CAMBRIDGE, Mass. & PARIS--(BUSINESS WIRE)--WikiCell Designs Inc., a Cambridge, Mass. and Paris, France company developing deliciously edible forms of food and beverage packaging, today announced that it closed a $10 million Series-A financing co-led by Flagship Ventures and Polaris Venture Partners. The company also announced that co-founder Robert Connelly will lead WikiCell Designs as CEO. Noubar Afeyan of Flagship Ventures and Terry McGuire of Polaris Venture Partners will join the WikiCell Designs board.
“WikiCell Designs was created to turn food and beverage packaging from plastic toward all-natural forms, protecting products much as nature does, and eliminating the need for protective materials that are potentially harmful to human health and the environment. This approach has the potential to fundamentally change the way food is packaged and consumed,” said WikiCell Designs co-founder David Edwards, Professor at Harvard University and founder of ArtScience Labs, which brings interdisciplinary creative processes to new product development. “Robert Connelly is a gifted and proven company builder and product developer, and speaking for the board, we are delighted that he is leading WikiCell.”
“WikiCell Designs offers the consumer a path to reducing their plastic and paper footprint while enjoying a truly delicious and unique eating experience. By replacing plastic and other forms of packaging with delicious natural edible packaging, Wikicell can have a profound impact on the world,” said WikiCell Designs CEO and co-founder Robert Connelly. “This technology is applicable to a vast amount of food and beverages and we intend to market products direct to consumer and in retail settings, with our own branded products and with partner brands.”
Prior to joining WikiCell Designs, Mr. Connelly led the biotechnology company Pulmatrix—also founded by Dr. Edwards—which is rapidly advancing its proprietary inhaled drug candidates in human clinical trials for chronic respiratory diseases. Mr. Connelly will remain on the Pulmatrix board and serve as a special advisor to the CEO. He also serves as chair of the board at AeroDesigns Inc., another consumer product development company that like WikiCell Designs was spun out of ArtScience Labs and is funded by both Flagship Ventures and Polaris Ventures.
Prior to Pulmatrix, Mr. Connelly was the founding CEO of Domantis Limited, a successful early stage biotechnology company that was acquired by GlaxoSmithKline. Mr. Connelly also spent nearly two decades in senior sales, marketing and general management roles at IGEN International (acquired by Roche) and Abbott Laboratories.
About WikiCell Designs
WikiCell Designs is developing deliciously edible forms of packaging that enclose food or drinks in ways similar to how nature protects foods such as grapes, oranges, or coconuts. The company seeks to fundamentally change the way we package and consume foods. The WikiCell approach was imagined by David Edwards in 2009 and was developed through the joint efforts of a dedicated team including designer Francois Azambourg, Wyss Institute Director and Harvard professor Don Ingber, and a group of designers and scientists of different backgrounds at Le Laboratoire, the center of the ArtScience Labs innovation organization founded and directed by Dr. Edwards, also a faculty member of the Wyss Institute. The company has laboratories and offices in both Paris and Cambridge, Mass., and demonstrated WikiCell ice cream, yoghurt, cheese, mousse, soup, juice and cocktails during the first half of 2012. The company expects to introduce the first WikiCell commercial products in 2013. For more information, visit http://www.wikicells.com/
ArtScience Labs is a network of culture labs founded by Harvard Professor David Edwards that catalyze idea translation through art and design experiments at frontiers of science. With bases in Paris, France (Laboratoire, The Lab Store) and Boston, USA (The ArtScience Prize), ArtScience Labs counts partners in Asia, Europe, Africa, and North America. ArtScience Labs engages through cultural experimentation and educational programs thousands of urban teens and university students each year around the world, and has produced since 2007 cultural and commercial innovations that meet the public in stores and galleries around the world. For more information, visit http://artsciencelabs.org/
About Flagship Ventures
Realizing entrepreneurial innovation is the mission of Flagship Ventures. The firm operates through two synergistic units: VentureLabs invents and launches transformative companies, and Venture Capital, finances and realizes innovative, early-stage companies. Founded in 2000, and based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Flagship Ventures manages over $900 million in capital. The Flagship team innovates and invests in three principal business sectors: therapeutics, health technologies and sustainability/clean technology. For more information, visit www.flagshipventures.com
About Polaris Venture Partners
Polaris Venture Partners is a partnership of experienced investors, operating executives and entrepreneurs. The firm's mission is to identify, invest in and partner with seed, early stage and middle-market businesses having exceptional promise, helping them to grow into market-leading companies. Polaris invests in businesses across a number of sectors including technology, consumer services, and healthcare. Past Polaris-backed successes include: Adnexus (acquired by BMS), Advanced Inhalation Research (acquired by Alkermes), Akamai Technologies (AKAM), Allaire (ALLR, acquired by Adobe), Alnylam Pharmaceuticals (ALNY), Asthmatx (acquired by Boston Scientific), Athenix (acquired by Bayer), Glycofi (acquired by Merck), Internet Brands (acquired by Hellman and Friedman), Ironwood (IRWD), LogMeIn (LOGM), Momenta Pharmaceuticals (MNTA), Powersoft (PWRS, acquired by Sybase), Solidworks, and TechTarget (TTGT). Its current portfolio includes notable investments which include: Adimab, Art.com, Cardlytics, Confluence, e-Rewards, Focus Financial, LegalZoom, LivingProof, and ShoeDazzle. For more on the firm, its mission and its portfolio companies: http://polarisventures.com.
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