Icaria Inc. (Headquarter: Bunkyo-ku, Japan, President & CEO：Ryuichi Onose, “Icaria”) today announces that it has successfully closed its Series A funding round from ANRI (Japanese venture capital firm), Daiwa Corporate Investment Co., Ltd., Aflac Ventures LLC, Mori Trust Co., Ltd., FF APAC Scout (A scout vehicle of US venture capital firm Founders Fund), and a few other investors. Coinciding with the round closure, Icaria Inc. will officially change its name to “Craif Inc.” (“Craif”) on Thursday, June 17, 2020.
From left to right: Ryuichi Onose(President and CEO),Takao Yasui,Ph.D.(Scientific Adviser&Co-Founder),
Mika Mizunuma,Ph.D.(Chief Operating Officer), and Yuki Ichikawa.Ph.D.,(Chief Technology Officer)
＜Series A Funding ＞
■The Purpose of this Funding
As a startup incubated at Nagoya University, Craif is developing an innovative exosome biomarker discovery platform that captures exosomes comprehensively from urine samples with microfabrication technology. Also by leveraging AI analytics,the platform enables early detection of cancer, as well as, selecting tailored treatment for each individual patient from urinary miRNA. This Series A funding will be used to expand clinical trials, accelerate research and bring their disease screenings to market.
Daiwa Corporate Investment Co.,Ltd.(Headquarters: Tokyo, Japan, President & CEO: Kiyohisa Hirano)
Aflac Ventures LLC (Headquarters: Georgia, United States, President: Nadeem Khan)
Mori Trust Co.(Headquarters: Tokyo, Japan, President: Miwako Date)
FF APAC Scout (Headquarters: California, United States)
US-based health and sustainability fund
+ one other major company
ANRI (Headquarters: Shibuya-ku, Tokyo, President and CEO: Anri Samata)
＜Comments from the Investors＞
Kiyohisa Hirano, President & CEO, Daiwa Corporate Investment Co.,Ltd.
We were attracted by the uniqueness of the company’s “non-invasive urinal cancer test”, the depth of its research utilizing “exosome biomarker discovery platform”, and most importantly, Craif’s talented management team with an extremely clear shared vision at such an early stage. Our decision to invest in Craif was also based on our expectation that its business contributes to the SDGs, which we endorse. We are looking forward to seeing Onose and his team members to achieve even greater growth.
Tomoyuki Shimada, Managing Director, Aflac Innovation Partners G.K., Aflac Ventures LLC
Cancer screenings and diagnostic tests have been attracting attention, and these tests must not only be affordable, but also fast and highly accurate. We are very excited to invest in Craif’s technology, that could realize a highly accurate, early detection cancer tests. Through this investment, we are pleased to support Craif’s R&D to develop their technology which could increase cancer screening uptake.
Miwako Date, President and Chief Executive Officer, Mori Trust Co., Ltd.
Under our corporate slogan “Create the Future,” we aim to provide solutions to solve social issues by creating new value through a combination of innovative technologies, services, and our various resources. We highly evaluate the social significance of Craif’s technology and its capability to contribute to long and healthy life through early detection of cancer. As we are working on proposing a wellness experience called “Wellness Go” to create a society where everyone can enjoy a healthy and vibrant life, we are excited to work together with Craif.
Jeffrey Lonsdale, Investor, FF APAC Scout
It is easier to convince patients to get their urine tested than to get a blood test, so I am excited by the vast increase in early cancer detection that Craif’s technology should enable.
Masahiro Sameshima, General Partner, ANRI
When I met Mr.Onose, I told him, “If you’re going ‘all-in’, you’re probably betting on the wrong horse. We’ve got to change the world with this technology.” It has been two years since I started supporting him from the launch of this company. I’m thrilled to see him surrounded by his great team members now. Let’s continue to work hard to confront the issue of Japan’s aging population head-on.
Change the World, Craif! The game is on!
＜Company Name Change＞
■New Company Name
■New Company Logo
Thursday, June 17, 2020
■New Corporate Website
■The Story Behind the Name
Our new company name, Craif, comes from the combination of two words: “Crane”, which symbolizes long life in Japan, and “Life”. Based on our vision “to ensure lifelong health to everyone”, Craif will make every effort to provide painless, accurate, and early detection of cancer by urine tests. Early detection of cancer is one of the most critical issues that will lead to longer healthy life expectancy and reduce medical expenses. That is why we believe that it is an issue that should be proactively addressed in Japan, the fastest aging country in the world. The name “Craif” represents our passion and ambition to tackle this challenge and contribute to creating a successful model of an aged society.
■Craif’s Technology and the Value It Creates
As a startup incubated at Nagoya University, Craif is developing an innovative exosome biomarker discovery platform by capturing exosomes comprehensively from urine samples with microfabrication technology. Also by leveraging AI analytics, , the platform enables early detection of cancer, as well as, selecting tailored treatment for each individual patient from a single drop of urine.
Craif’s core technology is the unique zinc oxide nanowire-based exosome extraction device. Containing various biomolecules including proteins and nucleic acids, exosome is attracting worldwide attention for its potential as biomarkers for various diseases. Our device can not only efficiently extract exosomes, but also detect over 1,300 types of miRNA, which is deeply related to the development and progression of diseases. Combining AI analysis with this leading-edge technology enabled us to succeed in detecting cancer with a high degree of accuracy. Through the application of this technology, we aim to develop a more accurate cancer detection method using urinary miRNA to facilitate early diagnosis and the selection of an appropriate treatment for each individual patient. We will continue to strive to ultimately realize a future where no one will lose their lives to cancer.