NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – Phenomix Sciences — an early-stage spinout of the Mayo Clinic focused on personalized treatments for chronic diseases — announced today that it is launching a $1 million seed financing round through a crowdfunding platform.
The privately held firm said it intends to use the financing to commercialize a new clinical test for obesity. The diagnostic uses technology developed by the Mayo Clinic to analyze metabolomic and DNA biomarkers to characterize obesity and guide more effective weight loss treatments.
"We intend to raise approximately $1 million in financing through a convertible note to acquire key equipment for our CLIA laboratory and to onboard the very first members of our team," Phenomix Chief Operating Officer Ross Higgins said in a statement. "The seed round will be open to the public through WeFunder, an investment crowdfunding platform. These platforms have historically been more oriented towards consumer-facing product offerings, however, we are seeing more and more clinical and biotechnology startups using them successfully to raise capital."
Phenomix Founder Andres Acosta, an assistant professor at the Mayo Clinic, noted that obesity sub-typing can traditionally involve several days of close monitoring and invasive testing. "Now we have a simple blood test that can identify the obesity sub-type or phenotype with over a 90 percent accuracy," he added. "The information may be useful to guide therapy and improve the response rate of commonly prescribed weight-loss treatments."
According to Minnesota-based Phenomix, several studies using this approach have been published and more are currently being undertaken to bolster the clinical utility and weight loss outcomes data. The firm expects to be able to offer the test to physicians in the second quarter of 2019.