EUGENE, Ore.—NemaMetrix Inc., an Oregon-based company that provides phenotyping and functional analysis using C. elegans nematodes, announced today that it has closed a $5 million funding round to expand its Precisome platform. The Precisome platform is a tool for in vivo testing for early drug discovery, agribio, and precision medicine. The platform provides rapid phenotypic analysis and functional assessment of humanized model organisms.
The funding, led by Oregon Venture Fund, will accelerate NemaMetrix’s capacity to help researchers shorten their project timelines for testing disease models. Along with the formal closure of the funding round, NemaMetrix also announced that Dr. Stephen Turner, formerly of Pacific Biosciences, has joined NemaMetrix as a Senior Research Fellow to help spearhead the company’s expansion.
Turner is founder and was chief technical officer at Pacific Biosciences, which was acquired last November by Illumina. In the late 1990s, he co-invented the single-molecule DNA sequencing technology now employed by Pacific Biosciences, and soon after was awarded a Ph.D. in Physics by Cornell University. He is the author of over 50 scientific papers, contributing to fields ranging from DNA sequencing technology and biophysics, to genomics and epigenomics.
Early success of Precisome has been demonstrated in modeling children’s epilepsy, with preliminary findings published at the American Society of Human Genetics 2018. Turner will work closely with NemaMetrix’s chief scientific officer, Dr. Hopkins, to expand the company’s offerings for drug discovery, agribio, and precision medicine.
“With the advent of clinical-grade sequencing, the frontier in genomic-based medicine moves from the production of data to its interpretation. Nemametrix’s Precisome represents the most advanced play I have seen towards in vivo analysis of function for unknown variants,” noted Turner.
Identifying promising drug hits or other chemical or therapeutic interventions can be a challenging and time-consuming process in a range of fields, as many promising hypotheses fail at the later stages of development. The $5 million funding secured by NemaMetrix for its Precisome platform will be used to develop data packages for in vivo validation, allowing researchers to conduct comprehensive proof of concept studies on the versatile C. elegans model organism before proceeding to more complex and costly model systems. This will allow for investigation of the influence of genetic variants, drugs, compounds or toxins on disease pathology.
“It is an exciting time to be working at NemaMetrix,” said Matt Beaudet, CEO of NemaMetrix. “The funding we have secured will help us to improve our Precisome platform for a range of disease-modeling applications, helping researchers more efficiently uncover valuable insights into disease mechanisms. Translating these findings from the lab to the clinic, we look forward to working with Dr. Turner, who will use his extensive industry knowledge to build our partnerships with research organizations, scientists and clinicians.”