Amgen and MSD-backed start-up wins $10m for drug and device development

Culmination Bio has a library of electronic health records and biospecimen data that help in drug and diagnostic device development.

Phalguni Deswal November 30 2023

Culmination Bio has secured $10m in investment from the Merck Global Health Innovation Fund (venture capital arm of MSD) and Amgen Ventures to develop an intelligence platform to facilitate diagnostic and therapeutic development.

The US-based company has a library of multimodal and longitudinal data along with the accompanying biospecimens, Culmination Bio’s CEO Lincoln Nadauld told Medical Device Network. The data for Culmination’s library consists of de-identified HIPPA-compliant data from Intermountain Health. This allows the company to “identify specific patient cohorts and proactively or prospective rapidly recruit them”, which can accelerate drug discovery and clinical trial recruitment.

Nadauld said that having biospecimens is instrumental in validating diagnostic devices, adding: “An example would be a liquid biopsy company validating their novel technology in the liquid biopsy space, for cancer. They often need fresh samples from patients with defined diseases, and we can deliver not only the biospecimens but the accompanying multimodal data that really informs on the performance of those diagnostics.

"So, this enables diagnostic development companies, to not only validate their technology but also to identify new targets against which they can develop new diagnostic tests. On top of our existing longitudinal patient data, we are adding over 300,000 biospecimens to our data lake each year.”

There are approximately 1,490 active clinical trials for in vitro diagnostics (IVD) devices, and 569 of these are focused on oncology diagnostic devices, as per GlobalData analysis. The increased prevalence of point-of-care devices (POCT) has further fuelled the growth of the diagnostic device market. 

Nadauld stated that Culmination is differentiated from others in the field as it offers comprehensive and longitudinal data that goes back 20-30 years and includes all of the patient's journey, not just oncology or cardiovascular data. Additionally, the company can provide data for a multitude of indications, including oncology, cardiovascular and rare diseases. Nadauld also highlighted that Culmination’s data is representative of the general US population and has “sufficient diversity”. 

Multiple companies have invested in new technologies such as machine learning and artificial intelligence to assist in data analysis to discover and develop new drugs. In July, NVIDIA partnered with Recursion Pharmaceuticals to create AI-assisted drug discovery models.

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