Sophia Genetics, a Swiss-based genomics startup, recently closed a €67 million financing round that is expected to expand the use of the company’s AI-based genomics technology into hospitals all over the world.
The recent funding exercise included investors such as Generation Investment Management, a fund chaired by the former United States of America VP Al Gore.
Al Gore took up the chairperson role after the previous holder (a British entrepreneur) stepped down.
Since its inception back in 2011, SOPHiA Genetics has fundraised €122 million in total.
Currently, the company’s AI technology has been utilized in analyzing the genomic data of more than 300,000 patients spread out across the world in more than 850 hospitals.
SOPHiA Genetics has created a platform that can analyze advanced genomic data through artificial intelligence.
The innovative technology can boost the diagnosis of cancer patients or those suffering from genetic disorders as well as assist in the selection of the ideal treatment for every individual case.
The money fundraised recently, €67 million or an equivalent of $77 million, is said to propel SOPHiA Genetics’ valuation to nearly $450 million.
The startup’s Founder and Chief Executive Officer Jurgi Camblong said SOPHiA Genetics would utilize the money in expanding more into the United States as well as include new data sources into its platform, specifically before the scheduled initial public offering to be held in 2021.
“We believe that there will be a tech giant in our industry, but that will require a lot of capital,” he said. “Going public is the most financially viable way to grow, for transparency reasons and trust.”
SOPHiA Genetics utilizes supervised machine learning (ML) technology in analyzing genetic data, giving physicians the suggested diagnoses.
The startup has considerably benefited from scientific innovations in genomics, which have not only fuelled an ongoing funding wave into the industry but also minimized the cost associated with the sequencing of human genomes.
According to research conducted by CB Insights, global investment into startups that focus on genomics increased by more than double, landing at $3.9 billion, in between 2016 and 2017.
However, in 2018 the figure dropped to $3 billion, even though the number of investments remained mostly consistent, with 157 investment transactions made in 2018 compared to 159 deals made the year before.
SOPHiA Genetics boasts investment deals with 850 healthcare facilities.
Recently, the company expanded its operations into “radiomics,” which entails the examination of medical images drawn from X-rays, PET-scans and MRIs in a bid to forecast the development of tumors.
James Wise, a partner at the Balderton Capital in London, is one of the early investors that participated in the recently-held round of funding.
He said that SOPHiA Genetics could start analyzing broader sets of data, specifically to gain clinical insights, in the long run.
“SOPHiA is expanding into new product lines and moving beyond just looking at genetics, radiomics is a good example of that, so is looking at the impact of drugs . . . symptoms,” he said. “In the long run, you need to take a whole range of data.”
Data-powered medicine can considerably augment treatment outcomes as well as cut hospitals costs.
SOPHiA Genetics is firmly committed to democratizing the access to this advanced technology, which is set to make a considerable difference in hospitals located in regions that have fewer resources like Eastern Europe, Latin America or Africa, where SOPHiA has also implemented its technology.
With the use of artificial intelligence in analyzing genomic data gaining increased traction in recent years, both rare genetic diseases and oncology are some of the fields that are expected to benefit considerably from this technology.
AI has also been expanding into other fields of high importance such as the human microbiome and Alzheimer’s disease.