Khosla Ventures backs Scipher Medicine to bring precision medicine to autoimmune diseases

WALTHAM, Mass., Sept. 6, 2018 /PRNewswire/ — Scipher Medicine, developer of a molecular technology platform that can predict if a patient will actually respond to a particular drug therapy announced today that it has completed its Series A round led by Khosla Ventures. With this investment, total funds raised by the company to date are $10 million.

Over 65% of patients prescribed the world’s top 5 selling drugs don’t respond to therapy. This lack of response to blockbuster drugs coupled with annual price increases are two of the largest contributors to escalating health care costs resulting in billions of dollars in wasted prescriptions and poorer health outcomes for patients.

In complex diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, ulcerative colitis and multiple sclerosis, a majority of patients cycle through several drugs for months or years without experiencing improvements. These patients are exposed to dangerous side effects and in many cases, their disease is irreversibly worsened. Physicians often have no option but to prescribe drugs based on insurance and formulary considerations rather than based on which drug will best target and treat a patient’s unique disease biology. Scipher Medicine’s platform addresses this challenge by ensuring patients are only prescribed therapies that will be effective for their particular disease, while identifying new drug targets for patients who will not respond to existing therapies in the market.

Scipher Medicine co-founders Dr. Joseph Loscalzo and Dr. Albert-Laszlo Barabasi have spent more than 10 years building and interpreting the map of human biology that explains how proteins expressed from the human genome interact to cause specific disease phenotypes. Scipher Medicine’s groundbreaking platform interprets RNA or protein expression data from a patient’s blood or tissue sample to reveal the underlying molecular process regulating the disease, generating a patient specific disease signature. Drugs are then screened to determine which therapy actually targets the disease signature in order to accurately predict patient response. The platform addresses both diagnostic and therapeutic opportunities by predicting drug response and identifying opportunities for new drug development.

“The lack of drug response is a massive burden on patients and the healthcare industry,” says Samir Kaul, founding General Partner at Khosla Ventures. “We’re proud to partner with Scipher Medicine to take this challenge head-on and change the status quo for how we prescribe drugs and treat patients.”

Added Scipher Medicine CEO Alif Saleh: “With the completion of this financing round, we are accelerating product development and plan to announce our first product before the end of the year. Our partnership with Khosla Ventures will be instrumental in ensuring that our technology and platform is commercialized to the benefit of patients, providers and payers.”

Covington Associates LLC acted as financial advisor to Scipher Medicine in its Series A financing.