The east coast of America is seeing a boom in the number of cell and gene therapy (CGT) start-ups setting up shop. In particular, Massachusetts has seen a real rise in the number and some of these have huge promise. Here is a list of four Massachusetts-based CGT start-ups that are already making an enormous impact on the industry and will continue to do so into the future.
Dyno are a Cambridge based biotech who launched in May last year. Their work combines both AI and gene therapy to solve the challenges of in-vivo gene delivery. The AI-powered tech will improve the design of gene therapies by making them safer, more effective, and applicable to more diseases, heightening the potential to provide life-changing treatments for millions of patients
In the coming years Dyno are going to be ones to watch, they secured $100 million in Series A funding upon their launch and have some impressive partnerships with the likes of Roche, Novartis, and Sarepta Therapeutics. They’ve gained a good amount of media attention ; this year they were named as one of America’s Best Startup Employers by Forbes, and named Emerging Company of the Year by the New England Venture Capital Association. With all of this under their belt, they’re sure to see an influx in prospective employee interest and a bright future ahead of them.
A Boston-based company, Scorpion Therapeutics launched in October 2020 with the aim to develop the next generation of targeted cancer therapies. The company are revolutionising the CGT cancer sector and pushing towards an “era of Precision Oncology 2.0” by building on the scientific breakthroughs of the past 20 years.
What’s looking promising for Scorpion is their diverse and deep pipeline of optimized drug discovery programs which are being developed “at unparalleled speed and scale compared to existing benchmarks”. It’s clear that investors too can see the potential Scorpion have; when they first started out they received $108 million in Series A funding, fast forward 3 months and they’ve received a further $162 million in Series B funding.
With an exciting pipeline and huge investments, Scorpion have piqued the interest of some of the pharma giants, entering an agreement with AstraZeneca back in January to discover, develop and commercialise novel cancer treatments against ‘undruggable’ targets. With so much buzz happening around the company, it’s likely Scorpion have all they need to secure a fruitful future.
After securing $70 million in Series A funding, Ensoma are another one to watch. They are just over a year old, launching in February 2021 in Boston, and have had a great first year. Ensoma engineer gene therapies that treat rare monogenic illnesses, and since launching they have developed the first in-vivo editing platform that precisely engineers hematopoietic and immune cells with a one-time, off-the-shelf treatment.
This success to likely to continue due to the support from top-tier investors, along with Ensoma’s strategic collaboration with Takeda. This partnership has the potential for Ensoma to receive up to $1.25 billion from Takeda, assuming the programs are a success.
Another emerging biopharma is Strand Therapeutics. Located in Cambridge, MA, Strand are among those using synthetic biology and applying it to RNA therapeutics. The company launched in June 2021 and is co-founded by world-leading researchers from the MIT Synthetic Biology Center. With a cool $52 million in Series A funding, their technology has the potential to revolutionise CAR-T therapy while also being applicable across a broad spectrum of other diseases.
At present Strand are developing the first platform for the creation of programmable, long-acting mRNA drugs which will be capable of delivering precise, multi-functional, potentially curative treatments with a single dose. With exciting prospects on the horizon, Strand Therapeutics are definitely going to be one to watch.