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LifeArc Ventures – six new investments, portfolio progress and an expanding investment team

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LONDON, Jan. 25, 2024 /PRNewswire/ — LifeArc Ventures, which is committed to investing in innovative early-stage life science companies, today provides an update on its portfolio.

Clare Terlouw, Head of LifeArc Ventures, said: “Our portfolio of investments expanded during the year and despite challenging financing conditions in the sector we were pleased to invest in six new companies and to continue to support our existing portfolio companies as they grow. As part of LifeArc, we can provide our companies with additional scientific support and we are excited to continue to invest in exceptional early stage opportunities.”
LifeArc Ventures’ portfolio grew in 2023, as we invested in five companies and co-founded one new company across the therapeutics and healthtech space. We also participated in several follow-on rounds across our portfolio.
We have expanded our investment team, adding two new members and further strengthened our Early Ventures Investment Committee through the appointment of a new Chair and new independent member. We are delighted to continue to benefit from their experience and advice in both biotech and healthtech investing.
We are proud to be part of LifeArc, which provides us unique access to scientific dry and wet labs and a talent pool of internal scientists that helps inform our decision making and enables us to provide hands-on support to our portfolio companies. By delivering on our aim to generate financial returns by investing in innovative early-stage life science companies, we are also helping to sustain LifeArc as a leading UK medical research charity.
Accelerating investment in innovative science
We’ve added six new investments in 2023:
We led the $16m Series A financing for Cambridge-based Maxion Therapeutics in February, investing alongside Monograph Capital and BGF to support the development of novel biologics targeting ion channels and G-protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) via Maxion’s KnotBody® platform. Ion channels and GPCRs are critical cell surface proteins involved in a wide range of previously untreatable diseases, including autoimmune conditions and chronic pain.
In July, we participated in the $16m Series A for US-based Affect Therapeutics, alongside Artis Ventures, AlleyCorp, CityLight, Samsung Next and What If Ventures. Affect delivers purpose-built treatments for specific substance use disorders, including alcohol, marijuana, cocaine and methamphetamine, as well as prescription stimulants such as ADHD medications.
In August, another exciting project came to fruition when Ozlo Sleep emerged from stealth with a team led by ex-Bose management unveiled its flagship Ozlo Sleepbuds® – the first in an ecosystem of sleep solutions using sophisticated technology and sound to unlock restorative sleep.
We are looking forward to telling you more about three of them – in therapeutic areas of high interest including oncology and rare diseases and a new UK based company focusing on Huntingdon’s Disease – during 2024.
We have ambitious investment plans so please continue to contact us with exciting investment opportunities. You can get in touch directly on [email protected], and keep up with our news and activities by following us @LifeArcVentures and LinkedIn.
Substantive portfolio progress
Three of our companies – AviadoBio, Cumulus Neuroscience and Maxion Therapeutics – were selected for PwC UK’s Life Sciences Future 50 report in October – great examples of exceptional scientific innovation in the UK and the strength and breadth of our portfolio.
