Class 09
IndieBio SF
IBSF09 2019
Ricky Cassini, CEO
Our colors are made from food, and they are actually nutritious. Our pigments are a metabolite called azaphilones, which have been validated in scientific testing to have antioxidant properties.
Eat with your eyes naturally
The FDA guidelines for the 9 synthetic dyes currently on the market (8 are petroleum-based) were established based on animal studies conducted between 1966 and 1987. Once a food additive has been cleared, there’s no requirement to reassess its safety.

The vast majority of food dyes used today are synthetic chemicals derived from petroleum which have been linked to allergies, hyperactivity, and even cancer. Biocolorants do exist, but they are expensive to use and don’t hold their color when cooked or processed; insect-based dyes aren’t halal, vegan or kosher.

Michroma’s sustainable solution uses edible fungi cells that express the natural colorant into the bioreactor. No solvents are needed to extract and purify the color. The performance characteristics of their dyes are far superior to existing biocolorants.

Shane Kilpatrick, CEO
The underlying scientific principles that make unprecedented commercial-scale production of red blood cells possible also make the unprecedented commercial-scale production of other whole cell produts possible as well. Membio's biomanufacturing platform has the potential to radically change the entire cell and gene therapy industy!
We make blood
Every 2 seconds someone in the U.S. needs blood.

Membio is developing a world class biomanufacturing platform to enable the cost-effective and scalable production of whole cells, including red blood cells. Blood is a necessary prerequisite for many life-saving interventions, making a reliable blood supply an essential part of any healthcare system. Membio is on a mission to provide the world with a safe and sustainable supply of blood.

Alex Martinez, JD, CEO
We can't design drugs that good synthetically... only through the natural repertoire can we have something this good
Medicines from mother's milk.
All 200 human milk oligosaccharides are probably directly and indirectly [thorugh the microbiome] modulating cells

Modern diseases are a result of cultural evoluton outpacing biology, and so inflammation has become maladaptive. The safety issues limit thet current repertoire of anti-inflammatory drugs from serving a majority of patients. In 2018, human milk oligosaccharides (HMOs) were discovered in the blood of pregnant women and an epidemiological study showed that elevated levels of key HMOs were associated with rheumatoid arthritis remission. Out of the 600 quintillion potential glycans, 300 million years of mammalian evolution have sorted out 200+ HMOs that are functionally bioactive in the body.

Intrinsic Medicine is a platform company innovative safe, bioactive sugars (like those HMOs) as a new therapeutic modality. With a combined 30 years of pharmaceutical industry experience at Ionis, Jason and Alex have been are using two key HMOs to be the only safe and effective solution for young people with irritable bowel syndrome, and they are taking their lead assets to clinical trial now.

Austin Quach, PhD, CSO
The only way to really automatically capture most of this information is to integrate multiple layers of bioinformation — a.k.a. multiomics. For example, genomics (DNA), transcriptomics (RNA), proteomics (proteins), microbiomics (microbes), metabolomics (metabolites), and exposomics (exposures), etc.
Digitizing blood for the future of human health
Instead of doing 30+ routine blood tests, you can just do all of them in a one-shot multi-omic assay

Dalton Bioanalytics has developed a new way of analyzing all of the different types of biochemicals in blood. Using tried-and-true liquid chromatography mass spectrometry, they measure proteins, lipids, electrolytes, metabolites, and other small molecules–providing a more complete analysis at a fraction of the cost while maintaining data integration and integrity.

This data rich platform has applications for human health, from discovering novel biomarkers to developing new clinical tests to drug development. Our vision is to create a single low cost liquid biopsy that can be used for early detection across a wide range of common and rare diseases and conditions. Dalton is also working with many Fortune 500 companies to understand and develop better food and consumer goods, and optimize bioprocesses for industry.

Paolo Costa, CEO
Is apple sauce closer to apple juice or to an apple? The correct answer is apple juice. In apple sauce, the structure has been destroyed and the gut absorbs everything very fast. Our difference is we re-enmesh the apple sauce back into the fiber structure.
Biolumen's SugarSink Superfiber reduces glucose levels
Only 5 percent of people in the US meet the Institute of Medicine's recommended daily target for fiber consumption.

Every Biolumen fiber pill is as effective as 21 conventional fiber pills. Taken with meals or snacks, Biolumen knocks 15-20 points off your sugar spike, reducing insulin response.

Working with ProDigest’s artificial gut system, the gold standard in microbiome assays, SugarSink Superfiber showed dramatic benefits:
+37% butyrate
+34% propionate
+37% acetates
Biolumen is working with two international corporates on product lines of snacks.

Doug Manofsky, CEO
Methane emissions are bad for the cow, the farmer, and the environment!
Carbon neutral beef
Cows generate over 100M tons of methane annually.

