We’re excited to announce our eighth class at IndieBio. IndieBio invests in revolutionary technologies for human and planetary health, and each of these companies, though small today, has tremendous potential to become a very significant and disruptive company. We selected them from well over 300 who applied from all over the world. Over the next four months, they’ll be going through a rigorous process to commercialize their scientific and technical insights.
HUMAN HEALTH — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — -
Beeline turns your body’s own cells into drug factories to express antibodies, enzymes, or cytokines. Their method is tissue-specific, facilitating the significant need for localization of drug expression. Their first focus is to replace expensive, monoclonal antibody regimens that have to be injected weekly. They’re working to reprogram patient’s T-regulatory cells to suppress inflammation, effectively curing patients for many years. Rheumatoid arthritis is their first indication.
The microbiome is one of the most impactful emerging fields in healthcare, yet fundamentally constrained by a lack of biomarkers to measure treatment efficacy. BiomeSense’s platform is a 30x reduction in the cost of doing longitudinal microbiome collection and analysis research, unlocking this exploding market.
Their single-chip, on-toilet design will prep and assay the microbiome strains and upload the data to their cloud. BiomeSense is quickly signing pilot partners to use their device in clinical trials, as well as securing LOIs with partners who desire access to their unique, centralized data. Their platform is well-positioned for CDER Biomarker Qualification for patient monitoring as microbiome therapeutics get approved.
Caspr is a diagnostics company that uses CRISPR for rapid detection of antimicrobial resistance.
The World Health Organization considers antimicrobial resistance the number one global health threat. It affects everybody — not just the 700,000 people a year today who die from antimicrobial resistance — but anyone who will develop an infection in the future. Today, when a patient has an infection, it takes three days to determine which bacterial strains are proliferating. Physicians are desperate to know, faster, if a patient has the resistant superbug KPC, or bacteria with the resistant-gene NDM-1. Caspr Bio is making an affordable, point-of-care device that can make this diagnosis in two hours. They use CRISPR to identify the DNA of the most dangerous infectious strains. They will be extending this platform to upgrade many diagnostics with CRISPR.
Gavilan Biodesign is an in silico computational design company that redesigns drugs for pharma companies, so cancers cannot develop resistance to the drug.
Cancer cells mutate rapidly. Though targeted therapeutics kill most cancer cells, the mutated ones effectively escape, then proliferate. The cancer comes back. Currently, pharma companies design drugs to target a specific, likely mutation. But then a new mutation makes the cancer resistant to that drug, too. Gavilan is a unique computational drug design company with capabilities new to this field. Their physics-based engine models all possible mutations around a binding site to predict which set of mutations will successfully emerge. Then they redesign a drug to remain effective, not just against one or two mutations, but against all possible future mutations. They can search through 100 trillion molecular structures a day, arriving at superior drug compound structures in a matter of hours. Their goal is to work with many pharma partners to create a new class of targeted therapies that dramatically extend progression-free survival.
Guided Clarity has developed a new class of compounds to target and clear cells of dysfunctional mitochondria, improving cellular energy production. Their compounds are synthesized from naturally-occurring ingredients in food, so they are both safe and affordable as a medical food. In their first clinical study on healthy volunteers, the data showed an increase in insulin sensitivity, a reduction in inflammation marker NLR, and improved physical function. Guided Clarity is focused on healthy aging, improving mitochondrial function both in the brain and on the periphery.
PLANETARY HEALTH — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — -
11Biomics has developed a very effective, non-pesticide plant treatment that solves a huge problem for the fast-growing cannabis industry — powdery mildew disease. Powdery mildew disease can spike in a cannabis grow operation overnight, ruining a harvest worth millions. Existing antifungal treatments are ineffective or damage the plant. 11Biomics heals plants in a manner of hours by rebalancing the plant’s phytobiome, using natural hyper-antagonists to fungal diseases. Their platform of seven plant therapeutics allows 11Biomics to tune their therapy to different regions of the country, as well as treat other crops commonly affected by powdery mildew — hops, grapes, and tomatoes.
Blue Planet Ecosystem
Blue Planet develops modular systems that turn sunlight into fish — at an industrial scale.
A Blue Planet Ecosystem is a closed-loop stack of six shipping-containers; the system continuously self-optimizes as algae grows on the sunlight, zooplankton grows on the algae, and high-value commercial fish grows on the zooplankton. Thermal energy management and marine life conversion efficiency is handled by their software. In locations where land is cheap and sunlight is plentiful, dozens or hundreds of stacks can be deployed by customers. These will be countries, infrastructure investors, foodservice operators, farmers, and land-developers with temporarily-unused properties. Though fish is the output, the economics are very distinct from aquaculture because it’s a zero input system, creating a new asset type for agri-franchisers.
Plastics pollution is an exploding issue for CPG brands as the environmental impacts of products designed to be used for minutes but last for lifetimes is seen. Rather than attempt to change mass-market consumer behavior, industry is challenged to think green while maintaining convenience.
To solve this, Decomer Technology has developed a new sustainable packaging material that is edible and rapidly dissolves in liquids. It has widespread uses across the food industry, pharmaceuticals, agriculture, and detergents. Their material is odorless, tasteless, and hypoallergenic, though flavors and micronutrients can be added. It can be tuned to dissolve in cold water, or hot water, or both. It’s very low cost and scalable for high volume manufacturing uses. They are partnering with CPGs for testing.
Around the world, biomass is inefficiently converted to biogas or syngas, then to useable electricity. A more efficient approach is to convert liquid biomass and food waste straight to hydrogen for fuel cells. The founders of ElectroActive developed this bioconversion technology at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee. Their modular power cubes will be used in any quantity to provide renewable power anywhere food waste or biomass is prevalent. Electro-Active is a scalable solution that serves many industrial supply chains, especially in municipalities that have banned food waste from landfills.
New Culture is making cheese without the cow. Combining dairy proteins, expressed by microflora, with plant lipids and sugars, their method arrives at curds that are then advanced into the traditional cheesemaking process, be that stirred, kneaded, stretched or aged. New Culture’s cheese has the signature textural properties and qualities that we’re all familiar with in dairy cheese. By removing the cow from the cheesemaking process, New Culture’s cheese is more sustainable, ethical, and better for the world.
Tinctorium is making the greenest bluejeans for the planet, using biofermentation in their indigo dye process. Across the $100 billion jeans market today, the vast majority of blue denim relies on chemical synthesis and chemical reduction, which significantly harms both the environment and the health of denim workers. Even naturally-grown, plant indigo is reduced with corrosive chemicals. Tinctorium is unique among denim producers, as their system is both scalable and free of chemical synthesis and reduction.
Check out our events for opportunities to meet the founders and learn about the future of biotech, and mark your calendar for Demo Day on June 25th!
IndieBio is the world’s leading life sciences accelerator, having funded 105 biotech startups since starting in March 2015. Companies from all over the world apply to be part of a 4 month acceleration program which includes $250,000 funding, dedicated mentorship, and 24/7 access to a co-working space and bio-safety level 1 & 2 labs. During the program, teams are focused on turning science into product, closing customers, and raising follow-on investment.
Apply here to be in our next class!