George Church Lab Spinout, GRO Biosciences, Secures $2.1 Million in Seed Funding

BOSTON, Sept. 28, 2017 /PRNewswire/ — GRO Biosciences Inc. today announced that the company has secured $2.1 million in a seed funding round led by Digitalis Ventures and joined by Eric Schmidt’s Innovation Endeavors. The funds will support buildout of bioprocess development for GRO Biosciences’ platform of genomically recoded bacteria for the production of therapeutic proteins with enhanced properties, such as increased potency and stability, and improved targeting and delivery into cells and tissues.

GRO Biosciences was co-founded by the following:

  • George M. Church, Ph.D., professor of genetics, Harvard Medical School, will serve as head of the company’s scientific advisory board.
  • Andrew D. Ellington, Ph.D., professor of biochemistry, University of Texas at Austin, will serve on the company’s scientific advisory board.
  • Daniel J. Mandell, Ph.D., will serve as the company’s CEO.
  • Christopher J. Gregg, Ph.D., will serve as the company’s chief scientific officer.
  • P. Benjamin Stranges, Ph.D., will serve as the company’s principal scientist.
  • Marc J. Lajoie, Ph.D., and Ross Thyer, Ph.D., will serve the company in advisory roles on a consulting basis.

By recoding the genomes of bacterial strains used in biologics production, GRO Biosciences can expand beyond the 20 amino acid building blocks typically found in proteins to introduce non-standard amino acids that can customize the shape and chemical properties of the protein.

“For decades, bacteria have been used as the workhorses of the biotech industry in the production of blockbuster therapeutics, and we believe that we can dramatically expand their utility by recoding their genomes,” said Dr. Church. “GRO Biosciences’ technology addresses the fundamental limitations of producing proteins with non-standard amino acids, opening up the possibility of creating a new universe of designer proteins with enhanced therapeutic properties at commercial scale.”

Nearly all monoclonal antibodies, as well as many other…

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