Applications for San Francisco (Batch 12) extended through September 15th, 2021!

Busting Top Manufacturing Myths at Unexpected Biotech

The future is in fermentation, but what does that mean to benchtop scientists who want to produce consumer or therapeutic products at industrial scale? During the IndieBio-produced event, Unexpected Biotech, IndieBio NY Managing Director Stephen Chambers spoke with Stuart Wilkinson, Co-Founder and Technology Director of BioBrew. The conversation broke down several myths of startup scale up.

See the future of biotech at IndieBio Demo Days!

Myth 1: There is no such thing as a universal best microbial fermenter.

Question: What is the best microbial system to produce biological products via fermentation?

Answer: There isn’t one ‘ideal’ system.

Instead, the best microbial host for recombinant expression must be decided for each use case. “Being locked into a certain host system because of familiarity with it is the wrong approach,” says Wilkinson. 

All hosts have strengths and weaknesses: for example, bacteria grow quickly but are susceptible to phage infection, especially at the industrial scale. Slower growing hosts like filamentous fungi require more time to ferment but also more time to develop the ideal production strain. Startups should consider expression levels and determine the titers that they want to produce. 

Myth 2: Scale up is much more complicated than most people appreciate.

“Microtiter plates are great for screening and high throughput experiments, but not really representative of industrial scale,” says Wilkinson. “Industrial food biotech and yeast systems are 100,000-500,000 liters; microtiter plates have very little in common in the process or dynamics that mimic those systems.”

If one’s aspiration is to go from a microtiter plate to industrial scale, the best strategy is to use a downscaling system. Rather than going upward in incremental steps, decide the aspirational scale. This will help define the physical/chemical parameters that are the constraints, and incremental experiments can be planned backwards for a pilot scale, lab scale, and (“if you’re capable and clever enough,” says Wilkinson), the microtiter scale.

Downscaling helps ward off the glass ceilings that many startups see when upscaling: technical problems that they can’t break through that can be amplified into potentially big problems when reaching industrial scale.

Myth 3: Downstream processing is more than an afterthought.

When people start to design strain and process combinations, it’s often strain engineering first, then fermentation, and then downstream processing to collect the product. “You’ve really got to look at this more holistically and think of the entire process as one,” says Wilkinson.

Myth 4: The ‘scale-up savior syndrome.’

Many startups assume that equipment and processes will be more efficient at higher scale. Wilkinson says, “ultimately, if your strain and process don’t work at a lab scale, it’s highly unlikely it will work at industrial scale.”

Think of scale-up as the opportunity to fine-tune and optimize processes, rather than solve problems. Have a line-of-sight techno-economic viability at the lab and pilot scale before considering demonstration and industrial scale. 

Ultimately, “this goes back to the modeling,” says Wilkinson. Bring in the cost of goods at the scale you aim to produce. This provides a baseline and if your theoretical practice fails to meet the breakpoint, you can expect challenges ahead. “Models are fantastic, and I wouldn’t do any work without strong models,” says WIlkinson, “but models are only as strong as the assumptions you make and the data you plug into those models. There’s no substitute for real-world data.”

Find more insights from the IndieBio-produced event, Unexpected Biotech

Unexpected Biotech

New York biotechnology is building the world of tomorrow and improving human and planetary health. IndieBio NY hosted “Unexpected Biotech: Innovative Technologies Emerging from New York Life Sciences,” to showcase the many sectors in which biology can be turned into technology.

Summaries and recordings from the event are linked below.

See the future of biotech at IndieBio Demo Days!

Innovation Success Stories: Building Big Biotech in New York

Review the session here

Hear how one New York biotech company leveraged previously undiscovered connections between the brain and the gut, in this fireside chat with the CEO of Kallyope.

Speakers
  • Michael Aberman, SOSV
  • Nancy Thornberry, Kallyope

Manufacturing in the New Bioeconomy

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The manufacturing industry is undergoing a radical shift. Hear how New York is leading the change in bioproduction.

Speakers
  • Stephen Chambers, SOSV
  • Stuart Wilkinson, BioBrew
  • Will Canine, Opentrons

Building Greener with Biology

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Biotech creates the opportunity to build a more sustainable infrastructure and eliminate our dependence on petrochemicals. Learn which industries are shifting, which are ripe for disruption, and how partnering for growth can lead to success.

Speakers
  • Gwen Cheni, SOSV
  • Suzanne Lee, Biofabricate
  • Eben Bayer, Ecovative Design and Atlast Foods

The Future of New York Biotechnology

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New York offers biotechnology companies unmatched access to top talent, financing, and technical capabilities. Join this discussion as two biotechnology companies discuss what the city has to offer and what they need out of a tech base.

Speakers
  • Po Bronson, SOSV
  • Matias Muchnick, NotCo
  • Alex Lorestani, Geltor

Climate Tech Investing

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New York Venture Capital is committed to creating a healthier planet. Listen to the investor perspective on the most promising life science technologies in this space.

Speakers
  • Sean O’Sullivan, SOSV
  • Dan Altschuler Malek, Unovis Asset Management
  • Lauren Rodriguez, ZX Ventures

Announcing IndieBio 2021 Demo Days

Announcing IndieBio Demo Days:

Two days to showcase the IndieBio classes and the amazing work accomplished throughout the four-month IndieBio program.

Rewatch IndieBio New York Demo Day: broadcast June 22, 2021

Rewatch IndieBio San Francisco Demo Day: July 15, 2021

IndieBio startups are founded by some of the most creative, ingenious, and fantastical people on earth. Our founders bet everything they have on their abilities to improve the world using science. The current batches, IndieBio NY 02 and IndieBio SF 11, founded their companies in the midst of a global pandemic, determined to advance their technologies and business models in our post-COVID world. IndieBio is proud to present the advancements these companies have made in our two distinct Demo Days.

Diptera.ai: Fighting Mosquitoes with Mosquitoes

Diptera.ai combines computer vision and deep biological knowledge to fight mosquitoes and their diseases. We spoke with CEO Vic Levitin about Diptera.ai’s solution to the mosquito problem.

Watch and read an abbreviated version of the conversation below.

What is the mosquito problem?

Mosquitoes are the most dangerous animal alive: they kill nearly a million humans every year and infect 700 million more with diseases like Zika virus, malaria, and yellow fever.

The mosquito problem is a spreading one. Thanks to climate change, the mosquito-friendly habitat is expanding. By the year 2050, half the world’s population will be living among mosquito infected areas. 

There are no vaccines or treatments to most of the mosquito-borne diseases, and the solutions to control mosquito populations depend mostly on pesticides; this uses chemicals that are toxic to both humans and the environment. These are quickly losing their productivity because the mosquitoes are becoming resistant to these insecticides.

Why has Sterile Insect Technique failed to address the mosquito problem?

Sterile Insect Technique, or SIT, relies on one beautiful fact: male mosquitoes mate repeatedly while females mate only once. Based on this concept, when you release large quantities of sterile male mosquitoes, they mate with wild females and there are no progeny, diluting and depleting the population.

