Here are the 10 companies of the latest New York cohort of IndieBio – TechCrunch
Most of the big accelerators tend to devote some of their resources to extremely difficult scientific problems and the companies that take care of them… but for SOSV’s IndieBio, that is the main focus.
The last time we spoke with IndieBio, their companies were working on everything from lozenges to treat gum disease, to vertical farms for sustainable shrimp production, to safeguarding bees.
While IndieBio’s next Demo Day is still a few months away, their next batch of companies in New York have been selected and are already solving a whole new set of issues – things like tackling opioid addiction, improving crop yields amid climate change, or making better / safer leather alternatives out of things we would otherwise throw away.
I made a call with Julie Wolf, Scientific Director of IndieBio NY, who explained to me a bit about what each company in this latest New York batch was working on. Here is my understanding of each business in the new class, in alphabetical order:
Ceragen: Making a microbe-based ‘inoculant’ that improves crop production in hydroponic greenhouses, using beneficial bacteria to help plants increase heat resistance, fight root rot, and more. The team say they have seen yield increases of up to 20% in tomatoes (think more fruit, not bigger fruit.)
HelEx: Building what they call a “smart GPS for gene editing” to enable faster and safer development of CRISPR-based gene therapies.
Inso Bio: Built by a team at Cornell, Inso strives to dramatically simplify the process of genomic sequencing and sample processing – taking what Wolf calls a “multi-step, high-intensity” process that “requires a lot of lab staff. “(and is therefore often late for months in a given lab) and turning it into a piece of hardware that manages everything.
Kinoko Laboratories: Alternatives to whole cut meat (think steaks and cutlets instead of nuggets and burger patties) grown / made from mushrooms, using fungal mycelium to create a meat alternative with more taste / textures close to those of real meats. The company currently has chicken and steak prototypes in development.
Kutanios: Working on a peptide based product which when applied topically would help prevent sun damage / aging, while being biodegradable and environmentally safe. One of the founders is Dr Norman Miller, a scientist known for co-authoring a 1975 hypothesis on the role of HDL in protecting against heart disease – in other words, for discovering that there is a “Good” cholesterol.
Kyomeï: Wolf tells me that this team is working on growing meat protein (myoglobin) in plants on a large scale, which could be extracted and added to plant-based meat substitutes to “give them that umami taste.”
Pannex Therapeutics: In seeking to tackle the ever-worsening opioid epidemic, Pannex is working on what it expects to be a non-addictive pain reliever. The company’s website says its drug (PNX3) “connects to and blocks the Pannexin 1 channel” – regulating one of the ways the brain treats excess ATP like pain.
RizLab Health: Antibiotic resistant “superbug” bacterial infections are terrifying, and overuse of unnecessary antibiotics only makes the situation worse. A Rutgers spin-off, RizLab is working on a desktop / portable machine for rapid CBC tests that can help a doctor quickly determine if an infection is viral or bacterial – thus, hopefully, stopping the tendency to throw away antibiotics. above all.
TômTex: Alternatives to leather made from scraps of seafood – they turn things like crab or shrimp shells into chitosan, a biodegradable polymer that they can then turn into cheaper but more durable alternatives to leather. The team has already won numerous awards from groups including LVHM (the holding company behind companies like Louis Voitton, Fendi, Christian Dior, etc.)
Law: Work on “oat milk as nutritious as dairy,” using concentrated oat protein (rather than more commonly used things like pea protein or soy protein) to keep it hypoallergenic.