Proceeds to fund clinical trials and scale up in the U.S. market. New investment underscores the company’s promise to transform precision medicine and mental health.
Genetika+, bringing the first personalized medicine platform for optimizing psychiatric and neurologic patient treatment, announced today that it has closed a $10 million Series A funding round led by GreyBird Ventures, a Boston-based VC focused on precision medicine. Also participating in the round are Meron Capital, Jumpspeed Ventures, Sapir Venture Partners, Howard Morgan Chairman of B Capital Group and Michael Zeisser of FMZ Ventures and former Chairman, Investments at Alibaba Group.
Genetika+’s lead solution personalizes antidepressant treatment for each patient. The company’s novel Brain-in-a-Dish technology allows for a first-of-its-kind in vitro screen, in which a simple blood draw is used to predict the best antidepressant or combination therapy for that patient. This approach eliminates months or years of trial-and-error prescribing for depression patients, often accompanied by debilitating side effects. This solution for depression is just the beginning for Genetika+, which will apply its platform to develop personalized solutions for conditions across the psychiatric and neurological space.
The funding will accelerate the company’s next phase, including expanded clinical trials, increased manufacturing capabilities, and establishment of a clinical lab in Boston, Massachusetts. The company is accelerating growth through increased hiring for multiple positions over the next 12 months in Boston and Israel to support research and business development activities across the U.S. market.
“Millions of patients around the world face an arduous journey to find the most effective medication to treat their depression,” said Talia Cohen Solal, Ph.D., co-founder and CEO of Genetika+. “Sadly, COVID-19 has led to even more widespread depression and a greater need for new solutions. We’re excited to secure this funding, which will enable the first biologically relevant measures to inform potentially life-changing medication selection decisions.”
Depression affects daily functioning and quality of life for more than 300 million people worldwide, making it a leading cause of disability globally (1). Beyond the human cost, in the United States alone, the economic impact of depression was more than $326 billion annually in 2018 (2). During the COVID-19 pandemic, depression rates have risen threefold, with the largest increase in young adults (3). While a large number of anti-depressants are available, there is currently no objective way for physicians to choose among these drugs based on a patient’s specific brain biology. Initially prescribed treatments are only successful about one-third of the time (4).
Scott Gazelle, GreyBird Ventures co-founder said “GreyBird Ventures seeks to invest in companies that can solve the most challenging problems in medical diagnostics and make a difference in the lives of patients and their families. Selecting the right drug for patients suffering from depression is at the top of that list. Genetika+ is well positioned to solve this challenging problem and improve the lives of millions of patients worldwide.”
Genetika+, founded in 2018 by Talia Cohen-Solal, Ph.D., and Daphna Laifenfeld, Ph.D., is developing personalized medicine solutions to optimize treatment for psychiatric and neurological diseases. The company’s Brain-in-a-Dish technology helps physicians find the best treatment for their patients. In its first indication, depression, Genetika+ uses patented technology to rapidly test more than 70 approved antidepressants and drug combinations against an individual patient’s unique neurological biomarkers. Combined with patients’ genetic and medical history, Genetika+ can predict the optimal drug or combination therapy for each patient. This opens the door to faster treatment, fewer side effects, and lower dosing, and the elimination of arduous trial-and-error treatment protocols and needless loss of life. To learn more, follow us on LinkedIn or on Twitter @Genetikaplus.
1. WHO Depression Fact Sheet. 2020. https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/depression
2. Greenberg, P.E. et al. The Economic Burden of Adults with Major Depressive Disorder in the United States (2010 and 2018). PharmacoEconomics 39, 653–665 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s40273-021-01019-4
3. Vahratian A, et al. Symptoms of Anxiety or Depressive Disorder and Use of Mental Health Care Among Adults During the COVID-19 Pandemic — United States, August 2020–February 2021. MMWR 2021;70:490–494. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.15585/mmwr.mm7013e2
4. Trivedi MH, et al. Evaluation of outcomes with citalopram for depression using measurement-based care in STAR*D: implications for clinical practice. Am J Psychiatry 2006; 163:28–40