This is the core of the technique, but it isn’t new; SIT has been around since the mid-1940s. It’s been widely used for other types of insects, but there’s been a major bottle neck with implementing this technique for mosquitoes: you want to be very precise to release only sterilized male mosquitoes. Only the female mosquitoes take bloodmeals; if you release any females, they can still bite and transmit disease. You want to be as close to 100% accuracy in releasing only males.

Another problem is the sex sorting of mosquitoes at the adult stage, which is what is currently done. Adults are fragile and have a short lifespan, so they are difficult to ship. You need a facility to grow, set, and ship, which is why this technique, although very promising, is not being widely implemented. It’s just super expensive at the moment.

What has Diptera.ai innovated in mosquito sex-sorting technologies?

We developed a technology to sex sort mosquitoes much earlier, in the larval stage. At this stage, the mosquitoes are much more robust, and they have about 2 weeks prior to becoming adults. That’s 2 weeks that we could ship all over the world.

Sorting at the larval stage allows us to introduce a new business model to the industry, where instead of having to build your own facility, we can ship sterile mosquitoes to you and use sterile insect technique as a service.

How does your team have the unique ability to build this technology?

I’m fortunate to be joined by 2 co-founders that are exponentially smarter than I am. Each of them brings along more than 15 years of experience in their own fields. 

Elly Ordan has been working with insects for his entire adult life, so he really knows his stuff when it comes to insects. He brings a unique knowledge of how to recognize differences between males and females at the larval stage. Ariel Livne is an expert in automation and optics, and he translates Elly’s mind into an artificial intelligence and an automated machine. 

Who will Diptera.ai’s customers be?

The current annual spending on mosquito control in the US is $2.5 billion dollars. The private market spends $2 billion, and half a billion is spent by mosquito control districts. Because existing solutions are toxic and inefficient, we estimate a $15 billion untapped market in the US alone.

This estimate is based on the fact that out of 80 million households with private lawns, half of them already have a mosquito problem, and only about 2 million households are buying mosquito control. The rest have basically given up on their outdoors during the mosquito season.

We offer an effective and sustainable solution at a comparable price. Our strategy is to start from the mosquito control districts, as they have both successful experience with SIT for agricultural pests and immediately available budgets. To that end, we have an LOI from a major US mosquito control district. We’ll then expand to the residential market, where we have signed an LOI with one of the largest mosquito control companies in the US.

How do you imagine Diptera.ai will grow as the SIT technologies matures?

At this point, we’ve spoken to dozens of experts from all around the world: from the U.S., from Asia, South America, South Africa and the Gulf Coast. For us, it’s clear that SIT will be implemented widely and will be a default mosquito control solution. It’s important to say it won’t be a silver bullet: you still need other methods as well, practices like eliminating still water, and educate the community not to leave open water containers, and so on. But it’s really not a question of if SIT will be implemented, it’s a matter of when and who will do it. We believe we hold the key to unlock scale for the sterile insect technique and essentially create this industry.

See Diptera.AI pitch at IndieBio New York’s Demo Day here.

Cayuga: Treating All Forms of Bleeding

Cayuga Biotech is a preclinical therapeutics company whose lead compound, CAY001, shows promise to change the way that severe bleeding episodes are treated. We spoke with CEO Damien Kudela, who explained the science and path forward for Cayuga.

Watch and read an abbreviated version of the conversation below.

How did you transition from academia to biotech entrepreneur?

I had never envisioned an academic route for my career and by the time I was done, I was looking for a new way to apply my scientific knowledge. Cayuga was seeded by a conversation I had in my 4th year of my Ph.D., where someone said that there was a real need for this technology and I should think about creating a company to advance it. Since we’d already been in the early stages of patenting my thesis and the CAY001 drug, I figured ‘I’ve already been a starving grad student; why not go be a starving entrepreneur as well?’

How do platelets work with polyphosphate to promote clotting, and where does CAY001 fit in?

If you think of a clot as a brick-and-mortar material, the platelets form the bricks. There’s a second compound called fibrinogen which is the mortar. That constitutes the physical clot. 

The problem becomes how to get that brick wall to plug the wound. Polyphosphate is produced by platelets and is essentially a catalyst for clot formation, a molecule whose job it is to speed things up. Adding polyphosphate helps the clot to form more quickly, which enables the clot to shut off the bleeding more quickly.

Bleeding causes a lot of negative outcomes for patients, so stopping the bleeding has many benefits. Not only are you saving their lives by reducing blood loss, but you can actually reduce the time it takes for them to heal as well. 

Bleeding causes a lot of negative outcomes for patients, so stopping the bleeding has many benefits. Not only are you saving their lives by reducing blood loss, but you can actually reduce the time it takes for them to heal as well. 

 

How does CAY001 differ from other pro-clotting drugs available?

Typically, many currently available drugs are recombinant factors that are either direct mimics of endogenous proteins or slight alterations of these same proteins. 

The issue with bleeding and clotting is that they are two sides of a seesaw. Typically, a patient is balanced flat but when they get injured, and start bleeding, the seesaw tips toward the dangerous effects of too much bleeding. Unfortunately, what can happen with recombinant drugs is that the balance remains out of whack; they can tip the seesaw in the other direction and they can have the dangerous effects of what’s called ‘throwing clots.’ 

This is a huge problem. All the drugs that treat bleeding currently have a black box label warning because of that. And doctors have to weigh a crucial decision in treating patients, asking whether the patient is critical enough to warrant the safety risk.

Using polyphosphate as a catalyst differs from these drugs because it has an effect on the rate, but it doesn’t affect the specific clotting factors present. For example, polyphosphate has its biggest effect on the clotting factor, thrombin. The patient doesn’t produce more thrombin. Polyphosphate has a more limited effect, so you can hopefully use it in a safer way.

What data support your hypothesis?

We’ve been looking at different tissues, specifically the lungs. This seems to be where a lot of nano-based drugs fail. Obviously, the liver is also a concern, because it plays such a huge role in clotting. And of course, the blood-brain barrier. 

What we’ve done is compared CAY001 to saline in a pig model. Pigs are hyper-clotters, so there was some evidence of clotting, but it was the same in both the saline and CAY001 drug-treated animals. That was likely the results of the pigs’ natural clotting cascade, but obviously, safety is the number one concern, especially in this field. The first question we’re always asked is, “is it safe?”

“Is it effective” is always the second question. We’re on the pathways and have very promising data that we’ve seen so far to lead us through safety, and the remaining IND-enabling studies as well as our clinical trials.

 

What will your clinical trials focus on for the first indication?

Until IndieBio, we were fully funded by DARPA and the Army. Obviously, bleeding is a huge problem on the battlefield and causes about 50% of deaths. There’s also a huge problem with bleeding here in the U.S., especially as patients age and may need to be prescribed anti-clotting drugs such as plavix or coumadin. The problem is that these patients are already in the clotting phase; they’re given anti-clotting drugs and they go back to a risk of bleeding. A lot of it is done because there is no treatment for bleeding.

