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Alida Biosciences Raises $7.5 Million Series A

BIOTECH: Startup to Grow Team After Launching Innovative Products

SAN DIEGO – Alida Biosciences has raised a $7.5 million Series A funding round and has launched two game changing products.

Alida Biosciences, based in Sorrento Valley, said that the round was led by San Francisco-based Genoa Ventures, FusionX Ventures and Vertical Venture Partners also participated.
It also received a total of $4 million from The National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) in form of two ongoing SBIR grants.

Gudrun Stengel
CEO and Co-Founder
Alida Biosciences

Raising the Series A round was notably harder than seed funding, AlidaBio’s CEO Gudrun Stengel, told the San Diego Business Journal.

“To successfully close this new round of venture funding, we pitched to more than 70 venture firms across and prioritized “company-investor fit,” said Gudrun Stengel, Chief Execuitive Officer of AlidaBio.

“Securing Alida Bio’s Series A funding was a significant milestone, especially given the challenging macroeconomic environment we navigated. Back in 2021, startups could raise Series A based on technical proof of concept data without a clear commercialization path, especially for serial entrepreneurs. Since then, rising interest rates, reduced COVID testing revenue, inflation, and falling biotech stocks have eroded investor confidence in genomics tools.”

Launched Two New Products

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Over the last four years, the startup invested heavily in research and development, honed its core technology, which eventually pave the way for the 18-person startup to secure additional financing, said Stengel.

Specifically, the company is focused on improving RNA analysis tools that enable new medical treatments and diagnostic assays.

Alida Bio’s technology, called EpiPlex, helps streamlines RNA modification analysis making it accessible and practical even with limited RNA inputs from clinical samples, according to Stengel.

In conjunction with the funding news, the company has launched two early-access products, the EpiPlex RNA library prep kit and EpiScout analysis software, designed for the multiplexed epitranscriptomic analysis of input-limited RNA research samples.

“In the burgeoning field of multiomics, epitranscriptomics stands at the forefront as a game-changer,” said Stengel.

“We’re pioneering this frontier with groundbreaking technologies that decode RNA modifications like never before. This innovative approach unravels the complexity of gene regulation and cellular responses, promising to redefine personalized medicine and disease management.”

Competitive Advantage

Alida’s EpiPlex technology has the potential to detect and quantify 6-methyladenosine (m6A), 5-methylcytidine (m5C), pseudouridine, and inosine modifications in long-coding or noncoding RNA molecules.

The Series A raise will facilitate faster and enhanced product development, as well as a focused effort to bring the EpiPlex kit into customers’ hands. The current EpiPlex kit is a multiplexed kit for m6A and Inosine detection.

Daniel Kuppers
Staff Scientist
Fred Hutchinson
Cancer Research Center

“The AlidaBio EpiPlex Library Prep Kit proved to have several advantages over alternative methods,” said Daniel Kuppers of Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, who is one of Alida’s first customers.

“We observed ease-of-use going from input RNA to sequence-ready libraries all in one kit, time savings and usability for situations with limited amounts of RNA, and lower background than other methods. The inclusion of bioinformatics analysis with EpiScout is also a plus, as high-quality calls are challenges with other methods.”

Strong Ties to San Diego

Founded in 2020, the company is led by ex-Element Biosciences director, Gudrun Stengel previously worked at some of the biggest DNA tech companies in the world including Illumina (Nasdaq: ILMN) and San Diego-based biotech Encodia.

Byron Purse, the other co-founder, works as chemistry professor at San Diego State University and has played a critical role in helping the startup secure NIH funding.

The full team at Alida Biosciences is currently less than 20 full-time staffers, and Stengel says as part of the new funding will be used to hire up to 10 new staffers.

It plans to make key hires in commercial strategy, business development, among other areas.

“San Diego is quite simply the epicenter of biotechnology innovation, combining top-tier talent and potential for synergistic corporate collaborations that’s unmatched,” said Stengel.

“The network of savvy venture capital firms, incubators, and accelerators here understand biotech’s unique challenges, offering strategic support that fuels our growth. San Diego isn’t just a location; it’s a launchpad where the best minds meet the best resources to create the future of biotech.”

Alida Biosciences
FOUNDED: 2020
CEO: Gudrun Stengel
HEADQUARTERS: Sorrento Valley
BUSINESS: Developing the next generation of RNA analysis tools.
EMPLOYEES: 18
WEBSITE: https://alidabio.com
NOTABLE: CEO formerly worked at Element Biosciences, Illumina, and Encodia which are some of San Diego’s most successful companies in life science.

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