Peter Thiel Co-leads Investment Round in Israel's ChemomAb

TechNation: Alibaba close to acquiring Israel’s Visualead ■ Atoz Bio, 6Over6 and Seebo all raise funds

PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel speaks at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio, July 21, 2016.
Jonathan Ernst / Reuters

PayPal founder Peter Thiel was among investors backing a $10 million fundraising for ChemomAb, a Tel Aviv-based startup that is developing monoclonal antibodies for the treatment of inflammatory and fibrotic diseases, the company said Monday. The Israel unit of the OrbiMed venture capital fund co-led the round with Thiel, with more cash coming from the SBI Japan-Israel Innovation Fund and Milestone Venture. ChemomAb CEO Adi Mor said the proceeds would be used to advance the company’s clinical program for the product while examining its efficacy and safety profile in patients with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, or NASH. ChemomAb’s leading product, which is in Phase I clinical trials in Israel, is a monoclonal antibody used against a key protein that has been crucial to the progression of fibrotic and inflammatory mechanisms. NASH is a common liver disease that resembles alcoholic liver disease but occurs in people who drink little or no alcohol. (Ruti Levy)

Atoz Bio secures $30 million for kidney-treatment development
Atox Bio said Monday it raised $30 million that it will use to further develop its leading product as a kidney treatment. The round was led by U.K.-based Arix Bioscience, with Adams Street Partners, Japanese chemical company Asahi Kasei Corp. and existing investors SR One, OrbiMed, Lundbeckfonden Ventures, Becker and Integra Holdings joining in. Arix Bioscience accounted for $8 million of the round. Atox Bio’s lead product is an immune-system treatment called Reltecimod for treating acute kidney injury. Reltecimod is undergoing a Phase III clinical study in patients with necrotizing soft tissue infections, popularly known as flesh-eating bacteria. Atox Bio said it plans to start a Phase II study using Reltecimod to treat acute kidney injury next year. Atox, which was formed in 2003 by Hebrew University professors Raymond Kaempfer and Gila Arad, is based in Nes Tziona and the United States and has about 20 employees. It’s raised $60 million to date. (Ruti Levy)

Alibaba close to acquiring Israel’s Visualead
Alibaba is poised to complete the acquisition of the Israeli startup Visualead for $15 million with plans to turn it into an Israel-based research and development center for computer vision. The Israeli center will be part of the giant Chinese online retailer’s network of DAMO (discovery, adventure, momentum and outlook) centers, a $15 billion global R&D undertaking announced last month. In 2013, Visualead became the first Israeli startup to form a tie with Alibaba, and two years later won a $7 million investment from it. Visualead has developed a version of the QR barcode that blends into a product’s design or advertisement, rather than looking like a crossword puzzle. QR is used widely in Asia, and Visualead worked with Alibaba to stop counterfeit goods from being sold over Alibaba by independent vendors. Visualead now employs 15 people in Israel and China and expects to take on about 40 more in the next year for the new R&D center. (Ruti Levy)

6Over6 raises $11 million with app that puts the eye into iPhones
6Over6, an Israeli startup that has developed an app that lets users perform their own eye-vision test for contact lenses or glasses, says it has raised $11 million from investors led by the Chinese venture capital fund Rimonci Capital. 6Over6 was founded in 2014 by two doctors – CEO Ofer Limon and Chief Technology Officer Alex Zlotnik. Its GlassesOn product has the approval of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for confirming a lens prescription and measuring between the centers of the pupils, a method used to help opticians choose proper lenses. The product became available two months ago and is available in app stores in Israel, Canada, New Zealand and Australia, with plans to enter the U.S. market soon. 6Over6 cooperates with online vendors of glasses. It’s also working with the Indian company Lenskart, whose technicians use GlassesOn to prescribe glasses on home visits. 6Over6 has 15 employees, a number due to grow by 17 over the next year. (Eliran Rubin)

Seebo tops up fundraising round with $8 million extension
Seebo, an Israeli startup that helps companies design internet of things applications, says it has topped off its latest funding round with an $8 million extension. That brings the total for the round to $16.5 million, which will be used to upgrade its product offerings and support strategic partnerships that the company has recently signed and will announce shortly. The new investment, which bring Seebo’s total funding to $22 million, came from existing investors TPY Capital and Viola Ventures, as well as Pritzker Group Venture Capital and Japan’s Global IoT Technology Ventures. Seebo’s software combines IoT modeling, simulation and execution tools to turn  devices into smart, connected systems and is used in industries such as health care. Seebo was formed in 2012 and today employs 55 people, most in Tel Aviv and the rest in Palo Alto, California, and Shenzen, China. Seebo plans to hire 20 more people in Israel in the coming year. (Ruti Levy)