There are other conditions where patients may benefit from a drug like CAY001. We’ve been focusing recently on platelet dysfunction. This could also benefit patients on chemotherapy who end up with thrombocytopenia, as well as patients who have congenital platelet disorders. We’ve identified a hemophilia-like genetic disease that affect platelets, as opposed to Factors 8 or 9. There’s a wide range of people who may benefit.

Obviously, everybody thinks the quantity of life is a major benefit, because bleeding can kill very quickly. Stopping a bleed also importantly enables patients to have a better quality of life, so they don’t have to worry about shaving or having an accident, whether the kitchen will be fatal. You can really help to give patients their life back.

 

Who is the Cayuga Biotech team?

I was at UC Santa Barbara, and the sole graduate student who really did any animal experiment at UC Santa Barbara was Kyle Ploetze. Kyle actually has a very good story of the first time we med; I’ll let him tell it another time. I ended up working with Kyle to test our new drug, and we hit it off while doing the test. The data worked well, and we got along well. Kyle and I jokingly refer to CAY001 as kind of our baby.

We were the two initial co-founders; in 2019, we needed to add a third person to do a lot of our quality controls. We were working on our manufacturing, and Nate, a postdoc at UC Santa Barbara, interviewed and we thought he was excellent, so brought him on board. It’s been excellent working together.

 

What are the next major milestones for Cayuga on the road ahead?

We had our first meeting with the FDA in May 2020, so we’ve gotten feedback. What we really need to do is finish our PK/PD and tox studies. These will help to figure how the drug is cleared and its toxicity; are there any adverse effects from the drug, what doses are safe, what doses are effective. Really, we need to determine it’s safe enough to move to human trials. We’re excited to present our data at Demo Day.

Learn more about Cayuga Biotech and all of IndieBio New York Class 1 companies at Demo Day.

BioFeyn: Making Eating Healthy Fish Sustainable

BioFeyn is a company that aims to make farmed fish a truly sustainable practice. We spoke with CEO Timothy Bouley to learn more about how nanotechnology can create better fish. 

Watch and read an abbreviated version of the conversation below.

What are the problems with current farmed fish practices?

There are many ingredients used in fish feed; the kind of fish that we eat most frequently are ocean predators, things like salmon. Salmon naturally eat other animals and so salmon feed often includes other fish; the fish in this feed is often caught from the open ocean, depleting wild populations and contributing to overfishing. The FIFO, which is the “fish in, fish out” ratio, for a species like salmon, that can be more than one. By putting more fish into the system than you’re producing, the system is not efficient.

There’s also an incredible amount of waste associated with this process due to the excess nutrients that are dumped into the fish pens, which then goes into the environment. Additionally, a lot of fish die, adding to environmental contamination.

BioFeyn is taking the latest science from human biomedicine and applying to the space of aquaculture, or farmed fish. Our team is unique in that each of us come from the world of human biomedicine—I’m a medical doctor, my cofounder Umberto is a nanotechnologist and our other cofounder Marie-Christine Imbert is a molecular biologist—and we are taking some of these latest technologies and simply applying them to the word of aquaculture, where there’s ample opportunity to scale up these biotechnological developments.

What can you tell us about your Feyn products?

Essentially it’s a capsule, on the nanoscale, that encapsulates existing ingredients, such as nutrients or medicines, that can be used in aquaculture to greatly increase their efficiency and improve overall sustainability in the field. Our Feyns are made of all natural ingredients, all already approved ingredients in this space.

We’re focussing on high-value ingredients that are already in fish food but are delivered very inefficiently. One example is omega-3 fatty acids; everyone knows that these are why we eat fish, to get the omega-3s and gain cardiovascular health and brain health. The problem is that salmon get omega-3 fatty acid by eating other fish. We can encapsulate it and include it in salmon feed, increasing feeding efficiency by an order of magnitude, tenfold. This increase in omega-3s is passed on to a customer that eats BioFeyn-treated fish feed.

We’re looking to encapsulate many different ingredients, part of how we determine what the characteristics of a successful Feyn. Number one, we look for things that are expensive. Number two, ingredients that are marine-derived that have a secondary, more sustainable means of production. 

For example, previously omega-3s have come from smaller fish to the salmon, but the natural environmental source of omega-3 fatty acids is in fact algae, and the smaller fish that eat algae pass that up the food chain, eventually reaching salmon. New ingredient companies are farming algae, and these omega-3s can be taken directly from algae and inserted into the fish feed, bypassing the need for wild-caught fish. The problem is that these omega-3s can be very expensive, and our method increases the efficiency tenfold. We can make it cost effective to use an ingredient that benefits fish, farmer, and consumer.

We can make it cost effective to use an ingredient that benefits fish, farmer, and consumer.

How will BioFeyn get its product to the fish?

There are many different ways to address this, one of which is going directly to feed producers; these folks have global reach to the farmers of the world. There are many, many tens of thousands of fish farmers, shrimp farmers, crustacean farmers around the world, and there are many, many fewer feed producers. Working directly with the feed producers is the most efficient way to reach as many farmers as possible.

That said, there is a path to working with farmers either individually or through trade organizations that represent a number of farmers and developing specialized products for farmers. 

What other products might BioFeyn use its technology to produce?

We have a roadmap for how our platform technology, where our nanocapsules can encapsulate a number of different ingredients. That includes probiotics, essential oils, that includes medicines that are approved in aquaculture. This is really key: there are a lot of medicines that work for some of the trickier fish diseases that are heavily regulated and can, of course, cause environmental pollution; with our technology, we can massively increase the efficiency and reduce the amount needed.

Down the horizon, in the future, we imagine encapsulating antigens as well, with some potential to developing vaccines. So you know, basically the spectrum of aquatic animal health that we think can be addressed with our encapsulation technology. We anticipate the technology will reach a point where it is fully modular and we have recipes for any challenge in this space, whether it be nutritional or infectious.

The ocean is the lifeblood of all life on Earth. All humans are three-quarters salt water. We came out of the ocean and there’s so much that can be done with understanding the marine environment and combining it with the latest biotechnologies that can be used for human and oceanic health.

Learn more about BioFeyn and all of IndieBio New York Class 1 companies at Demo Day.

Biomage: Making Single-Cell Sequencing Data Accessible to Research Biologists

Biomage is a computational biology company with a unique software that allows scientists to explore the multiverse of human cells through single-cell sequencing. We spoke with CEO Adam Kurkiewicz about the ability to turn every biologist into a bioinformatician.

Watch and read an abbreviated version of the conversation below.

How is single-cell transcriptomics changing biomedicine?

Single-cell transcriptomics, or single-cell sequencing, is a relatively recently discovered method, and is used to really understand what’s happening inside living organisms at the level of individual cells. This is something I like to compare to the invention of the light microscope when scientists were for the first time able to look at individual cells. Single-cell sequencing gives us the ability to look at individual cells, from the inside. It’s a unique capability that has only emerged in the past couple of years.

