Invoke Capital, the $1 billion technology fund vehicle set up by Autonomy founder Dr Mike Lynch, has revealed its latest investment, in a medical firm that uses data to diagnose genetic diseases.
The fund has led a $13.75 million, Series B investment round in Sophia Genetics investing in Sophia Genetics, which describes itself as a “pioneer in data-driven medicine”. Other investors in the financing include Endeavour Vision and Swisscom.
Sophia Genetics sits in a field that requires deep expertise in Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) and highly accurate and scalable predictive algorithms to diagnose genetic diseases early. It provides a technology that will mean that patients’ DNA and cancer tumour DNA can be sequenced faster and cheaper, so that diseases can be more deeply understood.
It was founded in 2011 by three experts in the field of genetics, bioinformatics and molecular biology. It provides a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) offering, dropGen, which gives clinicians, biologists and geneticists access to an online service to conduct bioinformatic analysis and visualise results.
Through the investment, Sophia Genetics will have access to Genalys, a company in Invoke’s portfolio, whose Cambridge-based mathematicians apply big data approaches to genomic information.
Lynch said: “The challenge now lies in the analysis, interpretation and protection of the massive amounts of sequence data generated by this new technology. In short, a key part of this is a big data analysis problem and I believe that Sophia and Genalys’s sophisticated algorithm can provide the clinical accuracy that is required to provide meaningful, targeted therapies.”
Sophia Genetics has offices in Switzerland, France and the UK and works with European medical institutions across eight European countries.
Invoke Capital's first investment was in Cambridge-based cyber security company Darktrace.
Lynch has been embroiled in a legal battle with HP over the US tech giant's acquisition of the Cambridge-based firm.
After acquiring Autonomy for $10 billion in 2011, in November the following year, HP said it taking a $8.8 billion charge as Autonomy had allegedly engaged in accounting improprieties, misrepresentations and disclosure failures before HP acquired the company. Lynch, who was removed from HP in May 2012, has denied any wrongdoing, claiming HP was aware of Autonomy's accounting practices before the acquisition.
Earlier this month, HP reached an agreement in three shareholder lawsuits arising from the acquisition.
Under the terms of the agreement, the shareholders and their lawyers will assist HP in bringing claims against Lynch, Shushovan Hussain, Autonomy's former chief financial officer, and potentially others. HP will also be modifying its policies and procedures for evaluating potential mergers and acquisitions on the lines recommended by the shareholders and their lawyers.