AviadoBio had a productive year, initiating its phase 1/2 ASPIRE-FTD clinical trial to evaluate its lead product AVB-101 in people with Frontotemporal Dementia with progranulin mutations in October, quickly followed by FDA IND clearance and Fast Track Designation.
Following on from its successful Series A, Maxion was awarded £2 million in Innovate UK funding and appointed industry veteran Eva Lotta-Allan as Chair.
RQ Bio, a company we co-founded and co-funded in 2022, announced its monoclonal antibody aiming to prevent COVID-19 in vulnerable patients had entered clinical trials less than 12 months after discovery. AstraZeneca’s phase I/III study will evaluate the safety, efficacy and neutralizing activity of AZD3152 compared with comparator for pre-exposure prophylaxis of COVID-19. AstraZeneca licenced AZD3152 from RQ Bio in May 2022. Separately, RQ Bio and US company AbCellera entered a strategic collaboration to identify clinical candidates for up to three infectious disease targets including influenza and cytomegalovirus (CMV).
Closed Loop Medicine entered a global co-development partnership with Pharmanovia, initially focused on developing and launching a drug + software combination version of a first-line anti-hypertensive in the UK. A phased global roll-out and development of additional therapies are planned.
Expanding our investment team and IC
The Early Ventures Investment Committee was significantly strengthened by the appointment of Deborah Harland as Chair. Debbie has an exceptional track record of achievement in the life sciences sector, including as a highly respected partner and venture partner with transatlantic venture capital firm SR One and an established board director at a number of venture backed companies. We were also pleased to welcome US-based David Van Sickle, who has over 15 years of experience developing and commercializing digital health technologies and was co-founder and CEO of Propeller Health, a digital health and therapeutics company dedicated to improving the management of asthma and COPD.
Jon Nash has been appointed as an Investment Principal in the Ventures team. Jon joined us from M Ventures’ biotechnology investment team and previously was an associate within the healthcare investment banking team at UBS, after starting his career as a doctor. Matthew Lulham-Robinson joined us as an Investment Associate, from L.E.K. Consulting’s Life Science practice.
In addition, Clare Terlouw, Head of LifeArc Ventures, was re-elected to the BioIndustry Association (BIA) Board of Directors for the third time.
Contacts:
LifeArc
[email protected]
Clare Terlouw
Mo PR Advisory
Mo Noonan / Jonathan Birt
Tel: +44 (0) 7876 444977 / 07860 361746
Notes to Editors:
About LifeArc
LifeArc is a self-funded medical research charity with more than 25 years of translating early science into health care treatment including a diagnostic for antibiotic resistance and four licensed medicines. Our model is built on collaboration, and through our LifeArc Ventures team, we invest in Seed and Series A stage companies with significant follow-on investment reserved for successful portfolio companies. Our ventures approach focuses on investing in novel translational science and technology with a dual goal of generating financial returns to the charity and positive impact for patients.
Find out more on www.lifearc.org or follow us on LinkedIn or Twitter (@LifeArcVentures). 
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CNEC Global Leap Program Debuts in Barcelona, Highlighting Seven Tech Leaps to Accelerate Intelligence