This technology is not specific to just one type of biomedical researcher, but is used throughout many fields of biology, including prominently cancer research, cardiovascular research, and developmental biology.

What problem in bioinformatics is Biomage solving for researchers?

One of the biggest challenges in applying single-cell transcriptomics is that it will be difficult to scale the technology to every biologist who wants to use it. At Biomage, we make it possible for every biologist to analyze a single-cell dataset without having to develop the really, really elite expertise that has been required so far to carry out such analysis. 

We do this by effectively removing a step: the process where the files created from analysis of a sample of tissue are normally first worked on by a research bioinformatician. We remove that step entirely by automating the research bioinformatician and making it possible for biologists to become the bioinformatician themselves. This benefits not just the cost efficiency, but it’s also quicker: quicker to iterate, quicker to test the hypothesis directly. It also removes the potential issues with miscommunication and knowledge transfer between 2 different fields, biology and bioinformatics. 

What are the benefits of empowering biologists to analyze single-cell transcriptomics?

We are significantly cutting down the amount of time required to carry out such analysis. Typical single-cell analysis using a bioinformatician working part-time takes between 3-6 months to deliver the level of insight that is required for a publication in a high-profile journal. Our aim as a company is to bring that process down to a week or two of hand-on analysis by the biologist directly with the software. 

The bulk of the cost savings is specifically eliminating reliance on a consulting service or partnership with a qualified bioinformatician. There is some additional cost reduction in how we handle the data and how we can process the data by a close integration with the core facilities where the sequencing actually happens to make it more cost effective to process the data and carry out the computational aspects of the analysis as well.

Scientists need excellent software. It’s often treated as an afterthought or something that is only a small part of research grants.

Who will your initial customers be, and will this change as you iterate the product?

We’ll work first with core facilities. Those at core facilities are happy to partner with us because working together, we can actually deliver the biggest value to their customers: the researchers. We can free the core facilities staff for work on the truly creative and difficult aspects of the field. In a core facility, there are typically bioinformaticians who are taking care of as many as 50 projects; they really need the ability to cope with the analytical needs of that many projects efficiently. By bringing the time down to 1-2 weeks, we make it possible for bioinformaticians to effectively do their job, so they’re very happy to partner with us. 

On both sides of the Atlantic, both in the U.K. and in the U.S., the core facilities have been overwhelmingly positive and we expect these partnerships to further expand into other core facilities and to grow stronger by closely integrating together.

The bulk of the users and the real impact of the software that we’re building is going to most likely come from other sectors, including pharmaceutical research and biotechs. Our plan is to initially target the academic customers as a way to validate our technology and get an initial beachhead and enter into this space. For the next stage, we’re going to target biotech and pharmaceutical companies—they’re the next customer.

What provided you with unique insight into this problem?

My journey started on the other side of programming, computer programming and mathematics. I worked a short time in Skyscanner, a software company where I understood what social engineering is like and understood how software can be used to solve real-life issues and help people to accomplish major tasks.

The biological side came a bit later. To have a really impactful professional life, I wanted to come at it closer to human health and so I enrolled in a Ph.D. program at the University of Glasgow, where I ended up doing bioinformatics. I managed to find a way to merge my scientific interests with my software engineering interests! While a Ph.D. student, I realized that there was a really big need for bioinformaticians among biologists I worked with, so I started offering such analysis as a consulting service. 

With my co-founders Marcel and Iva, we quickly realized that it would be impossible for us to cope with the demands. The most impactful way to allocate our efforts would actually be to build a software solution to solve the difficult problem of the alignment biologists to understand single-cell data. 

Scientists need excellent software. It’s often treated as an afterthought or something that is only a small part of research grants. Through conversations with senior colleagues and in academia, I realized the best way to realize the mission of building really great software that can help was by creating a company.

What does the future hold in store for Biomage?

We would like everybody to be able to use Biomage as their solution of choice for single-cell data analytics and expand into other technologies such as spatial transcriptomics. We hope to dominate the landscape for single-cell data analytics.

Learn more about Biomage and all of IndieBio New York Class 1 companies at Demo Day.

Brightcure: Reviving, Restoring, and Replenishing a Woman’s Intimate Microbiome.

Brightcure is a company dedicated to improving women’s health. We asked Brightcure CEO Chiara Heide questions about the first product, a bioactive cream that promotes a healthy microbiome in a woman’s urogenital tract. 

Watch and read an abbreviated version of the conversation below.

Your personal story lends a lot of motivation. Will you please share it?

I personally suffered from chronic urinary tract infections, caused by harmful bacteria that enter the bladder and cause an infection. However, I’m not alone; every second woman worldwide suffers from these infections, and many are my friends and family.

I was super frustrated with the treatment situation because urinary tract infections are basically treated by antibiotics. There aren’t validated alternatives available and antibiotic resistance is now much more common. What that means is that many women experience a vicious cycle, to constantly contract infections and subsequently constantly take antibiotics. 

This is not a sustainable solution; it’s bad for the immune system and the natural microbiota. Antibiotics destroy the microbiome of your vaginal flora, and create many side effects, including making it more likely to get another infection because you don’t have the good bacteria in your intimate area anymore. Because of my frustration with this situation, I used my scientific background to look into new solutions. 

Tell us about Brightcure’s unique solution.

It’s very exciting: we basically found a good bacterium and we can use a good actor to fight the bad bacteria. Our bacterium is one that naturally exists on some healthy individuals and animals and can also be found in nature. There is nothing externally introduced.

This bacterium specifically fights the bad bacteria, but it does not affect the good bacteria of the urogenital tract, so it’s perfect for the intimate care area, because it balances your vaginal flora.

By fighting these bad bacteria, it gives the good bacteria room to colonize the vaginal area. This is what balances and promotes the good bacteria in the intimate area.

Is there risk of resistance developing to this solution?

There have been decades of research conducted with this bacteria and there is no associated risk with it. There has been extensive animal research around it and also testing in different human cells, and it has been in no way negative at all. 

This good bacterial strain basically eats the bad bacteria that cause these recurrent urinary tract infections. These normally travel from the rectum to infect the vaginal area. Our strain sees and kills bad bacteria, but it does not affect the good bacteria, those like Lactobacillus that promote vaginal flora. It is very targeted. 

How will women have access to Brightcure’s cream?

We are using this bacterium in our cream. It will be an intimate cream sold as a cosmetic cream that women apply externally to their intimate area; our bacterium is in that cream.

The cream will be sold as a cosmetic, making it a consumer product that women can easily access. We have a newsletter on our website to get the latest updates on our product development and our product itself. We also have a list where you can sign up for pre-launch notification if you are really keen on the product. We’ll have the product ready next year (2021).

We aim to destigmatize the conversation around intimate health. The community aspect is really important for me, because there’s not enough awareness around UTIs and the stress levels around chronic infection. It has a huge impact on women’s life.

To make the claim specifically around preventing UTIs, we will be partnering with clinicians and healthcare providers for rigorous clinical studies. These will allow us to make more specific claims about efficacy in the future.

