Space biology company Navinci (Olink) closes €9m Series A
Navinci Diagnostics AB, a Swedish life science company formerly known as Olink developing innovative tools for space proteomics research, announces the closing of a SEK 90 million funding. The round was led by Segulah Medical Acceleration, a Scandinavian-based investment firm focused on life sciences, along with existing shareholders including Landegren Gene Technology AB, Nexttobe AB and Beijer Ventures AB.
Navinci is advancing space proteomics by releasing high-performance assay kits, based on proprietary in situ proximity ligation assay technology for the analysis of proteins, their interactions and modifications. The technology offers a deeper understanding of proteins and their states of activity in normal and diseased cells and tissues, both in academic and industrial research. Navinci’s technology provides its tool specifically for detecting immune checkpoints, improving patient stratification, and monitoring treatment effects in pharmaceutical research.
Space biology is a dynamic area of development (see issue 2-2022 for an overview), and while the big lab players are watching the game, single cell analysis leaders like 10x, Acoya, Fluidgm and d others intervene. Innovation is also driven by new startups across Europe. Navinci/Olink addresses and combines two hot sectors: immunooncology and space biology.
Navinci will soon launch the first commercially available assay to accurately detect the interaction between programmed cell death protein 1 (PD1) and PD1 ligand checkpoint (PD-L1) in tissue samples. This is the first step in building a comprehensive portfolio of tests for immuno-oncology research and drug development. Immune checkpoint inhibitors have provided a substantial breakthrough in cancer immunotherapy, and there are over 3000 anti-PD1/PD-L1 therapies currently in clinical trials. The primary technology currently used to determine if a patient is likely to benefit from PD1/PD-L1 immunotherapy is PD-L1 immunohistochemistry. However, this test fails to reveal PD1/PD-L1 interactions and has been shown to correlate poorly with patient response to treatment.
Navinci’s technology has the potential to improve clinical trial results and lead to more effective treatments. Navinci also offers flexible solutions (NaveniTMFlex) that allow scientists to study any protein or protein interaction in tissue or cell samples, with greater precision than conventional immunofluorescence or immunohistochemistry.
With the recent funding, Navinci will accelerate international commercialization and partner with pharmaceutical companies, as well as companies with complementary technologies, to offer complete solutions to its customers. Navinci strives to build the broadest and most useful portfolio of assays for studying protein interaction in immuno-oncology, while also expanding into other areas of research.
“I’m incredibly excited about what we’ve achieved so far, how far Navinci has come and how far we’ve come. I am proud of the confidence in our technology and in our team that is demonstrated by current and new owners. With the inclusion of SMA among the shareholders of Navinci, we gain financial resources to realize our ambitious vision to become a leader in space proteomics. Equally important, we are partnering with one of Scandinavia’s largest investors and gaining access to their excellent life sciences network in Europe and the US,” said Robert Gunnarsson, CEO of Navinci Diagnostics AB.
Navinci/Olink Bioscience has launched several subsidiaries such as Olink Proteomics (Nasdaq-listed, New York), which develops high-throughput protein immunoassays, Q-linea (Nasdaq-listed), which focuses on combating antibiotic resistance in sepsis, and Halogenomics (acquired by Agilent), which focuses on selecting targets for next-generation sequencing.