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Tuesday, Apr 23, 2024

Building the Next Big Idea

Encodia, a biotech company developing next-generation solutions for proteomics research, has raised a $75 million Series C funding round. 

The financing was led by Northpond Ventures and Deerfield Management. Other investors participating in the round include GV, ARCH Venture Partners, Biomatics Capital, Decheng Capital, Tao Capital Partners, and Nan Fung Life Sciences. 

The investment will accelerate productization of Encodia’s patented ProteoCodeTM platform for broad use in life science research and subsequent clinical applications. In total, the company has raised $109 million in venture capital from investors.

Encodia has been operating in stealth mode since its inception in 2015. Over the last five years, it has been primarily focused on developing new technologies for creating scalable and parallelized approaches to protein analysis.

Focused on Proteomics

Encodia wants to democratize proteomics to make it much easier for researchers to do proteomics experiments.

In particular, Encodia is developing tools for large-scale protein analysis to enable breakthrough insights into biology and the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of disease.

“Our aim is to enable breakthrough proteomics research, which is not practical or cost-effective using current technologies,” said Mark Chee, CEO and co-founder at Encodia. “Encodia has been focused since its founding on delivering a truly pioneering approach to proteomics.”

Its patented ProteoCode technology enables highly scalable protein analysis via an accessible and easy-to-use benchtop instrument.

Encodia’s claims tools employing its technology will drive new biological understanding with impact in data-driven drug discovery and development, as well as new high complexity diagnostics.

For the moment, Chee is not sharing additional details about exactly how the company plans to do that — typical among early stage startups. But he says Encodia wants to be to the proteomics field like Illumina was to genomics.

“Our aim is to deliver a system that enables researchers to probe the immense complexity of the proteome routinely and at a scale that was previously unattainable. The goal is to help researchers realize a more integrated view of biology, and thus accelerate progress in biomedical research,” he added.

Ex-Illumina Founders Rejoin Forces

The founding team includes Mark Chee Encodia’s CEO, Kevin Gunderson its CTO and Michael Weiner who serves as a board member. The executive team brings more than two decades of experience inventing, developing, and commercializing transformative platform technologies and assays.

Chee is the former co-founder of Illumina, which has scaled to become San Diego’s largest biotech employer with more than 7,800 staffers globally. Chee has published scientific papers on microarray technology and applications and is an inventor on over 70 issued patents. 

Co-founder, vice president, and CTO of Encodia Gunderson is formerly senior director of advanced research at Illumina, where he spent the better part of two decades overseeing R&D scientists and projects aimed at developing both DNA array and NGS assays and technologies.

Reputable investors are backing the San Diego company because of its mission, deep experience, and proven track record.

Among the investors was Northpond Ventures, a firm that specializes in global science, medical, and technology with offices in Bethesda, Cambridge, and San Francisco.

Sharon Kedar, partner and co-founder at Northpond Ventures, points to Encodia’s bold mission and Chee’s ability to assemble a talented team as factors that impressed the firm.

“Encodia’s work will usher in a new era of omics analysis, fostering innovation that will advance biomedical research and benefit human health,” said Sharon Kedar, co-founder and partner at Northpond Ventures. “We are proud to join visionary innovators like Mark, Kevin, and the Encodia team in their work to bring this breakthrough technology to market.”

In conjunction with the financing, both Sharon Kedar of Northpond and Andrew ElBardissi of Deerfield Management are joining Encodia’s board of directors.

Scaling Team

Encodia employs about 45 people at its Sorrento Valley headquarters. Encodia plans to double that number, growing its headcount to around 80 by the end of this year.

“People have been working in Proteomics in the commercial sector for a long time and the momentum has been building,” said Chee. “Proteomics will advance in a very big way and have a much bigger part to play in the biomedical research ecosystem in the next 10 years plus.”

“We’re building a 21st century company that has a lot of room to run. It’s a long game here but we think we can make an impact in a big way if successful,” he added.

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