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Quris eyeing up to $100M in new funds

Illustration of a tidal wave of money about to overtake a red cross.

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Quris, an AI-powered prediction platform for clinical trials, is prepping to raise as much as $100 million in Series A capital, CEO Isaac Bentwich tells Axios exclusively.

Why it matters: The ambitious round size reflects industry appetite for solutions that make clinical trials simpler and more efficient.

How it works: Using artificial intelligence, Quris' platform is designed to predict what drugs will be safe in humans and for whom.

  • The company's "organ-on-a-chip" technology (a miniaturized human organ) lets researchers test the toxicity and safety of drugs — cutting the time, cost and potential for error in animal and human trials.
  • Quris' customers include large pharmaceutical companies like Merck KGaA, helping optimize clinical trials for existing drugs in development.
  • Quris also works with academic partners and is currently progressing a licensed drug candidate for genetic disorder Fragile X through clinical trials.

By the numbers: Quris expects to book over $10 million in revenue this year, Bentwich says.

  • The company is projecting $100 million in revenue by 2025, based on its current pipeline, he adds.
  • Quris is in "several advanced discussions with the other top 20 pharma companies" and in advanced talks regarding more than 20 drug candidates with various academic institutes, he says.
  • With the Series A funding, Quris hopes to be profitable in the next three years, he says.

The intrigue: Alongside its B2B model, Quris is providing its technology directly to consumers.

  • Bentwich describes a subscription-based service in which patients provide a blood sample and Quris generates miniature organs to test a drug's safety or interaction with other drugs.
  • Physicians and other health care providers are looped in with results and data, Bentwich says
  • "We expect more revenues from the consumer side as early as this year, in 2023, than the other streams," he says.

Be smart: Quris' technology is not yet reimbursed by commercial or government payors, which somewhat disincentivizes mass use.

Context: The clinical trial landscape is long overdue for a shakeup, with the COVID pandemic driving a shift to decentralized trials and increasing demand for technology solutions.

  • Last week, President Biden signed the FDA Modernization Act 2.0 into law, allowing alternatives to animal testing for purposes of drug and biological product applications.
  • The new law, which recognizes the shortcomings of animal-based testing, creates increased demand for solutions to determine drug safety, like Quris, Bentwich says.
  • Additionally, private equity is bullish on pharma services, with more investment expected to flood the sector this year.

What's next: Quris' platform currently vets only the safety of drugs, but the platform is capable of determining efficacy eventually, Bentwich says.

What's happening: Quris expects to launch the round in the second quarter and is in initial talks with prospective Series A investors now.

Yes, but: Bentwich is leery of currently dismal fundraising conditions.

  • "We are fortunate to be backed by strong and very supportive investors, and we're well funded," he says. "We don't need the money immediately."

Catch up fast: Quris just secured an extra $9 million in seed funding, bringing total seed capital raised to $37 million.

  • The seed was led by SoftBank Vision Fund 2, alongside existing private and institutional investors such as GlenRock Capital, iAngels, Welltech Ventures and Richter Group.
  • The seed funding will last Quris two years, Bentwich says.
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