Discovering Biotech Startups: A map for Selling to CiberMed Inc.


Written by:
David Wilkerson

Welcome to the next edition of the Sponsor Atlas series, which focuses on young pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies that are in early stages or stealth mode. In the next edition of Sponsor Atlas: Discovering Biotech Startups, we’re looking at CiberMed, exploring the current affairs and future orientation of this emerging Palo Alto - based stealth biotech startup. To accomplish this, we will give a business overview of their current operations, summarize their outsourcing needs, map out their development goals and decision-makers, and highlight their current strategies for capturing innovation. If you haven’t already read our other blogs on new biotech startups, be sure to check them out here.   

CiberMed, Inc. is a stealth biotechnology company started by industry veterans and Stanford University professors, and has numerous collaborations with pharmaceutical companies to discover biomarkers. Their research focuses on novel in silico cell sorting to determine cell proportions and gene expression. Located in the Bay Area, this startup is developing the next generation of predictive biomarkers for cancer therapy. The team consists of world-class scientists and clinicians working to revolutionize the way cancer is monitored and treated by leveraging quantified immune cell information to computationally discover biomarkers. 

Business Overview 

CiberMed, Inc. does not currently have any registered trademarks, but they do have a simple website, albeit the web pages provide very little information about their current research and development pipeline. CiberMed’s principal place of business, as noted on their website, is located at 2627 Hanover Street, Palo Alto, CA 94304. This is also the location of StartX-QB3 Labs, a non-profit incubator facility associated with Stanford University. Located in proximity to the Stanford campus and Stanford Medical Center, this QB3 location offers 2,000 square feet of wet lab space that includes access to a host of shared research equipment. StartX is a collection of 1200+ serial entrepreneurs, industry experts, tenured Stanford professors, and 700+ well-funded growth-stage startups who support researchers and empower Bay Area entrepreneurs to launch startup companies and partner with the biotech and technology industries.   

As noted on the business entity search, CiberMed was registered in Delaware as a C-Corp with a filing date on 12/1/2016 and has a registered agent address. CiberMed has an estimated revenue of <$1M and an estimate of <10 employees. It is very difficult to find any business activities about this company, but considering that they are apart of a very successful incubator, and are leveraging a well-known analytical tool within the biomarker discovery field, called CIBERSORT, we believe they are in a good position to outsource some of their downstream research and development work in the near future.      

CiberMed’s Pipeline and R&D Focus 

While CiberMed’s overall business goals and funding activities found online are few and far between, we believe their main focus is for the further development of their research tools for analyzing next generation RNA/DNA sequencing libraries and discovering new biomarkers. The CIBERSORT tool has already been used in a large amount of published research studies, including:

CIBERSORT is an analytical tool developed by Dr. Aaron Newman, a Stanford professor, to provide an estimation of the abundances of member cell types in a mixed cell population, using gene expression data. This tool is a great feature to have for pharmaceutical and biotech research and a versatile framework for tissue characterization, with applications for identifying predictive and prognostic cellular biomarkers, and novel therapeutic targets.     

This tool is an innovative method for characterizing cell composition of complex tissues from their gene expression profiles. When applied to enumeration of hematopoietic subsets in RNA mixtures from fresh, frozen and fixed tissues, including solid tumors, CIBERSORT outperformed other methods with respect to noise, unknown mixture content and closely related cell types. Using this tool should enable large-scale analysis of RNA mixtures for cellular biomarkers and therapeutic targets. [1]    

Even though there isn't much information about CiberMed’s research and development pipeline, some of the ways business teams could initially connect would be from providing support in the following areas: large molecule CMOs, biotech-focused AI and machine learning services, big data analytics companies, preclinical CROs, and bioanalytical service providers with experience in novel in silico cell sorting and biomarker research and development.

Outsourcing History

Online information about CiberMed’s outsourcing needs are few and far between, but having their analytical tools leveraged in recent scientific publications are very good signs they have a lot of experience with biomarker discovery and should be able to outsource further research and development work in the near future. We believe they could use assistance from service providers in almost every step of their analytical tool development pipeline. If your team has experience with compiling RNA/DNA sequencing data, biomarker research and diagnostic assay development, preclinical services targeting immuno-oncology studies, or bioanalysis experience with novel in silico cell sorting technologies, CiberMed should definitely be on your contact list, and you should be connecting with them for upcoming work in the near future. Any experience in these technologies would be of tremendous benefit to CiberMed at this point in time.        

Decision Making

  • Ashok Krishnamurthi - Ashok is a serial entrepreneur and investor focused on enterprise IT, and the intersection of computer science and life sciences. Most recently he founded two medical related companies: CAPP Medical, a liquid biopsy company for cancer diagnosis that he sold to Roche Diagnostics, and CiberMed which focuses on biomarker discovery. Previously he founded Xsigo, a provider of advanced data center connectivity, which he sold to Oracle. Prior to Xsigo, Ashok was one of the early leaders of Juniper Networks where he helped develop many of the products that power today’s internet, and which was one of the largest venture investment returns of all time. Ashok has also been an investor in a number of innovative companies like GoEuro, Reflektion, OttoQ, Veradocs, Falcon Systems, Robin Systems, and Scoredata amongst others. He is currently on the board of Scoredata and the non-profit ALCMI. [2

Innovation

With a large network of business contacts, significant progress in scientific benchwork, and deep technical background from their management, we believe that CiberMed will do very well in progressing their early-stage developments. The development of their innovative computational platform for analyzing the molecular behavior of individual cells in tissue samples, will  surely open doors for new discoveries, diagnostics and treatments. Being able to identify not only the types of cells, but also their state or behaviors in particular environments, could lead to dramatic new biological discoveries and provide information that could improve therapies. Single-cell RNA sequencing is emerging as a powerful technology in modern medical research, allowing scientists to examine individual cells and their behavior in diseases like cancer. But the technique, which can’t be applied to the vast majority of preserved tissue samples, is expensive and can’t be done at the scale required to be part of routine clinical treatment. 

In an effort to address these shortcomings, researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine invented a computational technique called CIBERSORTx that can analyze the RNA of individual cells taken from whole-tissue samples or data sets. “We believe this technique has major implications for biomedical discovery and precision medicine,” said Aaron Newman, Ph.D., assistant professor of biomedical data science at Stanford. [3]

We think CiberMed is on track to have some major innovations in the biotech industry, and it’s difficult to say exactly when they will come out of stealth mode, but we’re thinking it should be within the next few years, so be sure to keep them on your schedule and look out for our next edition in this series coming soon!

How can I find new biotech startups?

If you would like a simple solution for keeping an eye on drug sponsor companies, like CiberMed, without relying on a database and generic lists of leads each week, we at Zymewire are here to help. Reach out today, and stay tuned for the next installment of the Sponsor Atlas: Discovering new Biotechs. If you enjoy these articles, please feel free to give them a share through the social links below!

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