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FAST, Fellows and CARB-X Update August 2020
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FAST & Fellows

Mantra Bio (FAST Fall 2018) announced it has raised $25 million in a Series A financing to advance development of next generation, precision therapeutics based on its proprietary platform for engineering Targeted Exosome Vehicles (TEVs). 8VC and Viking Global Investors led the round, which also included Box Group and Allen & Company LLC. Total investment in the Company to date, including a $5 million seed round, is $30 million.

Mantra Bio was established to capitalize on recent advances in the understanding of exosomes – lipid nano-vesicles naturally released by cells that serve as intercellular messengers – and the emergence of therapeutic technologies such as gene and RNA therapeutics for which targeted delivery is critical. New computational and analytical tools have revealed great diversity among exosomes and their respective functions, providing a foundation for engineering exosomes with potential to deliver therapeutics to specific cells and tissues for a wide range of diseases, with low immunogenicity.  Read more.

GigaGen (FAST Spring 2015), a biotechnology company advancing transformative antibody drugs for infectious diseases, transplant rejection and checkpoint resistant cancers, announced today a new submission to bioRxiv, titled, “Capturing and Recreating Diverse Antibody Repertoires as Multivalent Recombinant Polyclonal Antibody Drugs.” In this study, GigaGen presents a novel technology for producing a new class of drug, which it calls “recombinant hyperimmunes.”

GigaGen’s new data highlights a new class of polyclonal antibody drugs, termed recombinant hyperimmunes, which comprise thousands to tens of thousands of antibodies. These are derived from donor B cells and are produced recombinantly at large scale in mammalian cells.  Read more.

Purigen (FAST Spring 20515), a leading provider of next-generation technologies for extracting and purifying nucleic acids from biological samples, today announced the launch of the Ionic® FFPE to Pure RNA Kit. In one hour with minimal hands-on time, scientists are able to purify and concentrate higher yields of RNA, including messenger RNA (mRNA) and microRNA (miRNA), from precious formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded (FFPE) tissue specimens.

The Ionic FFPE to Pure RNA Kit utilizes the company’s core isotachophoresis (ITP) technology and runs on the Ionic Purification System, a compact benchtop instrument that enables the automated extraction of nucleic acids with increased yields and improved purity from a wide range of sample types. Biological samples are gently lysed and then loaded into the Ionic Fluidic Chip. The Ionic System then applies an electric field to the chip, and nucleic acids are isolated in their natural, native form using ITP technology. The nucleic acids are not denatured or dehydrated or bound and stripped from fixed surfaces. The process minimizes fragmentation and eliminates any bead or buffer contamination.  Read more.

CARB-X

CARB-X is awarding up to US$1.82 million to Eligo Bioscience in Paris, France, with additional funding for a total award of up to US$7.05 million if project milestones are met, for the development of a new generation of highly-specific antimicrobials to prevent multi-drug-resistant bacterial infections in organ transplant patients. Eligo’s bacteriophage- and CRISPR-based therapeutics are designed to selectively eliminate extended-spectrum beta-lactamase-producing (ESBL) Read more.

CARB-X is awarding up to US$2.91 million to Evotec SE, a drug discovery and development company headquartered in Hamburg, Germany, to develop a new class of antibiotics to treat infections caused by deadly multidrug-resistant Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria. Evotec will be eligible for an additional $5.53 million in non-dilutive funding from CARB-X if  Read more.