MBVF Portfolio Company Genomenon Closes Successful Oversubscribed Funding Round
Genomenon, a genomic health IT company that connects patient DNA with the world’s most comprehensive database of genomic research (think ‘the Google of DNA variants’) to help doctors diagnose and treat cancer patients and babies with rare diseases, recently closed an oversubscribed round of funding.
The Mastermind Genomic LandscapesTM software Genomenon created can assist pharmaceutical and bio-pharma companies with precision medicine development. Putting this information in the hands of clinicians and researchers, Genomenon has sped up rare disease diagnosis and potential drug development.
A rare feat in the current financial climate, it is encouraging to see how investors have noticed a company creating something that will help medical workers continue to make advancements that could save lives.
Dr. Mark J. Kiel, a former post-doctoral researcher at the University of Michigan and co-founder of Genomenon, struggled at first on how to make the transition from lab research to a commercial marketplace. However, the University of Michigan’s Office of Research’s Office of Tech Transfer was able to provide resources to help Kiel and his team become successful.
“We have a mentor-in-residence program at OTT supported by the Michigan Economic Development Corporation and were able to pair Mark with Mike Klein,” said Michael Psarouthakis, Director at U-M’s OTT Venture Center.
Mike Klein has more than 25 years of developing, building, and growing high tech companies. He started off as simply a mentor for the team, a great fit since he understood the technology and jargon, and was eventually asked to join as CEO in 2016, shortly after the launch of the company.
“One of the first investments the Michigan Biomedical Venture Fund made was in Genomenon,” said Mike. “The financing has been very clear on what we were getting and they’ve since followed up with another round in 2018.”
“The fund’s goal is to act as a catalyst for future funding rounds and help provide funds to build and grow,” said Hirak Parikh, MBVF Fund Manager. “We are excited to see that Genonmenon has been a shining example that this approach works.”
Mike added that more than just the financial investment that the MBVF team has contributed, the connections the fund is willing to make for them, introducing them to potential customers and other businesses, as well as connections in their investor network has been greatly beneficial.
In return, the company has also worked with a few ELP students as summer interns on different projects maintaining a close connection to the University many years post-funding. “We are working hard to see more students involved with local companies doing great things in our backyard”, said Hirak Parikh.
Michael at OTT said that they have also continued to help engage with their network to assist Genomenon even in this most recent round of funding. Primarily, OTT included them in their Pipeline report which is sent quarterly to over 450 investors across the country. In previous years, OTT has also hosted Genomenon in San Francisco for the annual J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference.
“We just tried to get them in front of people who would be interested in the work they were doing and might be able to help,” said Michael.
“Our financing round started, then COVID hit, and as a company we just powered through it,” said Mike. “Despite COVID, which is a testament to the company and its strength, we’ve actually continued to grow.”
Gaining more interest in their round than expected, Mike says that the funds they raised will make sure the company is secure and that they have the finances needed to make it through COVID pandemic and recession. He also sees this round as an excellent vehicle of growth through 2021.
“Because of what Genomenon is doing, billions of dollars in genomic research done every year is now available to 8,000 users in 300 genetic labs in 118 countries because they are using our software to help patients,” said Mike. “This round of funding will help those numbers continue to grow.”