For decades, food R&D has been dedicated to make foods that are tasty, cheap, and profitable. In Matias Muchnik’s words, “that’s why the pinnacle of food R&D is a freaking Dorito.” That’s why the team at NotCo wanted to steer the next wave of food R&D to make it healthy, delicious, and affordable, focusing largely on plant-based foods. Why? First, it’s healthier and more sustainable. Second, Millennials’ preferences are driving this market and have already carved out $15 billion of growth.
NotCo is on a mission to take animals out of food production while not compromising on taste and nutrition. Their animal-free dairy and meat products are powered by Giuseppe – an AI platform with embedded food science to generate healthy and accessible products from plants. The company analyzes at a molecular level to indicate which plants must be combined in order to replicate their taste, texture, color and aroma, enabling manufacturers to discover a new source of fiber, calcium and proteins from the vegetables. NotCo delivers unprecedented experiences in milk, mayo, ice cream, plant-based meats; all tasting like the real thing.
BioAesthetics’ Nipple-Areolar Complex Graft, or NACgraft, is a revolutionary next step in breast reconstruction that will provide patients who have had mastectomies with a new, natural, living nipple and areola. The NACgraft is a cell-free, biologically-derived nipple and areola graft that once applied by a surgeon, will allow the patient’s own body to integrate the NACgraft. This process uses the patient’s own natural ability to heal, resulting in a real and living nipple unique to and uniquely a part of the patient.
They are currently engaged in a clinical stufy for their NAC, and beginning development of enhanced biologically derived grafts — capable of sustained drug delivery — to improve outcomes for third degree burn survivors through an NIH grant.
DNAlite Therapeutics is an early stage pharmaceutical platform developing nucleic acid medicines. mRNA has emerged as a leading therapeutic modality, but delivery remains to be a bottleneck. While current approaches inject mRNA into the bloodstream, DNAlite has created an oral approach to mRNA delivery that survives the stomach and gets taken up by epithelial cells in the gut. Once in the cells, the mRNA is read and the gut cells manufacture proteins — whatever is coded in the mRNA. These epithelial cells naturally turnover and refresh every 3 to 4 days, so DNAlite medicines could be taken on a regular cadence. The proteins expressed can be antibodies and other biologics; it can be equivalent to rare disease gene therapy, but essentially reversible, because no permanent changes are made.
The company has demonstrated proof of platform in-vivo, producing and quantifying proteins from orally given mRNA creating a completely new modality with broad and unique value. They are slated to enter the clinic with IL-22 as their first therapeutic target to tackle indications such as Inflammatory bowel disease (3 Mn
patients in US), Acute graft versus host disease of the gut (incidence of ~5000/yr), and Necrotizing enterocolitis (incidence: ~400/yr in the US).
If you’re eating fish, you might as well take a bite out of a plastic thermometer as a side dish. Studies point to significant amounts of mercury and microplastics found in nearly all the fish that we eat. Now is as good as time as ever to start using our technology to make better seafood, without being harmful to humans, nor harming any fish in the process.
Finless Foods started when the founders thought real hard about how our food systems are inefficient and environmentally devastating. They wanted to change this with lab grown fish: take a small sample of fish cells, and then grow thenm quickly and cheaply as a replacement for conventionally caught fish. To the consumer it will look like the fish they know and love to eat, but on the inside it will be very different. Finless’s fish is a return to the traditional fish that people used to eat before we polluted the oceans.
We spend around $70 billion worldwide on toxic chemicals used as pesticides, but that number is shrinking, as places like Europe and even the US are calling on a ban on toxic pesticides that harm both bees and humans. There is still a growing need, however, for safe and effective pesticides to meet the world’s demand for food.
Pheronym’s technology improves plant health and crop yield using a new pheromone to control parasitic roundworms and control insect pests in the soil, enabling farmers and cultivators to apply bio-pesticides for eliminating insects without affecting the plant’s health and freshness.
One of the biggest challenges of printing organs is replicating the tiny micro-vascularuture, which is nearly impossible to print with traditional 3D printers. No matter how advanced, you cannot cheat physics and fluid dynamics to quickly print something a nanometer thick.
So, to say that Prellis is like the laser printer of 3D printing is not so far off the mark: Instead of extruding bio ‘ink’ like traditional 3D printers do, Prellis invented a laser-assisted 3D organ printing system that can be controlled with light to build organs nanometers at a time (but scalably). They have the fastest high-resolution bioprinter in the world, 100 times faster than their nearest competitor, and their resolution is 10-100x better than any other bioprinting system.
They’re now creating living tissues in 3D to mimic biological functions that can be used in therapeutic development. In 2017, they injected their mini lymph nodes with Zika virus, and it subsequently produced antibodies for passive immunity against Zika. Their Externalized Immune System (EXIS) platform represents the first use of synthetic human tissue for de novo therapeutic antibody discovery.
When the team talked to oncologists about their pain points, they discovered that it all boils down to two things: slow time from biopsy to actionable result, and limited prognostic value because the data isn’t given them complete information. This isn’t surprising: 4-6 weeks to wait for biopsy results is a long time to wait for a cancer patient.
Quantumcyte can return information in less than a week and provide not just basic information to treat with standard of care, but other more important markers. The company returns 4x more data per sample because they have more precise methods and integrate AI into their system.
Their AI maps the tissue biopsy and identify specific regions (e.g., where the cancer cells are) to automate the analysis, thereby returning more precise data on significant portions of the biopsy, rather than losing it in the noise. Their AI gets better and better every sample it runs. This platform technology is extending beyond cancers, and currently testing on brain tissue and solid tissue (e.g., for psoriasis).
The profile of human breast milk contains human milk oligosaccharides (HMOs), which, over thousands of years, have evolved to carry special gut and overall health benefits just for developing babies. Not only that, but humans produce over 1000 times more milk oligosaccharides than other mammals.
Sugarlogix is creating those HMOs by yeast fermentation. HMOs are found naturally in human breast milk and is a key ingredient in feeding the good microbiome of the infant to cultivate a healthy gut and immune system. Using Baker’s yeast, Sugarlogix recreates these ingredients to add to infant formula, and other foods. Their goal is to create better nutrition for formula-fed babies, and then move on to the probiotic and functional food categories for adults.