Takeda gets in on biomarker startup action

Takeda Ventures will join investors like Merck Global Health Innovation Fund, Novartis, and other venture capital firms in contributing towards a total of $65 million in gross proceeds to date to biomarker startup, Koneksa.

New York-based Koneksa, founded in 2015, received $45 million in series C funding to expand its biomarker technology platform and welcome new faces to the company. 

The new financing will allow Koneksa to devote additional resources to developing digital biomarkers that can analyze patient data in real time, through the use of wearable sensors. This new technology will be used to lower the burden on patients and increase scientists’ understanding of disease to bring medicine to patients more quickly, the company says.

Joining the company will be John Wagner, who will serve as Koneksa’s first chief medical officer, and Karan Takhar, who will join the board of directors. Wagner spent 20 years developing drugs and has led more than 150 first-in-human studies prior to joining the startup.  He is also responsible for bringing anti-diabetes medicine Januvia, and Zolinza, a treatment for a type of lymphoma to market and has held senior leadership roles at Merck & Co and Takeda. Takhar currently serves as the senior managing director for Matrix and will continue in this role after joining Koneksa.

Takeda, who has previously looked to Koneksa to provide biosensor wearables for some early-stage clinical trials, is looking to capitalize on the industry's growing interest in remote trial monitoring.

“As a long-term partner, Takeda values the rigorous approach behind Koneksa's vision to bring validated digital biomarkers to the industry. Our decision to invest is a natural next step as we anticipate that Koneksa’s solutions will have a profound impact on clinical development and disease management,” said Michael Martin, Global Head, Takeda Ventures.