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Former Microsoft GM backs $4.1M funding of Oxford startup accelerating drug discovery with AI

iLoF founders
Image credits: iLoF

iLoF, a digital health company from Portugal – headquartered in Oxford in the UK that pioneers an AI platform to accelerate the future of personalised drug discovery and development – has just scored $5 million in a seed funding round.

Stellar list of investors

The investment includes $4.1 million in equity investment led by Faber (which invested in Luminate Medical) alongside US-based M12, Microsoft’s venture fund and Quiet Capital, and EU-based Lunar Ventures, Alter Venture Partners, re.Mind Capital and Fluxunit, the corporate VC arm of ams OSRAM.

Angel investor Charlie Songhurst, former GM at Microsoft, and Berggruen Holdings, the family office of Nicolas Berggruen, a serial investor and philanthropist, also participated in the round.

Also, iLoF secured a $900k grant from ERDF to accelerate and clinically validate its mission of cutting the time and cost of recruiting patients for clinical trials. With this, the company has raised a total funding of over $8 million.

The proceeds of this funding round will be used to accelerate ongoing engagements with leading global corporations in the Pharmaceutical, Biotech, and Clinical space. It aim to fast-track current and future pilots, enabling the further development of the iLoF Platform.

Before 2023, iLoF will be hiring 20 people internationally across physics, data science, biology, and product management profiles.

Sofia Santos, Partner at Faber, added: “iLoF has the potential to positively impact millions of patients around the globe and become an integral part of the $500B global personalised medicine market.”

Priyanka Mitra, investor at M12, Microsoft’s venture fund said, “iLoF’s cloud-based library of optical fingerprints is world-class technology built by an outstanding team that will help us usher in this new era of personalised patient care and healthcare delivery.”

Speaking on its investment in iLoF, Elad Verbin, Partner at Lunar Ventures, commented, “We are incredibly excited to back iLoF’s team of biologists, laser physicists and data scientists as they teach a computer how human blood looks at the nano-scale when affected by cancer or Alzheimer’s. iLoF is a frontrunner in leveraging these new optics and machine learning capabilities, providing an accurate early screening platform that improves the lives of tens of millions.”

Helps tackle chronic diseases

iLoF was founded in 2019 by Luis Valente, a serial entrepreneur and Forbes 30 under 30 for Science and Healthcare; Mehak Mumtaz, an Oxford University fellow and Biochemist PhD turned strategy and personalised medicine expert; and Paula Sampaio, a renowned senior scientist and coordinator of a national bioimaging facility.

Through advanced AI and Photonics, iLoF is collecting massive amounts of data to build a digital library of biomarkers and biological profiles, bringing together world-class physicists, biologists, and data scientists to get life-saving personalised treatments to patients faster.

During the pandemic, iLoF worked with St. John’s Hospital and the Faculty of Medicine in Porto to understand how the platform could help manage the influx of COVID-19 patients and optimise resources. iLoF could accurately distinguish COVID-19 patients based on their likelihood of ICU admission, which will let hospitals to manage critical resources more effectively.

Luis Valente, Co-Founder and CEO of iLoF, said, “For hundreds of years, treatments have been developed with the assumption they will work for everyone. However, each person is different, and for many severe diseases such as Alzheimer’s, multiple factors can contribute to the effectiveness of a treatment on a given patient.

Mehak Mumtaz, Co-Founder and COO of iLoF added, “Our ultimate vision is to go from a next-generation bioinformatics platform to a breakthrough disease screening one. Moving from supporting researchers and scientists to directly helping patients around the world will vastly deepen our understanding of diseases and help physicians detect the world’s more severe and impactful diseases, such as Ovarian Cancer or Alzheimer’s Disease.”

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