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BARCELONA, Spain, Feb. 28, 2024 /PRNewswire/ — Cloud Native Elite Club (CNEC) hosted a successful seminar titled “Leap with Cloud Native x AI” at MWC Barcelona 2024. Over 50 industry leaders and experts gathered to explore cutting-edge trends in technology and innovation for 2024, sharing valuable insights and practices of cloud native and AI applications.

Seven Technical Leaps to Accelerate Intelligence Across Industries
Bruno Zhang, Huawei Cloud CTO, emphasized the critical role of cloud native and AI technologies as driving forces for industry transformation in the intelligent era.
He listed seven key technical leaps for intelligent upgrades across industries:
Architecture: from CPU-centric primary/secondary to heterogeneous peer-to-peer architecture;Compute: from general-purpose to AI compute;Storage: from data lake to AI-Native storage;Data-AI convergence: from “Data+AI” to “Data4AI/AI4Data”;Application development: from full/low/zero code to AI-assisted/self programming;Media technology: from shooting to computing and from production to generation;Security: from cyber and information security to a zero trust approach Taylor Dolezal, Head of the CNCF Ecosystem, emphasized cloud native technologies as the backbone for AI Infrastructure, highlighting its potential to accelerate industry-wide AI adoption. “CNCF boasts numerous projects utilized by leading AI companies like OpenAI, providing the essential technological infrastructure for generative AI,” Dolezal stated. “Furthermore, cloud native projects like K8sGPT exemplify how we can leverage the advanced natural language processing capabilities of generative AI and the power of Kubernetes to drive industry innovation.”
“Cloud computing nurtures the innovation and development of AI models,” said Li Wei, Deputy Director of Cloud Computing and Big Data Research Institute at China Academy of Information and Communications Technology (CAICT). “Cloud computing offers flexible, scalable, and efficient support for these models, reducing costs and improving efficiency,” Li explained. “It also provides a user-friendly platform for model development, deployment, and utilization.”
Ms. Li highlighted the emergence of Large Model Cloud Services as a new paradigm in the cloud computing landscape. She emphasized the importance of establishing industry standards. “The standards framework for large model cloud service consists of four layers: infrastructure, models, services, and applications. This framework aims to standardize and operationalize Large Model Cloud Service with a well-structured industry system.”
Building a Solid Cloud Foundation for Data-AI Innovation and New Data Value
The seminar featured presentations from Huawei Cloud representatives and various industry leaders showcasing innovative practices across diverse sectors. They shared insights on leveraging cloud technology to accelerate data-AI innovation.
Iñaki Fuentes, COO of TravelgateX, presented their successful cloud native transformation journey with Huawei Cloud. By adopting containers and microservices, they achieved significant improvements: efficiently processing over 6 billion daily hotel searches, reducing cloud costs by 20%, enhancing performance by over 35%, and streamlining operational complexity.
Li Guo, a Huawei Cloud SRE expert, presented their deterministic operations solution, a comprehensive approach based on Huawei Cloud’s internal practices. This solution emphasizes stability and reliability, efficient resources, robust security, and agile services. Huawei Cloud offers a range of services like OES, BOS, AMS, and IMS that empower businesses to enhance O&M capabilities, achieve greater efficiency and quality, and accelerate digital transformation with O&M as a key driver.
Chong Chen, Chief Architect of Huawei Cloud GaussDB(for MySQL), stated that this service can ensure high reliability and availability across three availability zones (AZs), enabling a zero recovery point objective (RPO) and no data loss. Moreover, the entire database system can easily scale up and down and add or remove read copies within minutes to adapt to the changes in application loads without capacity evaluation or resource accommodation. Such an architecture is well-suited for database needs in the AI era.
CNEC Global Leap Program: Empowering Industry with Technology
Cloud native is becoming the new oil to fuel the global digital economy. More and more enterprises will build and grow their services on the cloud. Recognizing this trend, Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF), CAICT, Huawei Cloud jointly founded CNEC in 2020. CNEC aims to address the challenges faced by organizations during cloud migration, utilization, and management. Currently boasting over 200 core members, CNEC has built a comprehensive operational system that supports more than 800 technical managers across various industries, including Internet, finance, logistics, and automotive. The community has also branched out to Europe, Asia Pacific, and Latin America.
William Dong, President of Huawei Cloud Marketing, emphasized the company’s commitment to collaborating with industry organizations like CNCF and CAICT in the AI era. Through technical communities like CNEC, Huawei Cloud aims to connect businesses with the latest global technologies, best practices, and industry trends. This initiative empowers businesses worldwide to harness the potential of cloud native and AI, ultimately achieving the leap to data and AI prowess.
Looking ahead to 2024, CNEC will prioritize the strategic integration of cloud native and AI technologies, an effort to accelerate the global adoption and advancement of AI. During the event, CNEC unveiled its Global Leap Program themed “Leap with Cloud Native x AI”, which will facilitate extensive technical exchanges, in-depth discussions, and pilot practice showcases.
Furthermore, Huawei Cloud held a plaque presentation ceremony to establish the CNEC European Branch to better serve local organizations. This initiative signifies Huawei Cloud’s commitment to collaborating with customers and partners to expedite the adoption and advances of innovative technologies like cloud native, AI, and database solutions in Europe. Ultimately, this collaborative effort aims to unlock the potential for growth across diverse industries with continuous technological innovation.
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Sendbird Unveils Easy-to-Use AI Chatbot Tailored for Small Businesses

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SEOUL, South Korea, Feb. 28, 2024 /PRNewswire/ — Sendbird, a leading communications platform for web and mobile apps, has launched its AI chatbot, designed for easy setup and tailored to help small-to-medium-sized businesses (SMBs)  in various customer-facing sectors like e-commerce and healthcare. This affordable, no-code solution aims to enhance customer engagement and support. Businesses can access an AI chatbot starter package offering features such as chatbot personas creation, knowledge enrichment, workflow integration, and performance tracking analytics, all without requiring technical skills.