How does this cream promote a healthy intimate microbiome? 

By fighting these bad bacteria, it gives the good bacteria room to colonize the vaginal area. This is what balances and promotes the good bacteria in the intimate area.

How will Brightcure change women’s intimate health in the future?

I hope to create a huge supportive Brightcure community, who uses our products. I hope we can reduce their suffering and bring back happiness to their everyday life with less stress. I hope we raise awareness for UTI and UTI patients because it has a major impact on a woman’s life, as well as how important the vaginal flora is to boost one’s immune system.

Learn more about Brightcure and all of IndieBio New York Class 1 companies at Demo Day.

Multus Media: Enabling the Food of the Future

Multus Media is a company producing the key ingredient to allow cultivated meat to become affordable and accessible to everyone. We spoke to CEO Cai Linton about his entrepreneurial journey.

Watch and read a lightly edited version of the conversation below.

What is cultivated meat?

Conventional meat and cultivated meat actually produce the same end product. They both produce burgers, sausages, steaks, and fillets. The difference between the two is the production system. Instead of producing these meats through an animal, all we do with cultivated meat is to take a cellular sample from an animal without having to kill the animal. It’s grown in bioreactors, similar to how we brew beer, but using these cells instead of yeast. The cells are then packaged into meats to create the same product.

Cultivated meat processes solve the environmental and ethical problems associated with meat consumption, to alleviate the environmental damage and greenhouse gas production associated with livestock and conventional agriculture, as well as the heavy antibiotic use, large areas of rainforest cut down to support livestock, and microplastic contamination, among other problems. Within bioreactors, you’re only producing the meat that will actually build and eat, by feeding them the exact nutrients and supporting their growth environment with very little waste.

Why isn’t cultivated meat available at the market?

My co-founders and I wondered what challenges stood in front of producing cultivated meat at high scale. We kept seeing again and again that the biggest bottleneck that is preventing this industry from commercializing is the cost of production—specifically, the cost of the growth media.

The cost of growth media takes up more than 80% of production costs right now, and current solutions are more tailored to pharmaceutical products. There isn’t a solution that not only uses animal-free components but is able to reach the performance scale and cost requirements of the cultivated meat industry.

What is different about how Multus Media creates growth nutrients?

Most media contain serum derived from animal blood, which is used in biomedical research or biopharmaceutical production to grow mammalian cells. Serum contains a concoction of proteins and salts and other nutrients that mimic the growth environment, and in that sense, it is very good.

The downside of serum is that it is an unethical byproduct of the livestock industry. It’s not very scalable and also offers batch-to-batch variability, which isn’t good when you’re trying to produce a consistent product at scale. 

What we’re doing is taking these components that exist within animal serum and producing them without animals.

What we’re doing is taking these components that exist within animal serum and producing them without animals. We use yeast as a production system, again similar to how beer is brewed, but our yeast produce specific proteins. We then combine the proteins and other factors into formulations that make it a similar growth-promoting substance, but in a way that can be scaled and doesn’t use animal components.

Conventional serum-free media that exists is designed for a very specific use case using highly purified individual ingredients. This makes existing media both not useful for looking at a number of cell types and also very expensive.

What is your first product and what does it do?

We’re initially creating a universal serum for mammalian cells, Proliferum M. Not only will this benefit bovine, but also sheep or porcine cells as well. We can take a step further and look specifically at either individual cell lines or a group of cell lines that a cultivated meat company may be using, and so tailor our media for this specific use case.

We’re optimizing formulation today to give high performance across a number of different variants within a million cells, as well as low cost. 

Our products after that will be expanded into products that support chicken and duck as well. Then, also different types of seafood. We’re looking toward developing products for those different types and seeing what we can do to innovate novel proteins.

What is novel about the Multus Media approach?

We’re working in an area that hasn’t been researched much in the biomedical sphere: the ability to identify the key components for cultured meat and to bring these components in a way that is a real solution.

What we’re doing with our protein engineering is taking these natural proteins and changing a few amino acids within a sequence to enhance their performance characteristics. This will benefit the industry by effectively increasing the performance of the growth media, which will reduce the amount (and expense!) of growth factor components that you need. We’re excited to showcase the performance of our medium at Demo Day!

What is your hope for the future of Multus Media and the cultivated meat industry?

In 5 years, I hope that cultivated meat has really started to make an impact on the traditional meat industry and is available to mass, mass amounts of people. By starting early, we hope Multus Media is in a position where we can service the whole industry and start increasing scale. We’ll be looking at our production of products across the line, replacing for different parts of the production process. The initial stem cells may need different serum than cells differentiated into muscles or connective tissue, but all products will need to allow the whole industry to commercialize at a profitable price point. 

Learn more about Multus Media and all of IndieBio New York Class 1 companies at Demo Day.

Halomine: Making Every Surface an Antimicrobial Surface

Halomine is a company revolutionizing the way we disinfect surfaces. We asked Halomine CEO, Ted Eveleth, to tell us about the first product, Halofilm. 

Watch and read an abbreviated version of the conversation below.

What is your first product, Halofilm, and what does it do?

Halofilm is a very versatile product that allows you to turn almost any surface into an antimicrobial surface. It puts a semipermanent film down on a surface that sticks to both the surface and the chlorine. So in your normal habits of cleaning and disinfecting when you’re using a chlorinated product, the chlorine will last on a surface longer than normal.

Normally, chlorine and almost any active ingredient disappears fairly quickly. What we do is make it stick to the surface to provide continuous protection against pathogens, turning that surface into a continuous pathogen-killing machine, essentially.

How does Halofilm work?

There are 2 molecules required to make Halofilm work. One monomer sticks to the surface; it’s like an adhesive. This is a bio-inspired adhesive derived from muscles; it’s what muscles use to stick to almost anything in an aquatic environment. 

The other is an n-halamine (where we get our name), which is a molecule that interacts with chlorine. Normally, chlorine disappears from the surface. An n-halamine holds chlorine in a covalent bond until pathogens come along, and the chlorine then has a preference for the pathogen, where it kills the pathogen.

Where are major opportunities to use Halofilm?

There are a lot of application spaces: one important space is a hospital. We don’t want to cut back on disinfecting or sanitizing practices in a hospital; what we’re looking to do is to cut back hospital-acquired infections. Halofilm is something that would be used in addition to bleach-containing cleaning agents currently being used. The hope is that it could prevent either hospital-acquired infections or, more relevant these days, is reduce the COVID-19 spread.

Pretty much everything being used in the hospital right now is temporary. It seems very normal to us, but essentially it’s like mowing your lawn. You mow your lawn, it’s the right height. You let it grow for a while, you mow again. In between, the grass gets longer than you might want it. It’s the same with disinfecting: it’s a liquid that kills everything but between treatments, the disinfectant is gone. That provides pathogens the opportunity to land upon those surfaces and take hold, and to be transmitted between people that touch those surfaces. We’re essentially trying to continuously mow the lawn to keep it at the same height and turn periodic disinfection into continuous disinfection.

