confidentiality environments), and as a one-stop solution to handle study design, DNA sequencing, and high quality microbiome analysis. CosmosID's algorithms, interface, and database also can be run on a laptop, without an internet connection, an ideal solution for investigating outbreaks in remote areas, such as the Ebola situation in Africa.
Rita Colwell, Founder and Chair, says, "As a pioneer in the field of microbial ecology, I am very familiar with the need to understand microbial community structure and function. CosmosID developed an accurate, reproducible system that provides actionable identification of bacteria, viruses, fungi, and parasites, literally within minutes, using DNA sequencing. The CosmosID platform represents a major development in microbiology and achieves my major objective. I am very proud of CosmosID and its outstanding achievement and momentum."
Rita Colwell is a Distinguished University Professor at the University of Maryland at College Park and at Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health. She was the 11th Director of the National Science Foundation and recipient of the 2006 National Medal of Science of the United States and the 2010 Stockholm Water Prize. Dr. Colwell is a member of the National Academy of Science.
"The next phase of the genetic revolution is in microbiology and we are excited to be a leading company innovating in this space. By analyzing huge amounts of data, we are able to make actionable decisions to improve health and well-being," said Manoj Dadlani, CEO. "CosmosID's solution is scalable, portable, and does not require bioinformatics skills to rapidly identify microbes"
Source: CosmosID Inc