BOSTON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--GRO Biosciences Inc. (“GRObio”), an emerging biotechnology company leveraging groundbreaking science to expand the amino acid alphabet and deliver on the promise of protein therapeutics, today announced the closing of a Series A financing totaling $25 million co-led by Leaps by Bayer and Redmile Group. The financing was joined by lead seed investors Digitalis Ventures, Innovation Endeavors and others bringing the total investment to $31.2 million.
GRObio’s mission is to transform protein-based therapies for increasingly prevalent chronic medical conditions including autoimmune and metabolic diseases. Protein therapeutics represent a nearly $200 billion market, yet product stability, immunogenicity, and delivery into the cell remain significant obstacles to treatment. GRObio is identifying, addressing, and removing these and other limitations to provide safer, simpler, and more effective therapies that improve the lives of patients. The capital raised will support development of the GRO platform, scale-up of bioprocess manufacturing, preclinical validation studies and IND-enabling studies for GRObio’s pipeline of unique non-standard amino acid (NSAA) protein therapeutics to treat autoimmune and metabolic diseases.
“We are thrilled for the support of our existing and new investors, including Leaps by Bayer and Redmile Group, who share our vision of an expanded amino acid alphabet that overcomes the challenges of current protein therapies to improve health outcomes for countless patients,” said Daniel J. Mandell, PhD, Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer of GRO Biosciences. “Using our GRO platform and proprietary biofoundry technologies, our team has designed, tested and selected our first families of NSAA chemistries to drive our product pipeline, focused initially on autoimmune and metabolic disorders. Our plan is to simultaneously pursue strategic partnerships to keep core value in the company while advancing our own internally developed programs. I look forward to providing updates on the continued progress of our platform and pipeline.”
“As one of its key challenges, Leaps by Bayer is committed to advancing paradigm-shifting breakthroughs to permanently reverse autoimmune disease,” said Jürgen Eckhardt, MD, MBA, Head of Leaps by Bayer. “Partnering with GRObio is an outstanding example of fulfilling this mandate. GRObio combines world class science with pioneering approaches to protein engineering to create tomorrow’s therapies or even cures enabling lives free of chronic pain, significantly improved disease management and freedom from life-threatening conditions. It’s exciting that our funding will help the GRObio team expand its platform and advance its assets toward the clinic.”
The proprietary GRO platform, developed in the labs of Dr. George Church, is comprised of the first production organisms with modified genomes that enable the production of proteins with NSAAs – protein building blocks that expand beyond the typical 20 amino acids. The Company’s uniquely scalable and stable production platform delivers protein therapeutics with chemistries and properties previously inaccessible to protein engineering.
GRObio is advancing its first two families of NSAA platform chemistries to build its product pipeline. DuraLogic™ chemistries focus on therapeutic stability and dosing schedule, while ProGly™ chemistries provide biologics that reeducate the immune system to treat autoimmune disease, or to eliminate immunogenic side effects of protein-based therapies.
“GRO Biosciences is redefining protein therapeutics by removing the fundamental limitations of producing proteins with NSAAs. Their work opens the doors for a new universe of proteins with therapeutic properties that were previously impossible even to consider. GRObio’s world-class team is only limited by their imaginations,” said Geoffrey W. Smith, JD, Founder and Managing Partner of Digitalis Ventures and GRObio Board Director.
About the GRO Platform
The GRO platform expands the amino acid alphabet to overcome the limitations of protein therapeutics currently impeding the treatment of disease. The platform comprises the first production organisms with modified genomes and engineered protein translational machinery for high-efficiency production of non-standard amino acid (NSAA) proteins at commercial scale. The Company has constructed a differentiated biofoundry consisting of proprietary computational protein design and robotics pipelines to streamline development of NSAA translational machinery and NSAA protein products. GRObio leverages world-class strain and genome engineering, automation, analytics, and protein design software to build uniquely scalable NSAA protein “factories” from trillions of candidates.
The DuraLogic™ platform chemistry encompasses a product family integrating non-standard amino acids (NSAAs) to enhance and maintain the three-dimensional structure of proteins needed for therapeutic activity. DuraLogic NSAAs impart proteins with unprecedented duration of action providing safe and convenient therapeutic benefits such as flatter pharmacodynamic profiles and relaxed dosing schedules.
The ProGly™ platform chemistry comprises glycan-containing non-standard amino acids (NSAAs) that can induce or inhibit an immune reaction. The GRO platform enables precise placement of defined ProGly compositions on the protein surface necessary to elicit a defined immune response. The Company’s first ProGly NSAAs reeducate the immune system to recognize a protein as “self” or “non-self” — a totally new modality for eliminating autoimmunity and anti-drug antibodies.
About GRO Biosciences
GRO Biosciences (“GRObio”) is leveraging groundbreaking science to expand the amino acid alphabet and deliver on the promise of protein therapeutics. The Company is transforming treatments in diverse areas including autoimmune and metabolic diseases to improve the lives of patients. GRObio is applying its platform to advance partnered and collaborative programs, as well as its own pipeline of protein therapeutics bearing unique NSAA (non-standard amino acid) chemistries. The Company’s NSAA therapeutics feature previously unattainable capabilities including unprecedented duration of action and precise regulation of the immune system. GRObio, co-founded by Dr. George Church of Harvard Medical School in 2016, is headquartered in Cambridge, MA. Find GRObio on LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and the web at grobio.com.