We’re looking at a lot of institutional uses, ranging from mass transit, cruise ships, hospitals, jails, schools, and office buildings. We originally started thinking we’d go after food processing, packaging and prep to prevent mold as well.

What types of microorganisms is Halofilm effective against?

We have an enormous amount of data on bacteria. We have a recently approved NSF grant that they turned around in record time for the NSF so that we can extend our studies to viruses.

We have done some testing to show that we can deter mold for 30 days. Essentially, once you have a film of chlorine on that surface, it will prevent anything from growing on it or taking over or creating a biofilm.

How safe are HaloFilm and chlorine-coated surfaces?

HaloFilm is extremely safe; we’re only keeping the same amount of chlorine on a surface as you would find in a pool. In fact, we can use the same dipstick to test for chlorine on a surface as you can use in a pool to measure the amount of chlorine. It doesn’t take much chlorine to be effective because it’s so potent against pathogens. It’s very hard to get the chlorine off the surface and you’d have to come into intimate contact with it. When you touch the surface, you’re not having intimate contact because the surface is rough and the finger has fingerprints, creating gaps in contact.

If you went to look microscopically at almost any surface, it would look more like a mountain range than a flat piece of glass. The polymer that makes up HaloFilm actually gets down into these crevices and holds a smaller amount of chlorine where those pathogens will go to hide, which is why it is so effective and yet safe. We’re covering the valleys in chlorine that your finger could never touch but that tiny pathogens can hide in.

Learn more about Halomine and all of IndieBio New York Class 1 companies at Demo Day.

Allied Microbiota: Using Natural Microbes to Eliminate Toxic Waste

Allied Microbiota is a company using bacteria that literally eat pollution for lunch to clean contaminated soils and turn brownfields into green fields. We spoke with CEO Lauralynn Kourtz about the discovery of the Allied Microbiota strain, ThermO+™.

Watch and read an abbreviated version of the conversation below.

What compounds are in contaminated soils and how did they get there?

Many toxic compounds are the results of industrial processes. For example, a chemical plant or electrical plant may produce residues; these compounds would be really difficult ones, such as polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) or petroleum-based compounds like polyaromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). They can persist for decades, up to hundreds of years; these compounds have been designed to be really incredibly stable and persist a long time.

How does Allied Microbiota use its ThermO+™ strain to clean contaminated soils?

ThermO+™ is a pretty amazing microbe. It’s a natural microbe, yet it has the ability to break down really tough compounds like PAHs and PCBs. ThermO+™ effectively eats these compounds for lunch; it will take a compound, break the carbon-carbon bonds, and then use that compound to make a building block for cells to grow. The only byproducts are water, CO2, and that’s about it. 

ThermO+™ is a natural microbe, but it can degrade these compounds that have been made by man. It was discovered by my co-founder, Ray Sambrotto, who scoured the globe while looking for solutions to these contamination problems. He discovered ThermO+™ and developed ways that we can grow it, make larger amounts of it, so that we can then deliver it to remove these contaminants.

To decontaminate soils, we add ThermO+™, provide it with the necessary ingredients it needs to live—heat, oxygen, and nutrients—and then it breaks down the contaminants. And ThermO+™ really loves heat; as soon as you bring the temperature down to normal temperatures, it won’t grow and the natural microbes in the soil will outcompete ThermO+™.

Working with a commercial partner, we’ve shown we can treat soil on the ton scale in ex situ soil very, very rapidly.

How is contaminated soil treated?

There are 2 ways to treat contaminated soil. One is ex situ, where someone actually comes and takes the soil away back to a facility where it can be decontaminated using various processes. In situ soil treatment is directly on the site of contamination. 

These soils can be treated using various processes, one of which is thermal treatment: incinerating it to remove the contaminants. You have to heat it up to about 400 degrees Celsius; that will remove some of the contaminants and other techniques such as oxidation will oxidize the contaminants into something less harmful. Probably the most effective solution is incineration, where you burn dirt at 1800 degrees. That takes a lot of energy and requires you to dig up the soil, chuck it in an incinerator, and create significant greenhouse gas emissions. ThermO+™ is not only much more sustainable, it’s much less costly.

What opportunities exist to treat contaminated soils?

There are over 450,000 Brownfield sites in the U.S and over 1300 Superfund sites; these are EPA-designated toxic sites. Together, they contain about 100 billion tons of toxic soil—enough to cover New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania one-foot deep with soil that is toxic to you and me.

I previously worked across the street from a contaminated site in Boston. It was empty for decades, which is unheard of in Boston. It was considered worthless, because it was toxic. When it was cleaned up, the Genzyme Center was built, and today it’s worth over half a billion dollars and thousands of people work there. 

A lot of the Superfund sites are in urban areas, the results of industrial processes which powered the creation of these towns; many of these sites are within the hearts of cities.

What does the future look like for Allied Microbiota?

I hope Allied Microbiota and ThermO+™ become the go-to solution to clean up the soil contaminants and air and water contaminants, and that as we scale, the technology will become much more accessible to people. Right now, people and developers and companies and towns decide based on financial factors that they can’t afford to clean up a site, and it stays vacant. As the technology grows, it will become accessible so that those decisions are shifted to yes, they can clean this up and it can become a productive area of town.

Learn more about Allied Microbiota and all of IndieBio New York Class 1 companies at Demo Day.

Introducing IndieBio San Francisco Class 10 and New York Class 1

IndieBio – now operating out of both San Francisco and New York – is proud to announce our new batches of startups. This is New York’s first batch, and San Francisco’s tenth. Though we are running the program virtually for now, all of the startups have secured access to lab and hardware space as needed. The challenge has only increased our focus to make sure these startups’ potentials are not compromised. The familiar feel of communal support and trust is bringing us all together. The transformation from scientists to entrepreneurs has begun and will continue. 

Apply to be a part of the next IndieBio class

Introducing IndieBio SF Class 10

IndieBio SF Batch 10 logos

Asimica

A LEAP FORWARD IN MICROBIAL FERMENTATION 

Biomanufacturing through fermentation is becoming a huge industry, driving growth in foods, materials, fuels, biochemicals, and pharma. One of its biggest challenges is that when microbial factories are maximized for output, the stress causes genetic drift – these are known as “escape mutations.” The microbes’ yield falls, then collapses. Production has to be restarted, and days are lost. First reported in Nature Chemical Biology, Asimica has a novel way to bring stem-like properties to microbes, so that factory cells are continuously refreshed by younger, unmutated microbes. Asimica is selectively choosing fermentation partners to prove their impact.  

https://www.asimica.com/

Advanced Microbubbles

DRUG DELIVERY ACROSS TUMOR AND BRAIN BARRIERS

Getting drugs through the tumor barrier and across the blood brain barrier is a well-known, major challenge for medicine. Advanced Microbubbles uses tiny uniform bubbles, which they agitate with ultrasound at the site of a tumor, to open up the barriers so drugs can enter locally. Their bubbles can be delivered alongside the desired drug, or conjugated to many drugs. 

