Sano Genetics, a startup with a broad mission to support personalized medicine research by increasing participation in clinical trials, has raised £ 2.5million in seed funding.
The tour is led by Episode1 Ventures, alongside Seedcamp, Cambridge Enterprise, January Ventures and several angel investors based in Europe and the United States. It comes on top of £ 500,000 of pre-start funding in 2018.
Sano Genetics says part of the new capital will be to fund free home DNA test kits for 3,000 people affected by Long Covid. It will also invest more in the development of its technology platform and expand the team.
Founded in 2017 by Charlotte Guzzo, Patrick Short, and William Jones after meeting at Cambridge University while studying genomics at the postgraduate level, Sano Genetics has built what it describes as a ‘private by design ‘to help patients participate in medical research and clinical trials. This includes home genetic testing capabilities and sees the company supporting research in multiple sclerosis, ankylosing spondylitis, NAFLD, and ulcerative colitis2, with a Parkinson’s research program on the agenda for later in 2021.
“For participants in medical research, the process is not user-friendly,” says Patrick Short, CEO of Sano Genetics. “There are usually little or no benefits to participants beyond altruism, participation is difficult and time consuming, and people are also concerned about the privacy of their sensitive genetic and medical information.
“[Therefore], for researchers in biotechnology, pharmacy and academia, it is very difficult to attract and retain research participants, which adds substantial cost and time to their research. Especially for research involving genetics and precision therapies, it is doubly difficult to find the ‘right’ patients because genetic testing is not routine in the healthcare system.
To help address this issue, Sano Genetics is engaging relevant research participants through its platform. It then facilitates participation by enabling home genetic testing and guiding participants through the process.
“The system is designed so that users know exactly what will happen to their data, and we give them easy ways to control their data,” explains Short. “We keep our users engaged and involved in the research process by giving them updates on the research they’ve been involved in, and with free personalized content including genetic reports and stories from other people like them on our blog. “.
A typical end user is someone with a chronic or rare condition who uses the platform to participate in research that helps them personally (for example, access a new therapy through a clinical trial) or to help others. like them.
Meanwhile, Sano Genetics generates revenue by charging fees to biotech and pharmaceutical companies to find the right patients for their studies. “The typical study for us consists of a setup fee, a fee per test for our home genetic testing and analysis, and a fee for each referral we make of an interested and eligible participant in their research study.” , adds the CEO of Sano Genetics.