Sano Genetics doubles scale-up funding haul with new $11.4m raise

22 Jan, 2024
Tony Quested
Sano Genetics, a Cambridge-based software company accelerating precision medicine research, has raised $11.4 million in new funding led by Plural with participation from existing investors including MMC Ventures, Episode 1 and Seedcamp.
Sano Genetics founders William Jones, Patrick Short and Charlotte Guzzo. Image courtesy of Sano Genetics.

Founded by Patrick Short (CEO), Charlotte Guzzo (COO) and William Jones (CTO), Sano Genetics is developing software to enable the precision medicine revolution.

The company combines genetic testing, recruitment, and long-term engagement in one platform, accelerating enrolment and simplifying operations for precision medicine teams driving breakthroughs for patients.

In 2023 alone, Sano Genetics experienced 5x ARR growth year-on-year, doubled its headcount to 62 and expanded into the large pharmaceutical market, working with four of the top 20 pharma companies. 

The company is seeing early gains from deploying AI to streamline the trial process and delight its customers. The new funding, which brings the total raised to $22m, will be used to meet the growing demand for its products, leverage AI further and expand its reach to more countries, becoming the ultimate precision trial platform. 

Solving bottlenecks in precision medicine R & D

Medical trials underpin modern healthcare yet clinical research is an incredibly complex and time-consuming process for both patients and companies running trials including pharmaceutical companies and emerging biotech startups.

Access and referrals for patients to join trials often depend on the hospital or location where they’re receiving treatment – which is why recruiting for clinical trials is one of the biggest challenges in research.

Only one in five trials find enough participants in the predefined time frame, which means patients continue to wait for potentially new and better treatment options.

When it comes to precision medicine, which requires understanding the genetics of patients and tailoring drugs to suit them, it can be even more difficult for researchers to find the right patients for a trial.

In these highly regulated environments, it can be difficult for large organisations to incorporate the latest technology into their methodology, meaning existing solutions for patient recruitment, genetic testing and engagement can be slow and cumbersome.

This is why the average R & D for a new precision oncology drug is $3.53 billion, rising to $4.62bn for non-precision oncology medicines.

Sano Genetics connects patients across four countries, including the UK, US, Australia and Canada, with pharmaceutical companies and biotech companies conducting clinical trials, making it easier for patients to access precision medical treatment and for companies to bring new, effective drugs to market quickly.

By providing a digital matchmaking experience for conducting clinical trials, it's quick and seamless for customers to load their new trial into the Sano platform and include the criteria for patients they’re looking for.

Sano Genetics then supports with recruitment of suitable patients, including advertising through social media and via healthcare providers – onboarding participants up to three times faster than traditional methods.

Once patients are recruited, customers use Sano’s platform to manage all aspects of the trial including participant communication, facilitating genetic and other biomarker testing, returning results and even supporting patients with genetic counselling. This is all enabled through the platform’s consumer-grade interface, which prioritises security and compliance throughout. 

A generational shift in drug development 

Precision medicine marks a generational shift in drug development, as clinical trials using genetic data have a 26 per cent success rate compared to 10 per cent for standard clinical trials.

Sano Genetics is the platform powering the adoption of precision medicine, enabling companies and research institutions worldwide to carry out precision medicine trials more efficiently and effectively, simplifying each step and connecting them with research participants.

The platform has supported close to 20+ different studies, from rare and ultra-rare diseases affecting newborn babies, all the way to neurodegenerative diseases such as Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) – a form of motor neurone disease (MND) – and Parkinson’s.

This experience supporting patients in medical research participation, inspired the platform recently to launch Light The Way, a new programme for families affected by ALS in December 2023. Light The Way offers peer support, DNA testing, genetic counselling and education.

Sano Genetics will use the new funding to run similar programmes to lead the charge for predictive and preventive genetics, as part of its mission to accelerate the future of precision medicine.

Patrick Short, co-founder and CEO of Sano Genetics, said: “Precision medicine is transforming how we think about and approach healthcare, and clinical trials are the bedrock of precision drug development.

“In the past 12 months, we’ve scaled up our capacity to hold three times more trials than the year before and launched our first programme supporting families affected by ALS.

“I’m so pleased with everything the team has achieved so far and this new funding will help us to integrate LLMs and other AI tools to drive more productivity.

“This will help us continue our growth trajectory, particularly with the help of visionary investors like Carina Namih, who supported our seed round and is now supporting us again at Plural.”