Rebranded Nomic Bio raises $17 million to fuel development of protein-measuring platform

Nomic Bio has secured a new name and $17 million USD in Series A financing to support the growth of its protein-measuring platform.

Nomic hopes to “revolutionize” how drugs are developed and diseases are diagnosed and treated.

Founded in 2017 by bioengineers at McGill University, Nomic (formerly Nplex Biosciences) aims to build “the world’s highest throughput” protein-measuring platform. Proteins are large, complex molecules that play a variety of critical roles in the human body. They can indicate when disease occurs, how it progresses, as well as whether treatments are effective.

According to the Montréal-based startup, “despite decades of technological advances for measuring DNA and RNA,” technologies for measuring proteins “have yet to be scaled.”

Nomic aims to address this issue through its nELISA platform, which allows scientists to measure more proteins at a time, at a lower cost, by leveraging advances in DNA nanotechnology, spectral multiplexing, and automation. By doing so, Nomic hopes to “revolutionize” how drugs are developed and diseases are diagnosed and treated.

“Our mission is to improve human health by providing scientists with the tools they need to measure proteins at high resolution and unprecedented scale and cost in order to make better decisions on targets, drugs, and biomarkers,” said Milad Dagher, Nomic’s co-founder and CEO. “We’re excited that our Series A investors share our vision of a future where proteomic information is more broadly and more easily accessible for biomedical scientists at large.”

The startup’s “oversubscribed,” all-equity Series A round was led by New York-based Lux Capital, and saw participation from fellow New York investor SR One, San Francisco’s Casdin Capital, and Nomic’s prior institutional investors. Dagher attributed the round’s oversubscription to “several successful pilots” Nomic ran last year with “top pharmaceutical companies.”

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Zavain Dar, partner at Lux Capital, acknowledged that the ability to analyze the genome has improved. Amid this environment, early-stage Canadian biotech software startups like BioBox Analytics and PhenoTips have emerged. Both are building solutions designed to serve the growing genomic space, as BioBox is designing tech to help scientists to analyze genomic data and PhenoTips offers a solution that enables healthcare providers to manage genomic medicine workflows.

“It’s evident that the next leap in understanding and treating disease will come from building atop the emerging omic-stack,” said Dar. “What’s been sorely lacking is the ability to analyze the proteome as easily as the genome, and the Lux team is confident that Nomic has taken the right approach in tackling that challenge.”

Dagher referred to studying proteins as “an integral part of every stage of the biomarker and drug discovery process,” but also highlighted that the tools available to scientists today “present serious tradeoffs between multiplexing, cost, and throughput.”

According to Dar, Nomic’s technology enables “optimal scalability [of proteins] in both content and throughput without compromising on cost, accuracy, or translatability.”

The new capital brings Nomic’s total funding to over $21 million USD, from a group of past investors that includes Montréal’s Real Ventures, New York-based 2048 Ventures, and YCombinator, as Nomic, then Nplex, participated in the Silicon Valley-based incubator’s Winter 2020 Demo Day.

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To date, Nomic has worked with select partners in the pharmaceutical and biotech industry to advance drug discovery efforts, ranging from mid-size biotech firms to major pharma companies.

Dagher told BetaKit the startup’s platform is “especially useful for screening and discovery groups working on indications such as immunotherapy, aging, and other diseases where inflammation plays an important role.” The CEO added that some of the most popular use-cases of Nomic’s platform include studying the response of disease-relevant immune cells to different types of stimulations and treatments.

“With this capital injection we plan to grow the team, develop our core automation capabilities, expand our service and manufacturing labs in Montréal and Boston, and scale up the protein content on the platform,” said Dagher. “Specifically, one of our goals is to expand access for our customers and early users by opening up enough bandwidth to profile upwards of 100,000 samples per quarter starting [in] Q2.”

To achieve these goals, Nomic plans to double its 20-person team over the coming year.

UPDATE (12/08/21): This story has been updated to include responses from Milad Dagher.

Feature image courtesy of Nomic Bio

Josh Scott

Josh Scott

Josh Scott is a BetaKit reporter focused on telling in-depth Canadian tech stories and breaking news. His coverage is more complete than his moustache. He was also the winner of SABEW Canada’s 2023 Jeff Sanford Best Young Journalist award.

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