MassBio’s Biotech Accelerator, MassBioDrive, Announces Fall 2023 Cohort of Startups

Sep 19, 2023

The latest cohort of MassBioDrive, a key initiative of MassBio’s innovation programming designed to support life sciences startups, was announced today by MassBio and features five emerging biotechs from Massachusetts and Connecticut.

The companies: Beginning this week and running through closing pitches at a Demo Day on November 16, these five biotechs will learn from and connect with MassBio’s global life sciences network. This is who they are …

  • Cloverleaf Bio (New Haven, CT) has developed a new type of RNA therapeutics, based on tRNAs. Its engineered tRNAs have a broad range of applications including oncology, viral infection, and neurodegenerative disorders. Cloverleaf’s patented tRNAs target core components of the cellular translation machinery—tRNA modifying enzymes—that are essential for disease progression.
  • Eascra Biotech (Boston, MA) is an early-stage nanomedicine start-up launched in Nov 2021. Its proprietary therapeutic delivery platform can deliver RNA, gene editing, and other therapeutic options to hard-to-penetrate tissues such as cartilage, kidney, brain, and some solid tumors. Eascra is partnering with NASA to advance its science here on earth.
  • Externa (Cambridge, MA) is a platform technology company from the Church and Collins labs that combines synthetic biology, chemistry, and machine learning to bring the power of medicinal chemistry to protein therapeutics with synthetic amino acids. These new-to-nature amino acids give proteins new capabilities, such as irreversible binding, longer stability, or pH-dependent activity.
  • PathCision Medicine(Watertown, MA) is harnessing tissue pathology insights to develop new targeted therapies. Built using a translational lens with a multi-omics approach, its proprietary discovery platform uncovers novel therapeutic avenues previously unavailable to patients with complex diseases. PathCision’s leading program is focused on developing a biologic modality for metastasis-selective delivery for multiple indications.
  • Tezcat Biosciences (New Haven, CT) is developing a portfolio of protein-drug conjugates to provide therapeutic options for patients harboring mutant RAS cancers. Tezcat’s current portfolio consists of conjugates combining its proprietary protein carrier with established drug payloads. To-date, Tezcat’s drug development has been supported by academic collaborations and government awards.

What we’re saying: “Innovation is how we drive therapies forward and get them closer to patients. We are committed to extending a helping hand to biotech entrepreneurs and giving them a foundation for success through MassBioDrive’s intensive coursework, mentoring, and networking.” – MassBio CEO and President Kendalle Burlin O’Connell

The programming: MassBioDrive provides each company with a market-focused launchpad of training, resources, and networks in their growth trajectory to fully realize the potential of their science – at no cost and with no equity taken. During a high impact, eight-week hybrid program, the five startups selected through a rigorous vetting process will:

  • Participate in six business-focused curriculum modules taught by seasoned experts from J.P. Morgan (Business Plan and Commercialization Strategy), KPMG (Regulatory Strategy), Marsh McLennan (People Strategy and Operations), Thermo Fisher Scientific (Drug Development), Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati (IP and Legal), and Xontogeny (Fundraising); 
  • Partner with a dedicated group of industry mentors;  
  • Connect with MassBio’s global life sciences network through ecosystem-wide events and targeted 1:1 partnering opportunities; and
  • After presenting at an invite-only Demo Day, receive a stipend award from Bristol Myers Squibb and access to and/or resources from MassBioDrive partners including Evaluate and Google Cloud.

Meet the founders: A networking event is the ecosystem’s first opportunity to engage with these companies and the broader biotech ecosystem. The innovation community is invited to connect with the F23 cohort on October 11, 2023 in the MassBioHub.

Drive’s history: Launched in 2022, MassBioDrive’s mission is to advance breakthrough science while providing opportunities to innovators from all parts of the life sciences ecosystem. Over its first three cohorts, MassBioDrive accelerated 16 companies, which represented seven states and two non-U.S. countries.

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