Mantra Bio today announced it has raised $25 million in a Series A financing to advance development of next generation, precision therapeutics based on its proprietary platform for engineering Targeted Exosome Vehicles (TEVs). 8VC and Viking Global Investors led the round, which also included Box Group and Allen & Company LLC. Total investment in the Company to date, including a $5 million seed round, is $30 million.
In connection with the financing, Francisco Gimenez, Ph.D., of 8VC will join the Company’s board of directors. David Moskowitz, Ph.D., also of 8VC, becomes a board observer.
Mantra Bio was established to capitalize on recent advances in the understanding of exosomes – lipid nano-vesicles naturally released by cells that serve as intercellular messengers – and the emergence of therapeutic technologies such as gene and RNA therapeutics for which targeted delivery is critical. New computational and analytical tools have revealed great diversity among exosomes and their respective functions, providing a foundation for engineering exosomes with potential to deliver therapeutics to specific cells and tissues for a wide range of diseases, with low immunogenicity.
“Mantra’s engineering of exosomes, the cell’s natural messaging system, to deliver therapeutics is an exciting approach to treating complex diseases,” said Dr. Gimenez. “At 8VC, we get excited about companies repurposing native biological mechanisms using technological approaches. We believe Mantra is well positioned to address the unmet needs in targeted therapies.”
Mantra Bio’s REVEAL™ is an automated high throughput platform that rapidly designs, tests and optimizes TEVs for specific therapeutic applications. The platform integrates computational approaches, wet biology, and robotics, to leverage the diversity of exosomes and enable the rational design of therapeutics directed at a wide range of tissue and cellular targets. REVEAL™ relies on a proprietary, Cloud-connected exosome-to-cell-to-tissue database and advanced machine learning technologies. TEV candidates are designed in silico, bioengineered with TEV-tissue targeting agents, loaded with drug “cargo,” screened in vitro and in vivo, and then optimized in a dry lab-to-wet lab “loop.”
Mantra Bio has also built and validated a scalable biomanufacturing process and related technologies to ensure this new class of therapeutics is made at high consistency and purity.
“The financing is a strong vote of confidence in our progress, our team and our vision for creating a new class of cell and tissue targeted therapeutics based on TEVs,” said Alex Mok, CEO and Co-founder at Mantra Bio. “The funds will accelerate development of our therapeutic pipeline and partnering efforts.”
Founded in 2016, Mantra Bio developed its initial technology at Illumina Accelerator.
“Mantra Bio has made impressive progress in building its platform as an exosome development engine, demonstrating TEVs’ targeting capability in vivo and establishing a robust manufacturing capability,” said Mostafa Ronaghi, Ph.D., Senior Vice President of Entrepreneurial Development at Illumina. “Their progress underscores the value that advanced RNA and protein analytic technologies can contribute to innovation in drug discovery and development. Mantra Bio’s platform and breadth of potential therapeutic applications provide a wealth of opportunities for the company’s proprietary programs and for partnering.”
Source – PR Newswire