MassBio’s biotech accelerator, MassBioDrive, announces Spring 2024 cohort of startups

Mar 18, 2024

MassBioDrive S24 - Cohort List- LinkedIn

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 California.

The companies: Beginning in April and running through closing pitches at a Demo Day on May 22, these five biotechs will learn from and connect with MassBio’s global life sciences network. This is who they are …

  • DoriNano (Boston, MA) aims to harness the potential of DNA origami technology to develop safe, effective, and low-cost combination nanomedicines that have precise cellular targeting with minimal effective doses of cargo for serious diseases. The company’s platform sets out to solve the past limitations of nanoparticles for delivering therapeutic cargo, offering unique advantages such as programmable size and shape, versatile cargo conjugation, precise nanospacing /stoichiometry controls, low immunogenicity, and flexible storage condition.
  • Hestia Therapeutics (Boston, MA), lending its name from the Greek goddess of the hearth, aims to bring inflammatory cells into the tumor microenvironment to unleash anti-tumor effects from within. Currently, more than 70% of cancer patients have tumors that are shielded from the immune cells directed by checkpoint inhibitors to kill cancer cells, leading to disease progression. Hestia is looking to provide a novel approach that will profoundly impact the lives of this segment of cancer patients.
  • Koi Biotherapeutics (Boston, MA) is focused on solving a fundamental challenge in CAR T-cell therapy—the lack of long-term persistence of CAR T-cells post-infusion. Koi has developed a novel CAR-Enhancer protein that selectively targets CAR T-cells and promotes their development into memory cells, thereby enhancing their activity and in vivo persistence and eliminating the need for additional engineering of CAR T-cells.
  • Nucyrna Therapeutics (Boston, MA) aims to address the unmet medical needs in ALS and other CNS disorders through its next-gen RNA-targeting technology. Nucyrna’s oligonucleotide platform can target both Nuclear & Cytoplasmic RNA, enabling unique RNA-targeting capacities for addressing complex pathology. Demonstrating a remarkable therapeutic index profile in CNS, the company is focused on neurodegenerative diseases.
  • Sphinxion Therapeutics (San Francisco, CA) leverages decades of academic research to bring forward therapeutic options targeting the sphingolipid metabolic pathway as a treatment for rare and common fibrotic diseases. Preliminary animal models in two specific diseases have been effectively treated with AAV gene therapy.

What we’re saying: “In Massachusetts, this industry delivers better treatments to patients faster and more effectively through innovation and innovation comes increasingly from early-stage startups and academic founders. MassBioDrive is how we can assist these pioneers through their most important stage of growth by leveraging every resource and connection that MassBio has in our network.”  – MassBio CEO and President Kendalle Burlin O’Connell

Meet the founders: 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 S24 cohort on April 17, 2024 in the MassBioHub.

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 Browne Consulting (Business Fundamentals), KPMG (Regulatory Strategy), Thermo Fisher Scientific (Drug Development), Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati (IP and Legal), Xontogeny (Fundraising), and other industry leaders (Demystifying Pharma Partnering Panel)
  • 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.

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 four cohorts, MassBioDrive accelerated 21 companies.

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