In a pioneering venture, a highly innovative California-based precision medicine startup ImpriMed has harnessed the power of artificial intelligence to revolutionize the treatment of cancer in dogs and cats. Focused on delivering personalized drug regimens for individual animals, the company has developed AI-powered technology that aids veterinarians in identifying the most effective drugs for blood cancers in canines and felines.
Founded in 2017 by CEO Sungwon Lim and Jamin Koo, both with PhD degrees from Stanford, ImpriMed has carved a niche by applying ex-vivo live-cell technologies to canine and feline blood cancers. By leveraging their expertise in AI algorithms, the co-founders now aspire to expand their precision medicine technology to human oncology, aiming for commercialization within the next one to two years.
Lim, while drawing from over a decade of experience in the cancer drug industry, expressed a critical question that led to the inception of ImpriMed: “Are we efficiently utilizing all the tools we currently have in our medical toolbox?” This innovative tech startup envisions a paradigm shift in cancer care by utilizing existing drugs to personalize treatment regimens, bypassing the prolonged timeline associated with new drug development.
ImpriMed’s AI-powered personalized drug efficacy prediction service empowers oncologists to identify effective anticancer medicines tailored to specific patients. The startup’s recent Series A funding round, led by SoftBank Ventures Asia and raising $23 million, brings its total raised capital to $35 million since its inception. Strategic investors, including SK Telecom, HRZ Han River Partners, and Ignite Innovation Fund, contributed to the round.
The startup’s success is evident in its fully commercialized veterinary services, offering five canine and three feline services that have been utilized by over 350 veterinarians in the U.S. The B2B service involves collecting live cancer cells and blood samples from patients, which are then analyzed in ImpriMed’s California lab. The AI-powered analysis predicts the most effective anticancer drugs, providing a comprehensive report to ordering veterinarians within seven days.
ImpriMed’s expansion into human precision oncology is underway, with its AI software for multiple myeloma—a rare blood cancer—in the approval process, targeting commercialization in 2025. The company also plans to offer live-cell-based drug sensitivity tests for human acute myeloid leukemia and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma by the end of 2024.
Tackling a significant challenge in veterinary medicine, ImpriMed aims to enhance the treatment of lymphoma, the most common cancer diagnosed in dogs. With its AI-powered personalized technology, the startup not only increases the chances of successful treatment but also aims to reduce unnecessary costs and side effects associated with less effective treatments.
ImpriMed’s unique strength lies in its ability to develop and incorporate AI models into the personalized medicine service workflow. Lim emphasized the importance of collecting substantial clinical outcome data, an aspect where other companies in the domain often face challenges.
The latest funding infusion will propel ImpriMed’s mission to expand its drug response prediction technology into human oncology, increase its workforce, and broaden its business development pipelines. The startup, with approximately 40 staff, stands at the forefront of transforming cancer care for both animals and humans, ushering in a new era of personalized and effective treatments.