Three Groundbreaking Biotech Startups Receive Funding from Peter Thiel’s Breakout Labs
June 11, 2014 (Source: Businesswire) — Breakout Labs, Peter Thiel’s nonprofit fund that supports scientific innovation, announced its latest investments in three early-stage companies, each driving radical science to advance human health. The new grants bring the total number of companies backed by Breakout Labs to 19.
Cortexyme is developing therapeutics that could alter the course of Alzheimer’s and other disorders of aging. Their breakthrough is based on the link between a specific pathogen and human brain degeneration, discovered by founder Stephen Dominy, M.D., Division Director at San Francisco General Hospital and Associate Clinical Professor at UCSF. Breakout Labs funding will allow Cortexyme to develop a diagnostic and treatment-monitoring method for the general population, test the potential of several patent-pending therapeutics, and develop novel small molecule candidates. Based in San Francisco, CA, the company is led by CEO Casey Lynch.
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G-Tech Medical is developing a wireless, wearable “EKG for the gut” that senses muscle activity from the GI tract over several days and relays data to a smartphone and on to a cloud server. The data will transform physicians’ ability to determine underlying causes of functional GI disorders and the effectiveness of treatments. Founded by Uday Devanaboyina, Ph.D., and led by CEO Steve Axelrod, Ph.D., G-Tech Medical was selected to be a company-in-residence by the Fogarty Institute for Innovation, where it will benefit from close collaborations with practicing physician mentors.
EpiBone, based in the newly opened Harlem Biospace, uses computed tomography (CT) scans and fat-derived stem cells to engineer the patient’s own living bone with the precise anatomical fit to the defect being treated. Based on 15 years of NIH-funded bone tissue engineering research, EpiBone’s technology was developed by Professor Gordana Vunjak-Novakovic, Ph.D., Mikati Foundation Professor of Bioengineering and Medical Sciences, Columbia University. The company is led by CEO Nina Tandon, Ph.D., a former post-doctoral fellow in the Vunjak-Novakovic laboratory and Senior TED Fellow, and has been funded by the BioAccelerate program from NYC Tech Connect, an initiative of the Partnership Fund for New York City.
“Breakout Labs companies show that cutting-edge science thrives under new business models – not only in their funding but in their access to new types of workspaces and professional communities as well,” said Lindy Fishburne, Breakout Labs’ Executive Director. “Working with hubs of innovation like Fogarty Institute and Harlem Biospace, we are helping catapult decades of promising scientific research out of the lab and into the economy.”
A list of all Breakout Labs grant recipients is available at http://www.breakoutlabs.org/portfolio/.
ABOUT BREAKOUT LABS
Breakout Labs, a program of the Thiel Foundation, is reshaping the way early-stage science and technology companies are funded. Breakout Labs supports 19 companies in areas ranging from food science and biomedicine to clean energy. Breakout Labs provides up to $350,000 for companies to achieve specific milestones that are critical to their development. The program provides support in the form of key introductions to potential follow-on funders, refinement of business plans and presentations, an annual demo day with potential investors, and resources that facilitate the process of building their companies. Successful companies will return a capped royalty stream and a small percentage of equity to Breakout Labs and, thereby, contribute to the next generation of scientific innovation. For more information, www.BreakoutLabs.org.
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