Launching a company in today’s competitive (and litigious) spatial biology market may seem risky. But the new company, Moleculent, located in Stockholm, Sweden, has a different focus than the spatial companies that occupy the current landscape. Moleculent’s technology reveals the communication between cells in human tissue. Today, the company announced its launch, and closing of a $26 million Series A financing.

Moleculent noted that the research community has made breakthroughs in human health by studying DNA, RNA, and proteins. But, it asks, “What if the key to truly understanding our biology lies not just in the static code DNA, but in the dynamic conversations between cells? An exchange of signals that controls the health of every cell, every tissue, and every organ in the body. And when something goes wrong, we need to learn what cells are telling each other.”

Moleculent’s functional biology platform detects cell-cell interactions and profiles their communication directly within their tissue environment. This approach allows scientists to see how healthy cells function and how diseased cells differ at a complex, networked level. A complete picture of the cell-cell communication in a tumor, for example, offers a practical understanding of the signaling pathways and molecular mechanisms involved in drug response. Studying cell-cell interactions between many different receptors and ligands, in a tissue context, represents a paradigm shift in understanding biological systems by enabling scientists to see a more comprehensive picture and to decode the cell-cell conversations and disease pathways.

When studying the emerging spatial biology field, proteomics felt a little underdeveloped, noted Fredrik Roos, founder and CTO of Moleculent (formerly of Vanadis Diagnostics.) In cancer, he noted, “studying the communication at the molecular level will enable scientists to understand the interplay between immune cells and tumor cells and, by understanding that, give new insights into how to develop new therapies.”

“Analysis of DNA, as well as RNA and protein expression inform us about the building blocks of a cell but do not directly measure how cells are working together. Understanding cell-cell communication networks in tissues has the potential to bring us into a new era of understanding functional biology and human disorders,” said Olle Ericsson, PhD, co-founder and CEO of Moleculent (formerly of Vanadis Diagnostics).

Moleculent develops technology-enabled products that leverage new insights into the molecular foundation of human biology. The company is developing the first functional profiling platform that allows scientists to map cell-cell communication directly in clinical tissue, providing insights to accelerate the functional understanding of biology. By understanding how cells communicate, coordinate their actions, and adapt to their surroundings in human tissues, scientists will gain a better picture of the cellular complexity in health and disease.

The Series A round was led by ARCH Venture Partners and co-led by Eir Ventures with participation from the company’s existing investors. ARCH’s Patrick Weiss has been appointed Chairman. “Spatial mapping technologies transformed our understanding of cellular neighborhoods, and the next frontier is to measure the critical communications between networks of individual cells,” said Weiss. “Moleculent will enable scientists to decipher this communication to better understand functional human biology.”

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