Glympse Bio raises $22M for disease-detecting sensors
Glympse Bio raises $22M for disease-detecting sensors

Sensor-driven disease detection company Glympse Bio has raised $22 million in a Series A round to fund clinical trials for its technology.

The Cambridge, Mass.-based company uses bioengineered activity sensors transported to the site of disease in patients to investigate biological targets such as proteases – a class of enzymes that drive critical disease pathways. Once a disease is located, the sensor emits a signal that can be detected noninvasively from the recipient’s urine, according to the company.

A spinout from Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Glympse Bio is applying machine learning algorithms to develop a proprietary, whole-genome database of enzymes and sensors capable of targeting all clinically-relevant proteases. Its technology platform can be extended to multifunctional enzymes including kinases, glycases, and lipases that may indicate the presence of fibrosis, cancer, immunological and infectious diseases.

Glympse Bio’s can be administered in a minimally invasive manner and the analytical read-out can be selected based on the disease characteristics or market needs for the test, according to the company’s website. Its lead indication targets non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), which causes fibrosis and scarring of the liver and is believed to afflict more than 100 million people worldwide, including over 15 million in the United States alone. The company said it has signed multiple collaborations in NASH with pharmaceutical companies.

The financing round was co-led by venture capital firms LS Polaris Innovation Fund and ARCH Ventures. New investors Charles River Ventures, Gilead Sciences, Yonghua Capital, and Inevitable Ventures contributed to the round,  joined by existing investors GreatPoint Ventures, Heritage Provider Network and Rivas Capital. This financing follows an initial $6.6 million seed round in 2015 led by Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw at Biocon India Ltd. and Theresia Gouw at Aspect Ventures.

Polaris’ Amy Schulman, diagnostics industry veteran Stan Lapidus, and seven-time Forbes’ Midas List recipient Theresia Gouw will join Glympse’s board of directors, the company added.

“Glympse has brought together world-class science and people to achieve a fundamental breakthrough for in vivo sensing and monitoring of diseases involved in fibrosis, immune response, infectious diseases, and a broad range of cancers,” Schulman said in a prepared statement. “We were impressed by the company’s commitment to a therapeutic model which will be well aligned with the interests of payors, physicians, and most of all, patients.”