MetaMedical™ Solutions Inc

Alithea secures $3.2m to scale RNA sequencing product manufacturing

Switzerland-based startup Alithia Genomics has raised SFrF2.8m ($3.2m) in seed funding to scale up the manufacturing capacity of its ribonucleic acid (RNA) sequencing products, and to set up a subsidiary in the US.

The seed financiers included new investors, US-based TechU Ventures, along with existing investors Belgium-based Novalis Biotech. The École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) university spinout was founded in 2020 and manufactures RNA sequencing solutions such as BRB-seq and DRUG-seq.

Alithia’s solutions decrease the time required to prepare a sample for RNA sequencing. RNA sequencing can be used to study gene expressions of cells and is used in cancer research, including biomarker discovery, drug resistance, cancer immune microenvironment and immunotherapy.

Cancer immunotherapies is a rapidly growing field, with immune-oncology therapies such as checkpoint modulators expected to generate $66.8bn in global sales by 2026, according to a GlobalData report. Cancer biomarker research has also made strides in recent years, with companies such as ArteraAI developing a prostate cancer biomarker, which can help personalise the treatment in patients with prostate cancers.

With the growing area of research, the demand for RNA sequencing solutions has also been increasing. Multiple companies are developing solutions for RNA sequencing, with a majority focusing on analysing these RNA sequences.

In December 2023, Atomic AI launched a large language model (LLM) based solution, ATOM-1, which leverages chemical mapping data to predict the structure and function of RNA. The tool optimises key characteristics of RNA modalities such as stability, toxicity, and translational efficiency.

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In September 2023, the University of California, Santa Cruz lab developed an RNA liquid biopsy platform, which identifies both protein-coding RNA and RNA dark matter in the blood. The approach can enhance the performance of liquid biopsy for cancer diagnosis.

In April 2023, Agilent Technologies launched a CGP assay, Agilent SureSelect Cancer CGP, to profile somatic variants and immune-oncology markers. The panel was designed to help profile a wider range of tumour samples by improving workflow efficiency and reducing hands-on time from hours to 15 minutes.

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