Antibiotics are like nuclear bombs for the microbiome, completely wiping out the bacterial community to promote livestock growth. But what if we can nurture the animal by selectively promoting good microbial consortia while eliminating the bad ones? And what if we can save the planet in the process?

Pando Nutrition is leveraging their designer probiotic as a replacement for antibiotics, and has shown to outperform bacitracin as an antibiotic, while also increasing chicken growth by 10% and making them healthier. Their product has also been shown to reduce methanogenic bacteria in cows, which produces the potent greenhouse gas, methane (which is why their burps are so bad for the planet!). The ultimate goal is to completely eliminate methane-emissions from cows, to create carbon neutral beef.

Jonathan Meuser, PhD, CEO
A plant will double in years, but a plant cell culture can double in days. We can replace an entire hectare of farmland with just a 50L reactor.
Plant stem cell factories.
Raspberry ketones – the essence of raspberry – cost $20,000 and make up only a tiny amount in a raspberry

The most valuable plant products are difficult to grow, and make up a $250B industry for fragrance and flavors. Here’s the kicker: the most valuable parts are only a TINY fraction of the overall plant. So, why grow the entire plant just to get the small amount of the most valuble parts?

Chi Botanic overturns 10,000 years of agriculture, by not growing the whole plant. Instead, they take the source plant, convert it to stem cells, and then grow plant cell cultures, which grow 30 times faster than a normal plant, and requires neither the land area nor the pesticides and fertilizer to grow it. Their go to market product is aloe, and then moving towards other plant cells, like raspberry ketones which cost $20,000/kg. Chi Botanic is not just a plant product company–their plant cell culture is a full platform with high throughput robotics, proprietary cell lines, and genetics know-how.

Dr. Mickey Pentecost, CEO
Because exosomes are remarkably robust entities, we're looking at various delivery formats including inhalable
Engineering the best receptor agonists
Exosome therapeutic delivery market is expected to reach $30B by 2026, by a 22% CAGR

One way cells communicate to each other through long distances is via exosomes. Originally thought to be cellular garbage, exosomes are now a powerful opportunity for therapeutics. Many competitors are focused on packaging inside the exosome to use as delivery vesicles, and thus completely ignores the shell as a modality for therapeutics.

Diadem Biotherapeutics is engineering a platform to decorate the outside of exosomes, so that they act as signaling molecules. By engineering the surface of exosomes, with signaling agonists, they can craete a new therapeutic modality, 10,000X more potent than the unattached protein. Moreover, they can engineer potent combinations of multiple receptor agonists. The team is currently performing IND-enabling studies for oncology and autoimmune disorders.

Ravi Agdulwar, CEO
Imagine what the world can do if supermaterials like melanin can be produced cheaply... it would be like another Industrialrevolution
Melanin: the next "black gold"
By weight, melanin is 8 times more expensive than gold.

Melanin is the pigment that tans our skin and makes our hair dark, but new research keeps coming out about melanin as a supermaterial and its wide variety of applications: blocking ionizing gamma radiation, acting as organic semiconductors for implantable electronics, and even generating electricity as a solar fuel cell and storing it in rechargable batteries. The primary problem is that melanin is too expensive to make these Industrialapplications scalable.

Avisa Myko is able to produce melanin from a proprietary strain of fungus. Whereas every is able to make it at $400/gram, they can make it at $0.20 per gram. They’ve validated their process at 50L scale while at IndieBio and they’re using the radiation blocking properties of melanin to formulate a suncreen, to replace the sunscreens that are toxic for the marine ecosystem. They are currently looking for partners for turning their melanin into dyes and radiation shielding (think: space).

Luke Young, CEO
In a couple of years I have absolutely no doubt that you'll be looking across the ocean to find floating ocean farms on almost every coast.
Salty is the new fresh
50-100 million tons of methane are produced every year just from rice agriculture.

The world’s food demands are expected to almost double by 2050, at the same time when climate change is stealing our supply our arable land for crop production, and a dearth of freshwater for both human and agricultural uses. Agrisea confronts these challenges by expanding our imagination, to think beyond these resources as the only way to grow crops.

Agrisea removes land and freshwater as agricultural constraints, by helping crops that are normally grown on land to grow in the ocean. By removing land and freshwater as key contraints they can grow crops 20X cheaper than on land. The scientific insight came from mangroves and seagrasses that have genes that are highly efficient in managing salt. Agrisea’s first crop is rice, a crop that feeds over half the world’s population, but is also a notorious methane producer because of the soil bacteria. By growing rice in floating ocean paddies, they will be able to provide food security to the world while also offsetting CO2e emissions