Modulus Therapeutics raises $3.5 million in seed funding round that was oversubscribed.
FREMONT, CA: Modulus Therapeutics, a cell therapy design firm powered by artificial intelligence, announces receiving $3.5 million funding in seed round that was oversubscribed. Madrona Venture Group led the round, which also included KdT Ventures and the Allen Institute for AI (AI2). Alana Welm and Raphael Gottardo, founding members of Modulus' Scientific Advisory Board, were also announced.
Modulus' Convergent Design platform, which integrates essential technology components such as gene editing, machine learning, multi-omics, and high-throughput in vivo screening to deliver an intelligent, unbiased method to immune cell therapy design, will receive the new funding.
"Modulus has an ambitious goal and an innovative platform combining modern machine learning, synthetic biology, and cutting-edge lab automation to treat tumors and eradicate cancer," said Chris Picardo, Investor at Madrona Venture Group. "Their method unlocks true high throughput screening for cancer-fighting immune cells and creates a massive new dataset that is perfectly suited for AI. We are excited to work with them as they build out their team and capabilities."
Modulus' initial emphasis is on creating natural killer (NK) cell-based therapeutics to treat metastatic breast cancer, drawing on recent progress in using these cells to treat solid tumors. Despite the tremendous growth of the cell treatment market, cell creation remains primarily a customized, craftsman-like process constrained by human biology understanding.
"High throughput discovery approaches in cell types such as natural killer cells have lagged behind those in other cell types," said Alana Welm, Scientific Advisor. "We're really excited about the therapeutic prospects of exploring the different ways that these cells can be engineered."
"The AI2 Incubator's mission is to help founders launch AI companies that have the potential to change the world," said Bryan Hale, Managing Director at the AI2 Incubator. "By harnessing cutting edge AI to seek out life-saving treatments for solid tumors, Modulus has the potential for a truly big impact."
"Modulus is the only company we've seen which is focused on engineering the chassis of these cells." said Rima Chakrabarti, MD, Principal at KdT Ventures. "By modulating the innate cellular machinery, Modulus can optimize not only for therapeutic efficacy but for improved manufacturability and storage as well, bringing us closer to curative, off-the-shelf immune cell therapies."
Modulus has revolutionized cell therapy discovery by greatly expanding the number of potential cells examined simultaneously and interpreting the data with machine learning. As a result, Modulus can understand how entire networks of genes, rather than just one gene, influence a cell's function.
"By combining high-throughput screening with machine learning, to interpret and predict genetic interactions, we get a multiplier on our experimental throughput that dwarfs previous approaches," said Bryce Daines, Ph.D., co-founder of Modulus. "Repeated over cell types and diseases the result is a flywheel of discovery."