In a competition held in December in New York City, Mid-Atlantic Bio Angels (MABA) selected Immunovent as the “best of the best” among previous winners of MABA’s first pitch life science events during 2014. Results of the competition were announced in early January.
Immunovent is a New York City-based bioventure that is focusing on the commercialization of novel technologies for diagnosing allergies. The company is currently developing a platform technology called the local antibody mucosal brush diagnostic (LAMB-Dx), which allows for accurate detection and diagnosis of diseases, including airborne and food allergies.
Mid-Atlantic Bio Angels is a group of active angel investors that meets in New York City to hear from prescreened early-stage life science companies. MABA’s goal is to create an environment where the depth of investors’ knowledge coupled with the prescreening of presenting companies enhances the potential for meaningful investment.
Immunovent’s LAMB-Dx is a needle-free allergy test that works with minute cell samples that are easily and painlessly collected with a soft brush. A proprietary process is then used to detect the specific proteins in the samples that indicate the presence of a food or airborne allergy.
Allergies affect more than a quarter of the population and can be halted or reversed using emerging new therapies—but only if they are accurately diagnosed. As a consequence of sampling directly from the mouth and nose, LAMB-Dx is expected to be able to diagnose allergy patients whose blood- or skin-based tests are not accurate or are inconsistent with their clinical symptoms.
Use of LAMB-Dx to detect airborne and food allergies has been described in several publications. Initially, Immunovent plans to use the platform to develop a convenient test for peanut allergies, a persistent and potentially dangerous food allergy that affects more than 3 million Americans.
“Allergies continue to be a debilitating problem in the United States, where more than 80 million people suffer from allergies. Yet the sophistication of identifying these allergies in those who need it has not advanced for many years,” says Erick Berglund, PhD, Immunovent cofounder and CEO.
“Seven prior ‘best in show’ winners competed head to head for the title of ‘best of the best,’ and the competition was tough,” says Yaniv Sneor, president of Blue Cactus Consulting and a cofounder of Mid-Atlantic Bio Angels, which organizes and sponsors the first pitch life science events. At a first pitch event, early-stage life sciences and healthcare companies make a 15-minute presentation to a panel of experienced life science investors and consultants, followed by a 15-minute audience Q&A.
“It was an honor to be among these other six companies, and we are grateful to have been recognized by MABA as the ‘best of the best’ for 2014, among the 26 companies that have competed since the inception of the program,” says Kate Rochlin, PhD, Immunovent cofounder and chief science officer. “We anticipate that the recognition that comes with this title may help us to continue to develop our LAMB-Dx assay and get it into physicians’ hands.”
“All of the presenters have upped their game significantly since they first presented, which is a testament to the value of the enterprise,” says Sneor. “Immunovent was the first of the companies to present. They set the bar high, and no one could match them throughout the night, earning them the title of ‘best of the best.’ ”
For additional information, visit Immunovent.