Q2 2020 Portfolio Company Updates: The Fight Against COVID-19, Sustainability Successes, AI for Drug Discovery Victories
|The second quarter was an unprecedented time in our history; and while much of the world remains in various states of shutdown, our areas of focus at OS Fund have taken center stage. |
Companies, not only in our portfolio but across our targeted verticals, have stepped up to lend their capabilities to fight Covid-19 and its devastating consequences. They are working on everything from vaccines and diagnostics, to novel nanomaterials for next gen PPE.
Never before has it been so clear that continued investment is required in the most promising and cutting edge companies that are working in the fields of Genomics, Synthetic Biology, Computational Drug Discovery, Advanced Materials, and Diagnostics.
|Portfolio Company Spotlights|
In the earliest stages of the global response to COVID-19, Ginkgo Bioworks committed $25M of free access to their revolutionary platform for partner projects focused on accelerating development of point of care diagnostics, vaccines, and therapeutics. Shortly thereafter, the synthetic biology leader redirected the majority of its resources and technology to the fight against COVID-19, including a major partnership with Moderna to improve efficiency of raw materials manufacturing needed to produce its mRNA vaccines (including mRNA-1271). Following news of $70M raised from Illumina for scaling COVID-19 testing utilizing NGS technology, Ginkgo launched Concentric, an end-to-end, onsite, high-volume COVID-19 testing service for schools, business, and communities.
Following early success in their AI drug discovery program against drug-resistant oncology targets, Atomwise and leading Chinese biopharma company Hansoh announced an expansion of their $1.5B partnership. The company began collaboration on 15 research studies with major global universities to explore broad-spectrum therapeutics for COVID-19, representing a wide array of approaches. All 15 will utilize Atomwise’s advanced AI technologies to accelerate translation of research outcomes into treatments.
TwoXAR Pharmaceuticals was selected for presentation of their positive preclinical safety and efficacy data for its novel investigational cancer treatment TXR-311 at AACR 2020. Targeting the treatment of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), TXR-311 was identified, screened, and selected as an in vivo candidate, and demonstrated good tolerability and efficacy comparable to today’s standard-of-care, sorafenib. The company was also identified as one of 16 industry leaders in Artificial Intelligence for Drug Discovery in the Pharmaceutical Industry by Frost & Sullivan.
To help allow the more than 135,000 residents of The Villages retirement community in Florida stay at home during COVID-19, Matternet and UPS began delivering CVS Pharmacy prescriptions via drone starting in early May. Shortly thereafter, the company announced that they had received first-ever approval by the FAA to begin durability and reliability testing for its M2 cargo delivery units, which will establish eligibility for use by commercial air carriers.
Pivot Bio announced the close of its $100M Series C round. With this funding, Pivot Bio will accelerate plans to scale its first-to-market microbial nitrogen technology to increase crop yield and farmer revenue; aid in the decrease of greenhouse gas emissions, water pollution, and global energy required to power the global synthetic nitrogen fertilizer market; and help farmers shrink their use of synthetic nitrogen fertilizer by at least 100 million metric tons over the coming decade.
JUST announced a partnership with national foodservice leader Michael Foods to manufacture and distribute their products. This partnership will unlock reduced production costs–from 18 cents to 13 cents per egg equivalent by the end of 2020–and expand the presence of JUST products to Michael Foods’ network of stadiums, healthcare facilities, campus dining halls, and quickserve chains. JUST also celebrated the sale of their 40,000,000th egg equivalent–all made from plants, and all using significantly fewer natural resources than their hen’s egg counterparts.
|Other Portfolio Company News|
|–Truvian launched their Easy Check COVID-19 IgM/IgC antibody test, enabling onsite, at-scale testing with results available in 10 minutes.|
–NuMat Technologies is playing a significant role in making hydrogen-powered vehicles the preferred transportation solution of the future by creating a product that can hold and release large quantities of the gas at low pressure and cost. A single gram of the aluminum-based material has the surface area the size of a football field.
-At a time when innovation and collaboration are essential but physical separation is necessary, Strateos demonstrated how critical developments in research can be accomplished via the cloud.
–HelixNano shifted their entire focus and operations from building a cancer vaccine to inventing a COVID-19 vaccine in less than one week.
Return to News