May 5, 2021
Isolere Bio Closes $7 Million in Seed Funding
Biomanufacturing innovations to accelerate the development and commercialization of cell and gene therapies
“We are thrilled to be teaming up with a top-tier, science-driven investor who believes in and shares our mission of delivering technologies for a healthier and safer world.”
–Kelli Luginbuhl, PhD
Founder and CEO, Isolere Bio
DURHAM, N.C. – May 5, 2021 – 7:00 a.m. ET – Isolere Bio, Inc., a Duke University spinout focused on reimagining the manufacturing of complex therapeutics, announced $7 million in Seed funding from lead investor Northpond Ventures. This funding will support development, scaleup, and commercialization of Isolere’s most advanced purification technology for adeno-associated virus (AAV) vectors.
Isolere was founded with a vision to simplify and streamline the purification of biotherapeutics to improve global access to important drugs. The emergence of cell and gene therapies has led to the development of incredibly promising yet complex molecules whose poor manufacturability creates high costs and limits their clinical impact. Complex therapeutic innovations require the industry to move beyond decades-old technologies that were designed for much smaller and simpler drugs. Isolere’s IsoTag™ technology aims to improve viral vector yields by at least 50% and productivity by 5-10x using a purification platform with broad pipeline compatibility that scales linearly. The IsoTag™ technology will accelerate therapeutic development timelines and the improved manufacturability will lower cost of goods, driving more equitable access worldwide.
The company is beginning with AAV vectors, which are the go-to platform for gene delivery in the treatment of various diseases, accounting for nearly 40% of the viral vector market. Financing will fund platform expansion to other viral vectors critical to cell therapy, along with mRNA, which is expected to experience continued growth due to the success of COVID-19 vaccines. The company is currently seeking talented scientists and engineers to add to the team to support these new applications.
Isolere was founded in 2017 by Ashutosh Chilkoti, Ph.D.; Kelli Luginbuhl, Ph.D.; and Joe McMahon (former CEO of contract manufacturer KBI Biopharma). Early supporters of Isolere’s technology include the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the National Science Foundation (NSF), who provided initial small business grants, as well as the North Carolina Biotech Center.
“We are thrilled to be teaming up with a top-tier, science-driven investor who believes in and shares our mission of delivering technologies for a healthier and safer world,” said Luginbuhl, Founder and CEO, Isolere Bio. “With this new funding, we will be able to grow our team, diversify product development, and robustly demonstrate how our technology solves major biomanufacturing problems from the lab bench to commercial scale.”
Isolere is developing proprietary molecules that are inspired by nature and display unique, engineerable phase behavior, even in complex environments. These molecules are designed to have exquisite specificity for a therapeutic and user-triggered liquid phase behavior — think oil and vinegar separation on command. Isolere’s molecules pull the therapeutic into pure, concentrated droplets that are easily separated from contaminants using a scalable filtration process. By using validated, off-the-shelf filters and familiar equipment, Isolere is developing the technology to plug straight into existing manufacturing processes. Isolere is already involved with leading companies in the viral vector space.
Isolere joins a deeply rooted scientific portfolio within Northpond, spanning companies in life science R&D solutions, molecular diagnostics, digital health, and therapeutics. Adam Wieschhaus, Ph.D., CFA, Director at Northpond Ventures, will join Isolere’s Board of Directors.
“Northpond is honored to collaborate with Isolere and contribute this seed financing,” said Wieschhaus. “Isolere’s technology represents a step change in how gene therapies will be manufactured. We are privileged to collaborate with this incredibly talented team in developing highly accessible and scalable solutions for gene therapy manufacturing.”
About Isolere bio
Isolere Bio (http://www.isolerebio.com) is developing next-generation biomanufacturing technologies that build upon phase separating materials invented in the Chilkoti Laboratory at Duke University. These materials and accompanying processes are being applied to viral vectors essential to cell and gene therapies. Isolere’s technology will ensure the manufacturing industry can keep pace with innovations in therapeutics as well as improve the manufacturability of these increasingly complex molecules to extend their ability in reaching patients around the globe.
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