www.advancedmicrobubbles.com

Carbix

RAPID CO2 SEQUESTRATION / CONCRETE

Carbix turns our built urban world into sinks for CO2. Their novel bioreactor takes enriched CO2 from power and cement plants and in just hours converts it into cement and aggregates for the $900 billion construction industry, and home and yard goods for consumers looking to support the environment with their purchasing power. This technology enables sequestered CO2 to go into long term storage and high-value goods rather than being injected underground. Carbix can sell state and federal carbon credits as a result of their impact on industrial emissions.

http://www.carbixcorp.com

Cybele

NEXT-GEN NATURAL COSMETICS

As people age, their skin stops producing natural moisturizers like hyaluronic acid and ceramides. These tighten the skin, prevent age spots, and retain moisture. Synthetic and animal-based versions are the most common additives to cosmetic products. Cybele has an alternative, natural approach. Their products harness the skin biome, causing it to express these same highly-desired moisturizers, in much higher and efficacious quantities. Beyond moisturizers, they can express natural scents, natural insect repellants, and many more. 

www.cybelemicrobiome.com

Ivy Natal

THE FUTURE OF FERTILITY

Ivy Natal is developing a novel process to create healthy human egg cells from skin cells, giving women the confidence in their ability to choose whether and when to have a child. Many fertility patients cannot have children except through the use of donor eggs. This can be due to surgery, chemotherapy, maternal age, or genetic conditions. Ivy Natal aims to enable these parents to have genetic children for the first time. 

https://www.ivynatal.com/

Khepra

RENEWABLE ENERGY / STORAGE

Khepra is building reactors to harness the stored chemical energy of our common waste streams, such as plastics and biomass. Their reactor uses frictive heating, cavitation, and acoustic pressure to break the chemical bonds in waste with zero extraction. This releases renewable chemicals and fuels. Ultimately they aim to create a two-way market for wastes and renewables. They’ll also partner with wind and solar energy providers to turn excess daytime energy – currently curtailed – into revenue. 

www.khepra.net

Kraken Sense

REAL TIME FOOD & WATER SAFETY

Food and water contamination causes $77 billion in annual economic loss, just in the U.S. Recalls are not only expensive, they inflict real damage to brands’ reputation and scare consumers off entire product sectors. Kraken Sense is bringing real-time testing, with results in two minutes, to automated food and water systems, everywhere from the farms to kitchens. They are making an in-line autonomous device with refillable, single-use cartridges that employ carbon nanotubes magnetized with strain-specific antibodies to measure the concentration of pathogens, not just their presence. The safety of our food system has never been more paramount. 

https://www.krakensense.com/

Liberum

THE DESKTOP PC OF PROTEIN SYNTHESIS

The market size of recombinant proteins today is $119 billion. But it’s expected to reach $400 billion just by 2025. To get there, a better approach to innovation is needed. Today, to produce any sort of custom recombinant protein, it takes weeks. This dramatically slows down scientists’ ability to test, iterate, and improve. Liberum’s affordable, benchtop device will cut that time down to a few hours. Scientists will love the control this gives them over their work. Liberum strongly believes that as custom proteins get as easy as pushing a button, the current $18 billion market for custom proteins will take a larger share of the overall market.
http://www.liberumbio.com/

Microgenesis

FUTURE OF FERTILITY

In a research study, Microgenesis began working with 40 fertility clinics, treating 287 women who had failed all attempts to get pregnant, including at least four expensive IVF treatments. These patients were beyond hope. With Microgenesis’ method of diagnosis and natural treatment, 75% of the women got pregnant. Microgenesis uses microRNA signatures, on swabs from both the gut and fertility biome, to diagnose dysbiosis and treat patients with neutraceuticals and diet-change. They intend to expand through fertility clinics, as well as cultivate a direct-to-consumer brand for women just beginning the journey.  

https://microgenesis.net/

Reazent

AG-TECH

The state of the art in row crops is to reject agrochemicals and employ soil rhizobacteria that support plant growth – known as “PGPRs.” Reazent does it one better. Reazent loads PGPRs into a natural carrier to treat soil, achieving 5x improvement. By improving the plant’s immune system, the crops can also forego pesticides. Reazent can work with up to 116 PGPR strains. Having started in soybeans and peppers, Reazent is now expanding to many crops, testing through both their own trials this summer and with partners. 

www.reazent.com

Spintex

APPAREL / NEXT-GEN SUSTAINABILITY & PERFORMANCE

According to the Sustainable Apparel Coalition, silk has by far the worst environmental impact of any fabric. Innovations over the last century have been few and far between. Spintex has invented an entirely new, scalable method of making silk, inspired by how spiders (rather than silkworms) spin silk. It uses 1000x less energy than plastic fiber formation, and cuts silk emission by half. Spintex matches the material properties of premium silks, with no compromise on look and feel. Already working with several major brands, Spintex will also tune their fibers to improve performance, approaching the rarified properties of spider silk. 

spintex.co.uk


Introducing IndieBio NY Class 1:

IndieBio NY is grateful for support from the Partnership for New York City and Empire State Development.

Allied Microbiota

USING MICROBES FOR ENVIRONMENTAL SUSTAINABILITY 

Industrial activity has produced 100 billion tons of contaminated soil in the United States, endangering both human and environmental health. Less than 0.1% of this soil is decontaminated because current technologies don’t work or are too expensive. 

Allied Microbiota’s novel ThermO+ process uses natural processes to destroy toxic organic soil contaminants, including petroleum waste products and chlorinated substances. The process remediates soil in weeks instead of years and is a low-cost method to convert toxic soil to reusable soil. 

http://www.alliedmicrobiota.com/

BioFeyn

NANOCAPSULE-ENHANCED FEED SYSTEMS FOR AQUACULTURE 

Originally developed for human medicine, nanocapsules are tiny molecular transporters that can deliver nutrients, drugs, or natural products to make dramatic improvements in animal health and sustainability. 

On track to outpace capture fisheries by 2030, aquaculture is growing by 15% per year. Yet this growth comes at great cost: many farmed animals die due to overcrowded facilities and disease (in some sub-sectors amounting to 50%), while the environment is polluted with additives and animal waste. 

BioFeyn’s solution is transportable, scalable across species, and integrates into existing supply chains to benefit both people and planet. 

https://biofeyn.com/

Biomage

MAKING SINGLE-CELL SEQUENCING DATA ACCESSIBLE TO RESEARCH BIOLOGISTS 

Single-cell sequencing technologies present a huge opportunity for rapid drug target identification, but data analyses currently require too much time and too many resources for widespread adoption by research teams. Researchers spend 30-fold the amount of time on data analytics as in the wet-lab, which limits discovery to 1-2 drug targets per year. 

