University of Birmingham spinout Tagomics, developers of a cutting-edge platform for comprehensive disease insight and diagnosis, has announced a £6.7 million funding round.

The investment was led by Calculus Capital, with participation from Illumina Ventures, IQ Capital, Agilent Ventures, Mercia Ventures and the MEIF Proof of Concept & Early Stage Fund, which is managed by Mercia Ventures and is part of the Midlands Engine Investment Fund (MEIF), Meltwind and OMX Ventures.

Tagomics launched in July 2020 to build on research led by Dr Robert Neely from the University’s School of Chemistry. Dr Neely is now the company’s chief scientific officer. This research, funded by EPSRC Healthcare Technology Challenges award, investigated ways to identify the earliest detectable changes to the genome during cancer – a process called methylation, which switches genes on and off.

However existing diagnostic tools struggle to read methylation, so the research team set out to develop a technology that can. Their work yielded three patents that were foundational for the company.

Tagomics has since developed a pioneering platform which seamlessly combines ‘omics’ technologies, including genomics (detecting mutations), epigenomics (studying chemical ‘switches’ on the genome), and fragmentomics (the analysis of DNA fragmentation patterns in the blood).  By integrating these methods and applying advanced data analysis and machine learning, the Tagomics platform aims to discover new markers of cancer and develop strategic partnerships, advancing drug development and therapy selection for patients.

The funding follows a £1.6m pre-seed round led by IQ Capital and Start Codon, which included grant funding from Innovate UK.

The current investment will accelerate Tagomics’ scientific research and product development, with the goal of delivering improvements in cancer and other diseases’ diagnosis and treatment.

Dr Jack Kennefick, CEO and co-founder at Tagomics, said: “The multiomic capabilities of Tagomics’ approach enable more comprehensive insight into diseases such as cancer; these insights will enable us to develop simpler and more accurate means of diagnosing and treating patients. 

“We’re pleased to welcome such an experienced group of investors on board to help us accelerate the development of our platform and support our efforts in expanding the capabilities of genomic medicine.”

Spinout develops treatment for diabetics at risk of amputation

Elizabeth Klein, investment director at Calculus, said: “We are delighted to support Tagomics as the company embarks on its next phase of expansion, applying its innovative technology to discover new markers for disease diagnosis and management. 

“We were attracted to the company not only for its novel science, but its exceptional management team led by CEO Dr Jack Kennefick, an inventor on 3 of the company’s patents and recipient of the prestigious Royal Society of Edinburgh’s Enterprise Fellowship. 

“The Chair, Dr Kirk Malloy, has more than 25 years’ experience in growing life science companies, and NED Pascal Bamford, has previously held leadership positions at MonoGen, Epic Sciences, Genomic Health (now Exact Sciences), Ventana-Roche and currently Akoya Biosciences.”

Nick Naclerio, Founding Partner at Illumina Ventures said: “We are excited to welcome Tagomics as the first European participant in our recently launched Illumina Ventures Labs program. 

“We expect that our investment of capital, lab facilities, and sequencing technologies, alongside other syndicate members will accelerate Tagomics’ path to market. We look forward to seeing the impact of their innovative multiomic approach on both research and clinical applications.”

MIP Discovery raises £7m to advance cell and gene therapies