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We are delighted to announce that Cambridge Enterprise and the Parkwalk Opportunities Fund and have completed an investment in PredictImmune Limited, a spin-out company from the University of Cambridge.

PredictImmune is developing prognostic tests for immune-mediated conditions to aid in their management and improve patient outcomes. Their first offering, PredictImmune-CD, will be in the field of the inflammatory bowel disease.

Predictimmune’s principals see the need for prognostic tests in immune-mediated diseases, such as Crohn’s disease, because patient outcomes vary widely, from aggressive, relapsing disease to quiescent disease, and because there are currently no methods to predict which course patients’ illness will take.

To address this unmet need, the Predictimmune-CD test has been developed in the Department of Medicine at the University of Cambridge. It is a simple whole blood test based on sound biological principles that stratifies patients with Crohn’s disease into aggressive or quiescent groups. The test has been validated in multiple, independent patient cohorts. The discovery and development of the test was partly funded by The Wellcome Trust which has agreed to further fund a multi-centre, clinical study to confirm the benefit of the test in guiding the management of Crohn’s disease.

The PredictImmune-CD test measures the expression levels of a disease related gene panel which, when analysed using proprietary software, stratifies patients, at the point of diagnosis, into the aggressive and quiescent disease types. Each disease type has a preferred treatment paradigm. Predictimmune’s prognostic test will ensure that patients receive the most appropriate course of treatment, avoiding excessive side effects from over-treating the quiescent group and excessive morbidity from under-treating the aggressive group. The benefits to the health provider are better patient outcomes, with lower side effects, plus a lower overall cost. The product will be available both as a laboratory testing service and as a kit.

The company has licensed three patent families from Cambridge Enterprise. The technology is further protected by a proprietary algorithm and a large bank of clinical data required for development of the test.

The incidence of IBD is 1 in 300 people in the developed world and its incidence is rising fast in developing countries. In the UK alone there are about 620,000 sufferers with the cost to the NHS in excess of £1bn annually. This cost is heavily skewed towards relapsing patients and given the low mortality rates and a median age at diagnosis under 30 this represents a long-term cost burden to society.

Predictimmune will develop similar predictive tests for other significant diseases, which fall into the same immune-mediated category, including lupus, multiple sclerosis, diabetes mellitus, rheumatoid arthritis and transplantation complications. These all pose long-term burdens on patients and on society and represent significant market potential for better prognosis technology.

The Team

Dr Tito Bacarese-Hamilton, CEO and Founder, has a proven track record transforming innovative technology into revenue generating platforms spanning start-ups to blue-chip multinationals. He was Head of Development at J&J’s Diabetes Care franchise where he was responsible for the launch of test platforms generating > $2BB per annum. He was also CTO of EKF Diagnostics Holdings plc and CEO/co-Founder of Microtest Matrices, and has held senior management positions at Ares-Serono and Amersham International. He is a Fellow of the American National Association of Clinical Biochemistry and has published more than 50 peer-reviewed articles.

Prof Kenneth Smith, CMO and Founder, is Professor of Medicine and Head of the Department of Medicine at the University of Cambridge. Professor Smith is a member of the Scientific Advisory Boards of Medimmune, UCB Celltech and Kymab. He established the Cambridge Immunology Strategic Network, directs the FoCIS Cambridge International Centre of Excellence and led a recent successful bid for funding to build the Cambridge Institute for Therapeutic Immunology and Infectious Disease, due to open in 2018.

Dr Eoin McKinney, CSO and Founder, is a Wellcome-Beit intermediate research fellow in the Department of Medicine at the University of Cambridge and an honorary consultant in nephrology and transplantation in Cambridge University NHS hospitals Foundation Trust.

Dr Paul Lyons, VP Platform Delivery and Founder, is a Principal Research Associate at the Department of Medicine, Cambridge University. He has over 25 years of experience in molecular and cellular biology including senior scientist positions in the Department of Medical Genetics, University of Cambridge, Department of Surgery, University of Oxford and the MRC Rosalind Franklin Centre for Genomics Research.

PredictImmune has carried out considerable market research into the medical need for the tests and the health economic benefits that they will deliver. They have also performed two clinical studies that have validated the test. Patents have been filed in all major territories including the EU and US. The plan is to start generating revenues with the PredictImmune-CD test by year end 2017.