CosmosID raises $6 million in Series B funding
Rockville, MD – January 27, 2016 – 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(
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"
Manoj Dadlani is a Cornell University graduate in biological engineering and served as head of the US branch of Applied Value Management Consulting. He subsequently transitioned to the investment side of the Applied Value Group, which is the lead investor in CosmosID.
An example of a real-world application of CosmosID's capabilities is found in a recently published paper in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences http://www.pnas.org/content/113/3/722.abstract. Ashok Chopra, the study's lead said "CosmosID's unbiased metagenomic analyses helped us uncover how multiple strains, with varying virulence, of a flesh eating bacterium called Aeromonas hydrophila can crosstalk in developing devastating necrotizing fasciitis. Since these strains belonged to the same species, routine clinical diagnostic methods will never to be able to identify this mono-species polymicrobial infection. The precise strain level identification that CosmosID provides could revolutionize clinical microbiology, directing physicians towards improved and more effective treatment options."
The scientific advisory board of the company includes the global thought leaders Vint Cerf, one of the fathers of the internet and Chief Internet Evangelist for Google, Richard Roberts, Nobel Prize laureate and Research Director of New England Biolabs, and Eric Haseltine, former Director of Science and Technology of the National Security Agency and former executive vice president, Disney Imagineering, and outstanding technical experts.
Other notable investors incude Bert Nordberg (Chairman of Vestas Wind Systems and former CEO of Sony Ericson), Kristian Tear (VP, Head of EMEA of Logitech and former COO of Blackberry), and Mark Rosenblatt (a leading tech investor).
For additional information, please contact Jon Ryan, [email protected]
About the CosmosID Technology
CosmosID has the most rapid and accurate metagenomic microbial identification platform in the field today. Using patented methods and curated databases of more than 65,000 microbial genomes, including bacteria, viruses, fungi, parasites, and antibiotic resistance and pathogenicity markers, CosmosID provides ultra fast identification of pathogens and commensal flora to sub species or strain level, comprehensive profiles of microbial community resistance and virulence, and highly sensitive relative abundance predictions for all microorganisms in a sample.
Unique to the CosmosID system and currently not offered by any other metagenomic analysis tool is a statistical probability value for identifications made for every sample. Other features of the CosmosID system include functional analysis and virtual panels that allow clients to tabulate microorganisms and specific genes linked to hospital infections and foodborne outbreaks. CosmosID's platform analyzes data produced from commercially available sequencers, including Illumina, Thermo Fisher, Pacific Biosciences, and Oxford Nanopore platforms.
Unlike traditional taxonomic methods for microbial classification, CosmosID employs proprietary phylogenetic identification, which captures strain relationships at the DNA level, in addition to accurate identification to species and/or strain. "Historically, microbial taxonomy was constructed from phenotype and, as a classification system, proved cumbersome and time consuming," says founder and Chairman, Rita Colwell. "I established CosmosID to provide rapid, accurate, and reliable microbial identification and classification based on genome sequencing."