Ozette raises $6 million for immune system-monitoring tech

Ozette, a Seattle, Washington-based life sciences startup, today announced that it raised $6 million in seed funding from Madrona Venture Group and the Allen Institute for AI (AI2). Ozette, a collaboration between AI2 and the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, says it’ll use the seed funding, which brings its total raised to date $12 million, to accelerate breakthroughs in tracking disease.

The global market for big data analytics in health care was valued at $16.87 billion in 2017 and is projected to reach $67.82 billion by 2025, according to a recent report from Allied Market Research. It’s believed that health care organizations’ implementation of big data analytics might lead to a more than 25% reduction in annual costs in the coming years. Better diagnosis and disease predictions, enabled by AI and analytics, can lead to cost reduction by decreasing hospital readmission rates, among other factors.

Ozette, a spinout founded in 2020 and incubated at AI2, aims to build an immune monitoring platform powered by technologies developed at the Fred Hutch. Ozette’s founders include Fred Hutchinson scientists Raphael Gottardo, Greg Finak, and Evan Greene, who have researched single-cell computational analysis over the past decade, along with physician and entrepreneur Ali Ansary.

Ozette claims its platform, which was developed through grant funding from the National Institutes of Health, enables scientists to extract insights from single-cell data across instruments, experiments, and disease states. The company asserts that this annotated data allows interpretable results for decision-making that will improve patient care and patient outcomes.

Ozette

The goal is to automate the manual, labor-intensive process of cell analysis from months of work to just hours, ultimately looking to create targeted therapies based on the profiles of individuals’ immune systems. According to Ansary, Ozette provides a view of single-cell data while automatically delivering results and reproducible experiments, agnostic of instrumentations.a

“Think of the Ozette [platform] like an MRI for the immune system,” Ansary explained. “Where an MRI shows detailed images around the anatomical structures, our technology delivers a high-resolution view of the immune system at the single-cell level, providing details that haven’t been visible before. This makes treatments safer, faster to develop, and personalized for patients.”

Oren Etzioni, CEO of AI2, added, “At AI2 we are constantly looking for scientific potential in artificial intelligence that has the power to improve daily lives, and Ozette does just that. Ozette’s Immune Monitoring Platform is exactly what scientists and researchers have been looking for. By allowing organizations to make discoveries faster, and with less risk, it will transform how we interact with medicine.”

With the new funding, 8-employee Ozette joins a fast-growing market for technologies that help to study the human immune system. Immunai, a company developing a proprietary corpus of immune-centric human tissue analyses, recently emerged from stealth with $20 million in funding. There’s also Ukko, which raised $40 million to address food allergies with AI, and OncoHost, which nabbed $8 million to develop AI that predicts cancer treatment responses.

Ozette says it’s working with with several biopharmaceutical companies along with companies designing therapies in immunooncology and cancer centers to catalyze data generation. Ozette plans to continue supporting the open-source Cytoverse community, which relies on tooling developed by the company’s team, while developing the immune monitoring platform.

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