Cambridge, UK-based bit.bio, a human cell coding company, raised $103M (approx €89.1M) in a Series B round of funding. Arch Ventures, Charles River Laboratories, Foresite Capital, Resilience, Metaplanet, Puhua Capital, and Tencent participated in the funding round.
A new, prominent Board of Directors
The new round of funding adds several notable names to bit.bio’s board of directors, including monoclonal antibody innovator and Nobel-winning scientist Greg Winter, Amadeus Capital Partners co-founder Dr. Hermann Hauser, and Pharmasset and Roivant founder Alan S. Roemer.
Co-founder Dr. Florian Schuster became the company’s part in 2018 as the company continued to evolve and expand.
Mark Kotter, CEO of bit.bio, says, “I’m thrilled that bit.bio is supported by world-class investors and strategic partners. The capital will enable us to accelerate our clinical and commercial scale-up and to deliver cell therapies for every patient, everywhere.”
The Roadmap Ahead
This funding will be used to expedite the clinical development of the company’s exclusive cell coding technology, OPTi-OX .
As per bit.bio, first-generation cell therapies are made with a mix of cells that are often not in very good shape, mostly because scientists will start with cells from patients who are already battling cancer.
Kotter developed a platform approach to coding for cells at an industrial scale at the University of Cambridge’s Stem Cell Institute after his discovery of OPTi-OX technology.
The new gene engineering method lets unlimited batches of human cells to be manufactured efficiently and consistently through direct reprogramming of stem cells.
There are already two products for research and drug discovery from bit.bio – glutamatergic neurons and skeletal myocytes – with disease models and other cell types to follow.
The company is also planning to empower its growth ioCells product portfolio where OPTi-OX is used to create unique human cell products because they offer consistency at scale and the cells are highly defined.
According to the company, ioCells enables the company’s partners and customers to conduct translational research and drug development using physiologically relevant human cell models. By bridging the translation gap in drug development with human cells, they will be able to open up new treatment possibilities and improve the chances of clinical success.
What sets bit.bio apart from others?
Bit.bio is among many companies using an off-the-shelf approach starting with engineered pluripotent stem cells. Other entrants in the field include Garuda Therapeutics and Clade Therapeutics.
Although other companies in that space have made progress, bit.bio has a few stem cell products already being tested in the market while the others still have issues with scale and reproducibility.