Furthemore, Sendbird has unveiled a developer-centric Pro package, which simplifies mobile app integration and provides more workflows and function calls for third-party software connections. These connections empower the AI chatbot to expand its capabilities and improve the competitiveness. For instance, the AI chatbot can offer personalized recommendations for flights, accommodations, or products.
Sendbird’s no-code AI chatbot seamlessly integrates with Sendbird Desk, its in-app chat customer service solution, providing businesses with a unified sales or support desk. This integration boosts automated efficiency while maintaining a nuanced understanding of human support, leading to swifter, more accurate responses and increased customer satisfaction.
Built on a real-time communication platform trusted by industry leaders like Rakuten, Paytm, Traveloka, Carousell, PayPay, Yahoo, DoorDash, Krafton, Sendbird’s AI chatbot ensures seamless integration with both websites and mobile applications. This enables businesses to streamline support processes, save time, and allocate resources effectively, exceeding customer expectations.
Sendbird CEO and Co-founder John S. Kim emphasizes the importance of making AI accessible to SMBs, stating, “Today, large enterprises and consumer brands effectively use AI to engage with their customers. But there is no way for a small company to compete. What we aim to do with our no-code AI chatbot is to make that technology accessible to SMBs.”
To explore the benefits firsthand, businesses can access a free trial of Sendbird’s AI chat bot at sendbird.com/products/ai-chatbot. Additionally, to enhance superior customer support and engagement further, go to Sendbird Desk at sendbird.com/products/customer-support.
About Sendbird
Sendbird is the all-in-one communication platform empowering web and mobile applications with customizable user experiences. Sendbird’s cutting-edge APIs unlock the potential of AI-powered chatbots, one-way notification messages, chat, video calls and live streaming, tailored for use in commerce, marketing, and exceptional customer support. Trusted by industry leaders such as Rakuten, Paytm, Traveloka, Carousell, PayPay, Yahoo, DoorDash, and Krafton, Sendbird powers over 7 billion interactions monthly for over 4000+ applications worldwide.
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Vieworks Unveils Cutting-Edge X-ray Imaging Solutions at ECR 2024

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ANYANG, South Korea, Feb. 27, 2024 /PRNewswire/ — Vieworks, a leading provider of medical and industrial X-ray imaging solutions, is gearing up to showcase its innovative lineup at the European Congress of Radiology (ECR) 2024, scheduled from February 28 to March 3 in Vienna, Austria. Vieworks will introduce a range of groundbreaking solutions including the VXvue software with AI diagnostic support for both human and veterinary applications, alongside X-ray flat panel detectors (Hall X3, Booth 324).

At the exhibition, Vieworks will unveil a total of 19 products, featuring 15 static and dynamic flat panel detectors accompanied by dedicated image acquisition software. Particularly noteworthy will be the introduction of the enhanced VXvue software integrated with AI diagnostic support solutions. 
Vieworks’ large-format and large-area detector products (VIVIX-S 1751S, VIVIX-S 4747V) are designed to optimize full-spine, half-body, and large-area imaging, offering static image detectors capable of capturing wider area images in a single scan compared to conventional models, thereby reducing patient radiation exposure. With advantages such as high resolution and swift image acquisition, these detectors enable more efficient diagnosis.
In addition to these innovations, Vieworks will showcase a variety of its flagship products, including FPDs for general radiography (VIVIX-S V, VIVIX-S F series), portable C-arms and fluoroscopy applications (VIVIX-D series), and digital detectors for breast examination (VIVIX-M series).
Developed in-house by Vieworks, VXvue is a user-centric image processing software designed to post-process clinical images acquired through X-ray detectors. With recent enhancements, VXvue can analyze X-ray clinical images of animals such as dogs and cats, providing abnormal findings related to musculoskeletal and thoracic diseases within 15 seconds. By offering post-processing of images along with information on the location of ailments and their probability, VXvue is poised to significantly improve the diagnostic process for veterinarians.
VXvue also offers advanced solutions for human application, incorporating the ‘PureImpact™’ technology, a high-performance image processing algorithm that enhances image clarity, and AI. This enables detailed depiction of soft tissue and skeletal structures with minimal radiation exposure.
A Vieworks spokesperson stated, “This year, we will continue to invest in innovative technologies such as AI to advance our product diversification and technological sophistication. Through these efforts, we aim to secure loyalty from our key customers in North America and Europe and expand our market share.”
ECR, regarded as one of the world’s largest congresses alongside the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA), anticipates participation from over 240 companies representing 35 countries.
About Vieworks Co., Ltd.
As a global leader in digital imaging in various applications from medical x-ray imaging to industrial x-ray inspection, Vieworks offers the most advanced x-ray flat panel detectors and software as a solution to the world. Vieworks creates new standards in the imaging industry by providing professionals with the most valued and high-quality images and offering innovative vision and insight for all. For more information, please visit xrayimaging.vieworks.com.
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