OS Fund Q4 2018 Update
Posted: December 2018
The most important technology you’ve never seen is revolutionizing economic sectors and offering promising solutions to our world’s most intractable challenges. OS Fund companies are in market, improving the world and delivering returns, right now.
Here’s what they’ve accomplished over the past few months:
- NuMat – $9M U.S. Army contract
- Synthego – $100M Round C, established global distribution partnership
- Emulate – $36M add-on funding, taking Intestine-Chip to the ISS
- PivotBio – Launched PROVEN™, a crop nutrition tool for corn growers
- UBiome – Commenced breast cancer diagnostic partnership
- twoXAR – Announced partnerships for endometriosis therapeutics and pancreatic cancer treatment discovery
NuMat Wins $9M U.S. Army Contract to Develop Filtering Equipment
The U.S. Army’s chemical and biological center for R&D awarded NuMat a $9M contract to develop equipment for toxic industrial chemical filtration, purification, and abatement, which could include next-generation gas masks or breathing equipment. The company’s nanotechnology, in which organic compounds combined with metal atoms (called metal-organic frameworks, or MOFs) create a sponge-like structure that would be difficult to manufacture using traditional methods, has been attracting attention and money for several years. The contract will help NuMat build the world’s first dedicated, commercial-scale manufacturing site for MOFs and a state-of-the-art application development lab for next-generation filtration and purification technologies.
“NuMat’s unique materials and processes will provide unparalleled protection and support in the field while also creating new capabilities for the future,” explained Ben Hernandez, founder, and CEO of NuMat.
The future of manufacturing is MOFs. Congratulations to Ben and the NuMat team for this step forward.
Synthego Raises $100M Round C, Expands CRISPR kit reach with Eurofins distribution deal
Synthego has tapped Eurofins Genomics to distribute synthetic single guide RNA (sgRNA) products from its CRISPRevolution line of genome-editing kits. The partnership adds Eurofins customers in 44 countries to Synthego’s market, which, until now, was concentrated in the U.S. The deal comes just a few weeks after Synthego raised $110 million in its series C round. That capital was earmarked for market expansion into Europe and Asia as well as increased capacity for both its CRISPRevolution and Engineered Cells products.
Synthego aims to boost the cell and gene therapy industry by making gene-editing tools more accessible to scientists around the world. They offer scientists on-demand tools needed to develop gene editing-based treatments, saving them from having to start from scratch. CRISPRevolution kits can be used in the scientist’s’ labs to modify cells, or Synthego can do the gene editing for them via their Engineered Cells service.
Synthego is going global, accelerating scientific discovery and reducing costs. Congratulations to founders Michael and Paul Dabrowski and entire Synthego team.
PivotBio launches Pivot Bio PROVEN™ – a breakthrough for growing corn
By focusing on the microbes that convert atmospheric nitrogen to biologically available nitrogen, Pivot Bio has discovered a new crop nutrition tool for farmers. Pivot Bio PROVEN™, their first product to market, is specifically designed for corn, as it is one of the largest global commodity cereal crops and requires a significant amount of nitrogen to grow and thrive. When farmers use Pivot Bio PROVEN™ in-furrow at the same time they plant the seed, they apply a nitrogen source that grows with the plant and sticks around regardless of the weather conditions. The product gives farmers the confidence that the corn plant will receive the nitrogen it needs throughout the growing cycle, which reduces variability across an entire field and the environmental damage of excess fertilizer runoff.
Emulate, Inc. Awarded Grant to Take Human Emulation System Aboard the International Space Station
Based on Organs-on-Chips technology, Emulate has created a new living Human Emulation System™ that provides a real-time window into the inner workings of human biology and disease — offering researchers a new technology designed to predict human response with greater precision and detail than today’s cell culture or animal-based experimental testing. Emulate and partners were awarded a grant to take its’ Intestine-Chip aboard the International Space Station to understand changes in the intestinal response to bacterial infection.
“There is exciting new potential to use our Intestine-Chip for research in space, including true-to-life functionality with a broad range of cell types that play a role in health and disease processes in the intestine, including sensory neurons, immune cells, and bacteria,” said Chris Hinojosa, Director of Discovery at Emulate. “As we further enhance our system for use in space, we are, in turn, improving our system for use by many researchers and companies on Earth.” Hinojosa and Katia Karalis, Executive Vice President of Research at Emulate, will co-lead the team working on the project.
uBiome Announces a Diagnostic for Breast Cancer
uBiome, the world leader in microbial genomics, announced the first stage of companion diagnostic development with Puma Biotechnology, Inc. to investigate the role of the microbiome in the treatment of patients with HER2-positive breast cancer. HER2-positive represents about 20 percent of all breast cancers and is more aggressive and more likely to reoccur than HER2-negative breast cancer. During the trial, samples collected will be processed with uBiome’s clinical tests to analyze the role of the microbiome related to neratinib treatment for HER2 positive breast cancer patients.
“This companion diagnostic and clinical trial work is an important part of the future of uBiome,” said Dr. Jessica Richman, Ph.D., Co-Founder and CEO of uBiome. “The microbiome is key to absorption of many drugs and also to the success of clinical trials in a variety of settings. Our microbiome data – the largest human microbiome dataset in the world – can be an integral part of clinical trials. This collaboration is the first step in making this future a reality.”
twoXAR Announces Adynxx Partnership to Identify Endometriosis Therapies, Receives Grant for Pancreatic Cancer Drug Discovery
twoXAR an artificial intelligence (AI)-driven biopharmaceutical company, announced a partnership with Adynxx to identify several therapeutic candidates with the ability to treat endometriosis and the associated symptoms, as well as prevent its recurrence. “The combination of twoXAR’s unique capabilities in drug discovery with the Adynxx team’s clinical and drug development experience in pain, inflammation and women’s health enables an efficient discovery and development path for new therapies to reduce the burden of symptoms and directly target the disease biology,” said Andrew A. Radin, Co-Founder and CEO of twoXAR. “This collaboration with Adynxx expands the scope of our portfolio of disease programs to include specific indications within the therapeutic area of fibrotic diseases.”
twoXAR was also awarded a National Cancer Institute of the National Institutes of Health grant to use its AI-driven platform to identify and validate new, first-in-class drug candidates for pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) that could improve patient survival outcomes. PDAC is currently the fourth leading cause of cancer death in the United States and is expected to be the second leading cause of cancer-related death by 2030. PDAC patients have a median survival of less than six months. Few effective treatments exist for PDAC, and the disease is known to become resistant to current lines of therapy.
Jeff Klunzinger and I founded OS Fund in 2014 on this insight: The most valuable companies of the last several decades have been built on the platform of silicon; the most successful companies of the future will be built on the platforms of atoms, molecules, organisms, and complex systems
OS Fund companies are in market, improving the world and delivering returns, right now. OS Fund invests in entrepreneurs using applied intelligence to commercialize breakthrough discoveries in genomics, synthetic biology, diagnostics, new materials, and data and energy. We seek out platform enabling technologies that accelerate discovery and commercialization. We never invest in a single molecule, model or algorithm. We do hard science investing with technology level risk.
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