2021 Year to Date Update
So far 2021 has been a busy and exciting time for Medical Excellence Capital with many new team members and portfolio additions. The rapid growth of the firm is a result of our deep medical network connections that allow us to access the latest innovations, expedite and vet our due diligence process, and provide in-depth expert knowledge on the future of healthcare development.
We established our core investment team to launch and execute our mission and vision. Joining John Prufeta, Founder and CEO are four managing partners, Joni Mancini, Brian Halak, Eric Heil, and Kim Kamdar, and one associate, Kevin Emesiani. See their bios here. We value the unique skill set and diverse experience that each person brings to our firm. In addition to establishing our investment team, MEC has successfully completed our first four investments, each highlighting the versatility of our strategy and team.
Lastly, MEC officially launched its Medical Excellence Research Innovation Trust (MERIT), a charitable foundation to support critical early-stage and vital research projects across the MEC network.
Our mission is to advance precision health, and we happily embrace opportunities to collaborate with like-minded individuals.
As our first investment in Medical Excellence Capital Fund I, we are pleased to announce our Seed investment in Rejuvitas, Inc. Rejuvitas provides novel gene therapies for metabolic reprogramming and regenerative medicine, and the company will first target Retinitis Pigmentosa as a disease indication.
Rejuvitas is a newly formed company from the Columbia University’s lab of acclaimed clinical geneticist, Dr. Stephen Tsang. The company is developing genetic and metabolic regenerative medicine therapies that address the underlying common cause of retinal degeneration, which would allow one product for all patients rather than new technologies for each mutation type of Retinitis Pigmentosa.
We are pleased to work with Dr. Tsang to continue building on the company’s early success. Investment syndicate partners include Alexandria Venture Investments and individuals. Eric Heil and John Prufeta have joined the board of directors.
MEC led a Series A2 investment in Nobias Therapeutics, an AI (artificial intelligence) / ML (machine learning) platform for drug discovery and development. Nobias is a genetics spinout from the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) focused on utilizing deep analysis of genotypes and clinical records to develop new therapies.
The company was founded in 2020 by MEC Partner, Brian Halak, and Dr. Hakon Hakonarson. Dr. Hakonarson is the Founding Director of the Center for Applied Genomics and Endowed Chair in Genomics Research at CHOP and Professor of Pediatrics at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. We believe Nobias will emerge as a world leader in combining a unique suite of AI (Artificial Intelligence) and traditional pharma tools to deliver life-changing therapeutics for patients. The Nobias platform will leverage advanced machine learning techniques, proprietary data banks, institutional relationships, streamlined lab systems, and robotic automation. In July 2021, the company hired Neil Inala as CEO. Prior to Nobias, Neil was a product management executive at Verily/Google Life Sciences.
We look forward to continuing the partnership with Dr. Hakonarson and his team as they develop novel therapies. Investment syndicate partners include Domain Associates and Ben Franklin Technology Partners. Eric Heil and John Prufeta have joined the board of directors.
We are excited to announce our recent Series B investment in Immunitas Therapeutics. Immunitas provides an end-to-end single-cell analysis platform for immuno-oncology drug discovery. The company’s lead program is a simultaneous NK (Natural Killer) & T-Cell modulator for hematology and solid tumor therapy.
Immunitas’s therapeutic targets are discovered by utilizing a unique single-cell genomics platform to dissect the biology of cells found in human tumors. In its first use case, this system allowed the company to identify proteins that prevent immune cells from properly attacking the tumor. Once identified, Immunitas developed antibodies to block these inhibitory proteins.
We embrace the opportunity to partner with Immunitas’s CEO, Jeffrey Goldberg, and his team as they continue to develop therapies to treat patients with unmet needs with our partner, Brian Halak, on the board of directors. Investment syndicate partners include Agent Capital, Leaps by Bayer, Novartis Venture Fund, Evotec, M Ventures, Alexandria Venture Investments, and other institutional investors.
ProJenX is a MEC company creation effort focused on the treatment of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) and other neurodegenerative diseases. More to come on this one soon!
In closing, we look forward to connecting and furthering our relationships with scientific researchers, entrepreneurs, investors, experts in the industry, and operators committed to advancing precision health.