MassBio® Announces Inaugural Cohort of Next Generation Biotech Accelerator

Mar 15, 2022

Selected companies will participate in MassBioDrive’s eight-week program to grow businesses and advance breakthrough science.

March 15, 2022 (CAMBRIDGE, MA) – The Massachusetts Biotechnology Council (MassBio®) today announced the five emerging biotech companies chosen to participate in the spring 2022 cohort of MassBioDrive. An expansion of MassBio’s support for entrepreneurs, MassBioDrive harnesses the power of MassBio’s global life sciences network to help new founders launch their startups more effectively and efficiently.

“The science and technologies that these companies are pioneering represent the future of the life sciences,” said Joe Boncore, CEO of MassBio. “From simplifying CAR-T production to developing new therapeutics for acute kidney injury patients, the MassBioDrive spring cohort has enormous potential to address pressing unmet medical needs.”

“We talk a lot at MassBio about the life sciences ecosystem in the Commonwealth and talent is the ecosystem’s greatest strength,” said Kendalle Burlin O’Connell, President & COO of MassBio. “Through MassBioDrive’s community-focused program, we are proud to support the next generation of entrepreneurs and to foster their innovative science and technologies. We can’t wait to see what this inaugural cohort will do.”

Over the course of the eight-week program, selected startups will participate in growth-focused business training taught by seasoned experts; partner with a small, dedicated group of industry mentors; and connect with MassBio’s global life sciences network through ecosystem-wide events and targeted partnering opportunities. Startups will receive a stipend award from Bristol Myers Squibb and access to and/or resources from MassBioDrive partners including Evaluate, Watershed Informatics, Springer Nature, and MassChallenge.

Startups were selected following a rigorous vetting and interview process, led by a Review Board of industry leaders. The program ends with a Demo Day for invited guests on May 5, during MassBio’s State of Possible annual conference.

To meet the selected startups and to network with MassBio’s innovation community, join MassBio at its Spring Cohort Mixer on March 30, 2022. Learn more and register here.  

MassBioDrive Spring 2022 Cohort

Artificial Axon Labs | Topsfield, Massachusetts

Artificial Axon Labs is developing a transformational drug discovery platform to discover medicines for neurodegenerative diseases. Its technology, developed by the company founders at MIT, combines novel biocompatible materials, state-of-the-art 3D printing of axon mimics (Artificial Axons), and patient-derived human cells to generate first-in-class remyelinating drugs for Multiple Sclerosis.

Anna Jagielska, Ph.D., President, CEO, CSO, & Co-Founder
Kavin Kowsari, Vice President, CTO, & Co-Founder

Atorvia Health Technologies | Ottawa, Canada

Atorvia’s purpose is to transform outcomes for patients with severe medical conditions. Their initial focus is acute kidney injury (AKI), a devastating condition which affects millions worldwide yet still lacks effective therapy. To address this crisis, they are developing a kidney-targeted peptide that prevents regulated cell death and kidney failure.

Jane Lapon, CEO
David Allinson, CFO & Head of Business Development
Nermeen Varawalla, M.D., Chair Clinical Advisory Group
Steven C. Borkan, M.D., Associate Professor, Boston Medical Center

Modulari-T Biosciences | Montreal, Canada

Modulari-T is a preclinical stage immunotherapy startup developing a novel platform, the MARC, to reprogram immune cells for oncology and beyond. Its MARC technology is twice as potent as CAR-T, while reducing side-effects ten-fold which will enable adoptive cell therapy to break-in to new indications in autoimmunity and regenerative medicine.

David Cotnoir-White, Ph.D., CEO & Co-Founder
Étienne Gagnon, Ph.D., CSO & Co-Founder

PhenoTarget Biosciences | San Diego, California

PhenoTarget Biosciences, Inc. is a biotech startup focused on the discovery and development of first-in-class therapies for unmet medical needs including oncology, fibrosis, cardiovascular diseases, and infectious diseases. It is modality agnostic that its pipeline and technology platforms span small molecules to functionalized peptides and next generation cell therapies.

Shoutian Zhu, Ph.D., CEO & Co-Founder
Wenshe Liu, Ph.D., CSO & Co-Founder
James Schaeffer, Ph.D., CBO & Co-Founder | Newton, Massachusetts is an early-stage synthetic biology company focused on the discovery, development, and future commercialization of precision therapeutics using its proprietary Linear DNA and Circular RNA technology platforms. aims to deliver novel and effective therapeutics and vaccines enabling precise corrective and preventive treatments for patients worldwide.

Martin Williams, CEO & Founder

MassBioDrive Review Board

James (Jay) Bradner, M.D., President, Novartis Institutes for BioMedical Research, Inc.

Christine Brennan, Ph.D., Managing Director, Vertex Ventures HC

Abraham Ceesay, President, Cerevel Therapeutics

Omar H. Khalil, Partner, Santé Ventures

Jen Nwankwo, Ph.D., Founder and CEO, 1910 Genetics

MassBioDrive 2022 Premier Sponsors

Bristol Myers Squibb, Evaluate

MassBioDrive 2022 Curriculum Experts

J.P. Morgan, KPMG, Marsh McLennan, Thermo Fisher Scientific, Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati, Xontogeny

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