IndieBio announced its new batches of startups in June.
The life sciences startup incubator allocates each team $250,000 in seed funding plus lab and co-working space and dedicated mentorship. Afterwards, each company becomes part of a network of IndieBio alumni, investors, and biotech entrepreneurs.
This is New York’s first batch, and San Francisco’s tenth. Though they are running the program virtually for now, all of the startups have secured access to lab and hardware space as needed. The challenge has increased Iniebio’s focus on maximizing the potential for the startups’ in its program and fostering the transformation from scientists to entrepreneurs.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Source and images: IndieBio