The Biomage single-cell platform increases drug target discovery 30-fold at a fraction of the cost, allowing widespread application of cutting-edge sequencing technologies. 

https://biomage.net/

Brightcure

COMBATING UTIs WITH PROBIOTIC PREDATOR BACTERIA 

50% of women and 12% of men suffer from urinary tract infections (UTIs) during their lifetime. Current UTI treatments present problems that include low efficacy, unwanted side effects, and accelerated development of antibiotic-resistant infections. Brightcure is solving the problem of poor treatment options for patients with recurrent UTIs by harnessing healthy, natural bacterial solutions to reduce the overuse of antibiotics. 

bcure.co.uk 

Cayuga Biotech

SUPERIOR TREATMENTS FOR ALL FORMS OF BLEEDING 

Following traumatic injury, the rate of death increases 1% for every 3 minutes a patient continues to bleed. The World Health Organization recognizes that bleeding is a global health threat. Genetic diseases and side effects of prescription drugs (such as anticoagulants) can further predispose individuals to major bleeding events.

Cayuga’s injectable clotting drug targets the site of injury to safely accelerate clot formation and save lives without the risk of thrombosis carried by currently available drugs. 

http://www.cayugabiotech.com/

Halomine

TURNING EVERY SURFACE INTO AN ANTIMICROBIAL SURFACE

Bacteria and viruses move easily surface-to-surface and person-to-person. Surface-associated microorganisms cause one of every three hospital-acquired infections and contribute to COVID-19 transmission.

HaloFilm is a companion product to chlorinated disinfectants that extends the life of chlorine on a surface, providing extended and continuous protection against bacteria and virus transmission, turning every surface into an antimicrobial surface. 

https://www.halomine.com/

Multus Media

ANIMAL-FREE AND SUSTAINABLE CULTURING MEDIA FOR CELLULAR AGRICULTURE AND R&D

Cultivated meat is a sustainable way of producing meat, without the need to kill animals. However, cultivated meat production is very expensive, a product of the animal-based nutrients required for its cultivation: these nutrients currently comprise more than 80% of production costs.

Multus Media is developing tailored, inexpensive nutrients to make cultivated meat completely animal-free and affordable for everyone. 

http://www.multus.co.uk/

Scindo

CONVERTING VINYL PLASTICS INTO HIGH-VALUE COMPOUNDS 

Humans have generated more than 9 billion tons of plastic, and 79% of this has ended up in landfills. Current methodologies are unable to efficiently recycle some of the most commonly produced plastics.

Scindo is creating a novel biological platform for low-energy, green and economical recycling that turns low-value waste products into high-value compounds, creating a viable alternative to landfills. 

https://scindo.bio/

SMT Labs

SCALING AFFORDABLE MOSQUITO BIRTH CONTROL 

Mosquitoes are the most dangerous animal on earth. Mosquito-borne diseases like Dengue, Zika, yellow fever, West Nile fever, and Malaria infect hundreds of millions of people a year. Climate change is causing mosquitoes to spread rapidly, endangering millions more. 

SMT Labs is developing an affordable and scalable mosquito birth control to control the mosquito population and mosquito-borne disease. 

https://smtlabs.co/

Introducing IndieBio New York

The large, systemic problems facing humanity have never been clearer, nor has the need for innovative biotech solutions for these problems. The new IndieBio New York program, launching May 2020, doubles the number of companies building solutions to these problems.

Like the flagship San Francisco program, the companies accelerated in IndieBio New York will address both human and planetary health needs. The IndieBio mission to find startups whose technologies address these problems feels more urgent than ever. The new IndieBio program addresses these problems by providing early-stage biotech startups with three major areas of support as they grow their company:

  • A dedicated team.
  • Research facilities.
  • Mentorship and community.

Meet the IndieBio New York Team

The new IndieBio New York team is excited to welcome the inaugural cohort in May.

Partner, Stephen Chambers, Ph.D

Founding Scientist at Vertex Pharmaceuticals and co-Founder of Abpro Therapeutics.

Former CEO of SynbiCITE, the Innovation and Knowledge Center for Synthetic Biology in the United Kingdom.

Co-Founder of Bio-Start, the United Kingdom’s first life sciences accelerator.

“Working with founders of very early-stage companies, where advising and mentoring and relationship building really affect the life or death of a company, is some of the most rewarding work I’ve done. I look forward to helping founders in our teams move the needle and continue to grow.”

 

Partner, Rodrigo Mallo Leiva

Founder of 4 companies including a successful exit.

Angel investor.

Managing Director of RebelBio.

 

 

 

 

Adjunct Partner, Michael Aberman, M.D., M.B.A.

Former President and CEO at Quentis Therapeutics.

Former Senior Vice President of Investor Relations and Strategy at Regeneron Pharmaceuticals.

Executive in Residence at Columbia Technology Ventures.

“IndieBio is known for its broad portfolio of companies across all life sciences disciplines. I’m excited to work with our IndieBio cohorts to develop the next wave of life-changing technologies.”

 

 

Communications Director, Julie Wolf, Ph.D.

Former Science Communications for the American Society for Microbiology.

Instructor at the community biology lab Genspace.

Co-Founder of Brooklyn Bio Inc.

“Every founder is not only an advocate for their company, but an advocate for a better future and an advocate for science. We hope that each founder in our program learns to inspire others within the biotech community and beyond.”

 

Program Manager, Alex Hall-Daniels

Previous Account Executive at Edelman London.

Former Program Associate at RebelBio.

“Our portfolio companies strive to solve major world problems. Working with companies who make crops more drought-resistant, materials more sustainable, and disease vectors less prevalent helps build a better future for everyone.”

 

 

Senior Associate, Sheng Ge

Previous Analyst, Associate, and now Senior Associate at SOSV through nearly a decade with the firm.

“I’ve worked with deep tech companies across SOSV and am excited to apply my expertise to the new IndieBio program.”

 

Program Location

IndieBio New York will be run out of Rockefeller University for its first year, occupying the 16th floor of the Weiss Building. The fully outfitted lab provides researchers with wet lab space, conference rooms, and common spaces for community gathering.

Mentorship and Community

The IndieBio New York program gathers founders of seed-stage companies for a 4-month intensive program. The new program applies the same cornerstone tenets of the San Francisco program: mentorship and community.

Mentors play a vital role in guiding early-stage founders. Throughout the program, mentors share their wisdom through talks to the entire group and by holding office hours for more intimate conversations.

“Relationship building is at the heart of entrepreneurship,” says Managing Director and Partner Steve Chambers. “Knowing whom to approach, and when and how, helps build the strong foundation necessary for companies to flourish. Our mentors serve the founders by sharing relationship-building tips and by becoming a part of the founders’ networks themselves.” The mentor network is further broadened by alliances with the Empire State Development and the Partnership Fund for New York City.

Community also grounds the IndieBio program. Working side-by-side for 4 months, founders learn not only from their mentors but also from each other, forming a support network that endures long after the program ends.

The team, facilities, mentorship, and community are important—and so is program adaptability. The COVID-19 pandemic requires nimble decision making to ensure all 4 components are up to IndieBio standards. Both San Francisco and New York IndieBio teams are working hard to navigate this unprecedented event and innovate program content for the founder communities they serve.