MeMed, which has developed technology for diagnosing diseases through the response of the immune system, has announced a $93 million financing round. The participants are Horizons Ventures, Shavit Capital, Social Capital, La Maison Partners, Touchwood Capital, Caesara Medical Holdings, Union Tech Ventures, ClaI Insurance, Phoenix Insurance, Poalim Equity and Western Technology Investment. The current round brings total funding in the company to over $200 million, including support from the US Department of Defense and EU Commission.
The company says that the funds will be used to scale up manufacturing, accelerate commercialization, and expand MeMed’s host immune response product portfolio.
MeMed's technology can distinguish between viral and bacterial infections through the immune system's response. The product has recently received US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) clearance, and will be the first to be launched commercially by the company. It will be used to help discern causes of disease in both adults and children. It will make it possible to save giving antibiotics in some cases, and conversely to allow antibiotics to be prescribed more quickly in cases in which they are necessary.
"This new investment will enable MeMed to expand operations with a focus on the US", said MeMed co-founder and CEO Eran Eden.
As reported by "Globes" in February last year, MeMed has also developed a test to predict the risk of deterioration in Copvid-19 patients. Today, this test is more urgently required than ever, with the advent of treatments that can prevent deterioration, if given early enough. The test has been approved for sale in Europe and Israel. The decision whom to give preventative treatment is currently made on the basis of risk factors, but MeMed believes that its ability to read the activity of the immune system in a person who actually ill will facilitate more accurate prediction and prescription of the treatment only for those really in need of it.
The funds raised will enable the company to proceed with development of additional products. Among them is a product for diagnosing the risk of deterioration of various infectious diseases (both bacterial and viral) to a state of severe infection.
In an interview in "Globes" weekend magazine "G", MeMed co-founder Dr. Kfir Oved talked about the company's early days. One of the main trials of its product was actually carried out in Dr. Oved's family. It happened a decade ago, when Dr. Oved's eldest daughter Yarden was eight years old, and was hospitalized with a severe infection of the digestive tract. It was not clear whether the infection was bacterial or viral. "She had an infection, and she didn't look very good," Oved recalled. "It was decided to hospitalize her and start antibiotic treatment, because it there was great fear that it was a certain microbe that causes severe bowel infections. When doctors are unsure whether a condition is viral or bacterial, their instinct is almost always excessive treatment with antibiotics, and that treatment has a price.
"I decided to carry out our test on her, and when it showed that it was a case of viral infection, that enabled us to take her home after two and a half days and let her recover there, without receiving more unnecessary antibiotics. The hospital lab results, which confirmed that it was a case of a virus, came only after a week."
All the company's products are developed on the basis of its MeMed Key technological platform, which can measure levels of rare proteins among many other proteins. "To try to compare it to something which everyone can understand, it's like trying to find ten Skittles on a football field full of M&Ms within fifteen minutes. It becomes possible thanks to the unique technology we have developed," Eden told "Globes" in the past.
MeMed has offices om Haifa and Boston, and employs 100 people, most of them in Israel. It plans to increase its workforce by over 40% in 2022. Sales in the US will be via the company's own sales team, and not via a distributor. So far, more than twenty salespeople have been recruited to the Boston team, among them a VP Marketing. The company is not considering the appointment of a US-based CEO or a CEO of its US activity; the current management will continue to run it from Israel.
Patrick Zhang of Horizons Ventures said, "We strongly believe that MeMed’s strategy of using host-immune response- technologies is a significant advance in the improvement of two major issues in healthcare today: the rise of antimicrobial resistance due to unnecessary prescription of antibiotics, and effectively triaging patients infected with Covid-19. We look forward to playing a role in how MeMed, a category leader in this area, is transforming the way diseases are diagnosed and treated to improve patient healthcare across the globe."
MeMed is advised by Adv. Arnon Samburski and Adv. Mayrav Danor of the law firm of Naschitz Brandes Amir.
Published by Globes, Israel business news - en.globes.co.il - on January 10, 2022.
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