Seed round led by Playground Global to focus on the advancement of next-generation mRNA-based cancer immunotherapies and development of its proprietary synthetic biology platform
The company will use the proceeds to make key hires at its headquarters in Cambridge, Massachusetts, grow its pipeline of engineered gene therapies, and further develop its synthetic biology platform.
“This capital will be instrumental to building out and scaling Strand’s mRNA programming technology,” said Jacob Becraft, Ph.D., co-founder and CEO at Strand Therapeutics. “This initial funding round will allow us to expand our scientific team and push our lead immunotherapy programs closer to realizing curative effects in patients,” added Tasuku Kitada, Ph.D., co-founder and President at Strand Therapeutics.
Strand Therapeutics is building a platform based on technology developed by biological engineers at MIT including scientific co-founders, Professor Ron Weiss, Ph.D., a pioneer of the field of synthetic biology, and Professor Darrell J. Irvine, Ph.D., a leading researcher of materials for immune-engineering. The co-founders sought to apply synthetic biology to the emerging field of mRNA therapeutics, building on the long-standing idea of creating therapies that are capable of making sophisticated decisions. The mRNA space was untapped by traditional synthetic biology, which led them to build their own “programming language,” creating the world’s first platform for smart mRNA therapies.
“The ability of Strand’s tunable mRNA therapeutic platform to dynamically respond to its microenvironment has exciting potential for treating many devastating diseases,” said Chris Otey, Ph.D., MBA, Senior Vice President, Science & Technology at Alexandria Venture Investments. “At Alexandria, we are particularly excited about its initial use in oncology where its programmability may allow it to kill tumors even as they begin to develop resistance. We are excited to support and work closely with the Strand team to ultimately bring highly impactful drugs to patients.”
“At Playground, I am privileged to meet hundreds of brilliant scientist-entrepreneurs addressing some of the world’s biggest challenges,” said Jory Bell, Partner at Playground Global. “Strand Therapeutics stands out as a uniquely ambitious and promising synthetic biology platform with a rockstar founding team out of MIT. Strand’s ‘Verilog for biology’ will usher in an era of truly programmable self-replicating therapeutic agents, initially targeting immuno-oncology applications but extending into other disease indications as well. We’re beyond excited to be partnering with such phenomenal entrepreneurs.”
About Playground Global
Playground Global is an early-stage venture capital firm with $850MM under management. Based in the heart of Silicon Valley, Playground invests in exceptional companies with the potential for multi-generational impact.
About Alexandria Venture Investments
Alexandria Venture Investments, founded in 1996, is the strategic venture capital arm of Alexandria Real Estate Equities, Inc. (NYSE:ARE). Alexandria Venture Investments focuses on novel, breakthrough discoveries in biopharmaceuticals, diagnostics, research tools, agtech, and technology. Alexandria Venture Investments provides long-term strategic investment capital to innovative life science and technology entities developing breakthrough technologies and therapies aimed at advancing human health by curing disease and improving nutrition. For more information, please visit www.are.com/venture-investments.html
ANRI is a leading seed/early stage-focused investment firm based in Tokyo, Japan. ANRI is committed to helping exceptional founders build their next major companies. The firm invests in a wide range of disruptive ideas and technologies from consumer service to biotechnology. Founded in 2012, ANRI has funded more than 100 companies including Raksul, UUUM, Mirrativ, hey and more. For more information, please visit http://anri.vc/
About Strand Therapeutics
Strand Therapeutics is an early-stage biotechnology company genetically programming revolutionary therapies to improve the lives of patients. Through pioneering work developed at MIT, Strand is building the world’s first smart mRNA therapeutics. Strand is expanding their innovative and rapidly expanding team that understands the value of working at a startup. Strand Therapeutics is a resident company of Johnson & Johnson Innovation, JLABS, a premier life science incubator program.