Louis Metzger, Ph.D. joins as Chief Scientific Officer
SAN FRANCISCO–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Synvitrobio, the leader in cell-free natural product discovery, announced the closure of an oversubscribed $2.6 million seed funding round, led by Social Capital, with participation from Fifty Years and KdT Ventures. These announcements coincide with a name change to Tierra Biosciences. The name Tierra reflects the company’s strategic focus of exploring naturally-motivated molecules from the world’s soils and oceans.
Tierra Biosciences has developed proprietary methods to discover new molecules derived from nature. Tierra’s technology leverages advances in cell-free synthetic biology, automation, and computation to allow it to search for molecules inaccessible by current methods. The base technology was recently profiled in The Economist, “Cell-free biotech will make for better products.”
“Society struggles to find new natural products, but in our technology we see a radically different way to replenish our natural product pipeline. Natural products are encoded in DNA, and we can uniquely access that DNA to find the molecules of the next century,” said Zachary Sun, Tierra Biosciences’ CEO.
“For over 3.5 billion years, nature has produced billions of molecules, most of whose properties have yet to be discovered. These molecules could be used to cure disease, improve food production, and create the products of tomorrow,” said Jay Zaveri, Partner at Social Capital. “Zach and the Tierra Biosciences team are building a scalable platform for deepening our understanding of these molecules. We’re excited to support them on their quest to improve healthcare, agriculture and so many other areas.”
The company also announced the appointment of Louis Metzger, Ph.D., a former lead at Novartis, as Chief Scientific Officer. “Pharma has a tremendous need for new molecules that can hit intracellular targets. I’m excited to join Tierra’s team, and to leverage its technologies to discover new types of therapeutic compounds,” said Metzger.
The seed fundraising round caps off a year of significant growth for Tierra and follows support from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and Cyclotron Road, the Department of Defense, National Science Foundation, National Institutes of Health, the Gates Foundation, and the Department of Energy. Tierra will continue to work with its Fortune 500 partners to assist in identifying new molecules from nature.
About Tierra Biosciences
Tierra Biosciences is a San Francisco-based molecule and drug discovery company founded in 2015 by Zachary Sun, Ph.D., (C.E.O.), George Church, Ph.D. (Harvard), and Richard Murray, Ph.D. (California Institute of Technology). Tierra’s proprietary cell-free technologies enable the discovery of molecules that are difficult or impossible to produce in common types of laboratory cells. The company’s focus on novel molecules comes at a time where there is a significant slow-down of discovering new and effective antibiotics in the face of antibiotic resistance. Tierra’s technology revolves around using automation, computation, and high-throughput cell-free expression for expressing DNA from a variety of microbial sources.
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