2017: Massachusetts Analytical Tool & Synthetic Biology Newcos off to the races…
So far, the first quarter of 2017 is looking good for NewCo life science platform companies in Boston. 908 Devices, a Boston based pioneer of small and elegantly systems for chemical and biomolecule analysis, announced a sales partnership with Thermo Fisher to sell their ZipChip™ as a front-end to Thermo’s mass spectrometry (MS) instruments. They followed that up by closing a $20M growth equity round in March. RedShift BioAnalytics, based in Burlington, MA, completed a Series C raise of $11M with strategic investments from Waters Corporation and TA Instruments. Traditionally, RedShift has served the oil and gas industry but has recently moved into biotechnology. They apply expertise in laser optics, microfluidics, and analytical systems development to provide innovative platforms and capabilities for protein scientists and protein based drug development. Both companies will offer much needed new analytical approaches to the growing biopharmaceutical market.
Companies deploying synthetic biology technology are also off to a great start. In January, Ginkgo Bioworks announced the acquisition of synthetic DNA provider, Gen9 Bio. Ginkgo hopes to leverage Gen9's innovative BioFab® manufacturing platform to improve its speed and capacity in constructing new bio-organism designs for use across multiple industries. eGenesis, in March announced a $38 million Series A financing co-led by Biomatics Capital and ARCH Venture Partners. They are harnessing the powerful gene editing CRISPR technology to deliver human transplantable cells, tissues and organs grown in pigs. Hopefully both eGenesis and Ginkgo will join the ranks of successful Boston based synthetic biology platform companies like Editas Medicine. Editas just signed a deal with Allergan to leverage their CRISPR platform for eye disease in return for a $90M upfront payment and probably more future biobucks depending on achievement. All good news for Genetown.
Update: March 30, 2017 - Third Rock Ventures just announced a $55M Series A investment to launch Tango Therapeutics. They plan to leverage sequencing and CRISPR technology to develop breakthrough oncology medicines.