Mekonos closes US$4.6mil capital raise

Our portfolio company Mekonos has formally closed its US$4.6mil capital raise, led by Novartis with participation from a number of US institutional VC Funds as well as Matū Fund. The capital will allow Mekonos to accelerate the development of System-on-Chip ex vivo gene engineering, with a clear path to market.

Read more here: https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/mekonos-raises-4-6m-for-its-gene-engineering-platform-301179095.html

a16z covers CRISPR

Andressen Horowitz has produced an interesting podcast episode about the recent Nobel Prize in Chemistry awarded to two researchers behind CRISPR, exploring When, Who, How, and What Now. They look at both the history and who was involved, as well as point towards exciting new directions into the future.

Listen here: https://a16z.com/2020/10/10/16mins-nobel-prize-crispr-gene-editing-jennifer-doudna-emmanuelle-charpentier/

CRISPR gene editing developers win Nobel Prize for Chemistry

Emmanuelle Charpentier and Jennifer Doudna have been awarded the Nobel Prize for Chemistry for their work on developing CRISPR, the revolutionary gene editing technology that allows scientists to cut and replace individual strands of DNA. This is part of the technology that enables the Mekonos platform, so we are ecstatic to see hard work recognised from Charpentier, Doudna, and also by association many others who have contributed to the development of CRISPR over time.

Read more here: https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-020-02765-9

Open Problems in Engineering Biology

Vijay Pande and Andy Tran from Andressen Horowitz have penned a piece about the top 16 open problems that they can see in engineering biology, particularly in the pharma space. There are a number of “traditional” methods waiting to be disrupted, from animal testing to computational modelling. Our portfolio company Mekonos is targeting problem #6 – engineering delivery systems.

Read the full article here: https://a16z.com/2020/07/22/16-open-problems-engineering-biology/

University of California Interviews Mekonos

The University of California Office of Innovation and Entrepreneurship has released a really great, accessible article about Mekonos, one of our portfolio companies. It details the journey that the team has taken, and how they plan to take gene therapy using nanobots into the future!

To read more, see https://www.ucop.edu/innovation-entrepreneurship/innovation-resources/collaborative-chip-technology-startup-looks-to-make-gene-therapy-affordable-accessible.html

Novartis focusing on disruptive technologies

The world’s largest pharmaceutical company, Novartis, has signalled their intent to move away from expensive manufacturing and towards new disruptive technologies like Crispr and CAR-T. While this means job losses in some manufacturing plants, jobs will also be created in cell and gene therapy manufacturing. This is great news for Mekonos, who have already been brought into Novartis facilities to develop their nano-robotic solution to cure diseases through cell therapy. Read more here: https://www.chemistryworld.com/news/novartis-to-cut-over-2000-jobs/3009579.article