Seattle based startup curi bio raised $10 million to promote its human stem cell-based drug discovery platform.
Curie biology can screen new drugs by using cells extracted from human tissue, namely induced pluripotent stem cells (IPSC). It specializes in heart, musculoskeletal and neuromuscular models. “Discovering new therapies requires human related disease models. Curie is trying to narrow the gap between preclinical and clinical results,” CEO Michael Cho said in a statement announcing the funding on Wednesday.
The start-up company provides customized research services for its pharmaceutical company partners, including analytical development and drug screening. Kuri biology has established cooperative relations or customer relationships with many large biopharmaceutical companies.
Michael Cao, CEO of Curie biology. (photo of Curie Biology)
“We use IPSC to build functional 3D engineering tissue models, such as beating heart tissue,” Elliot Fisher, chief commercial officer and co-founder, said in an email to geekwire. “As an added benefit, all this reduces the need for animal testing.”
Curi bio also sells cell culture products, including a “mantarray” platform for three-dimensional culture of engineered muscle tissue and measuring its contractility. The company also sells a “cell stretcher” for cell stretching experiments, which can be used to “image living cells during stretching”
After the $6 million financing round this spring, a series a financing round was conducted. The six-year-old company also received a grant of more than $6 million from the U.S. National Institutes of health.
Last year, curry bio changed its name from nanosurface biomedical to move into a 5000 square foot space near the Seattle coast.
In 2020, Curie biology also acquired Dana solutions, a start-up company that applies artificial intelligence and machine learning to cell analysis. The agreement is based on the acquisition of spuloutand tealstudio ALM selenenealtea technology, stem cell cryopreservation and banking company 2019 at the University of Washington.
Elliot Fisher, chief commercial officer and co-founder of Curie biology. (photo of Curie Biology)
In October this year, curry biology announced the establishment of Seattle based celogics, a joint venture with Korean stem cell company nexel. Celogics will focus on developing and commercializing products derived from IPSC for drug discovery, drug safety testing and research.
“Curi is currently at an important turning point, driven by a major trend in disease first drug discovery,” Fisher said. He started his company in 2015 with his former research consultant at the University of Washington, deok ho Kim, who is now at Johns Hopkins University.
Fisher pointed out that pharmaceutical companies have traditionally screened macromolecular libraries for specific molecular targets rather than human tissues. “For pharmaceutical companies, the scalability of our platform is key. Especially for healthy and diseased striated muscle models (heart and skeletal muscle), we have seen a rapidly growing user base in the drug R & D community.”
Fisher said curi bio can make tissue from iPSCs from healthy people, patients or edited cells with pathogenic mutations.
With the maturity of stem cell research in the past few years, many companies have been established to develop IPSC based therapies. Others, such as ncardia in Belgium, are more focused on the use of these cells in screening analysis and drug development. Ncardia raised $60 million in November to promote its IPSC based immunooncology platform.
Kuri bio’s mantary platform is running, showing the maturation of contractile muscle tissue. (Kuri biology video)
Kuri biology will use new funds to expand its business scale and accelerate the development of mantarray platform and other organizational analysis products. The company has 37 employees.
The new round of financing is led by dynamk capital, a former investor, including UTC investment and DS asset management.