Biotech startup Mogrify secures $3.7 million seed funding to accelerate and transform cell therapy via direct cellular conversion
Mogrify, a U.K. based biotech startup aiming to transform the future development of cell therapies, has raised $3.7 million seed funding to market novel IP and cell types generated using its proprietary direct cellular conversion platform, which will power the development and manufacture of lifesaving cell therapies across all therapeutic areas. This is the company second close on its seed funding. The latest round was led by existing investor Ahren Innovation Capital (Ahren), with participation from 24Haymarket and Dr Disley. In conjunction with the funding, the company also announced the appointment of Darrin M Disley, PhD, DSc, OBE, as CEO. The Company will use the funding to market novel IP and cell types generated using its proprietary direct cellular conversion platform, which will power the development and manufacture of lifesaving cell therapies across all therapeutic areas.
Founded in 2016, Mogrify has developed a systematic big data-science approach (Rackham et al., Nature Genetics, 2016) powered by next-generation sequencing and gene-regulatory data to identify the optimal combination of transcription factors (in vitro) or small molecules (in vivo), needed to convert any mature cell type into any other mature cell type without going through a pluripotent stem cell- or even a progenitor cell-state. The Company is applying this approach to address the issues of efficacy, safety and scalability currently associated with cell therapy development and manufacturing, which is estimated to represent a $30 billion USD market opportunity and is rapidly growing (CAGR +30%).
Mogrify builds on a 10 year investment by its co-founders in the development of a systematic big data-science approach (Rackham et al., Nature Genetics, 2016) powered by next-generation sequencing and gene-regulatory data to identify the optimal combination of transcription factors (in vitro) or small molecules (in vivo), needed to convert any mature cell type into any other mature cell type without going through a pluripotent stem cell- or even a progenitor cell-state. Further, through its internal development and partnership programs, the Company is positioned to directly address growing markets that are unserved by approved cell therapies, such as cardiac repair and cartilage regeneration end-user markets, estimated to be worth $120 billion USD and $7 billion USD by 2022 and 2025, respectively.
Mogrify’s leadership team is of significant commercial and scientific caliber. The Company was founded by leading academics in bioinformatics, Professor Julian Gough (LMB, Cambridge, UK), cell reprograming, Professor Jose Polo (Monash University, Melbourne, AU), and machine learning, Assistant Professor Owen Rackham (Duke-NUS, Singapore), and is chaired by Professor Steve Jackson, FRS, Ahren Science Partner, originator of Olaparib/Lynparza, and University of Cambridge Professor of Biology.
Dr Disley is a renowned scientist, entrepreneur, angel investor and enterprise champion who has started, grown or invested in over 40 start-up life science, technology and social enterprises, raising $500 million USD in business financing and closing $600 million USD in commercial deals. He was CEO of Horizon Discovery Group plc for 11 years, during which he led the Company from start-up through a $113 million USD IPO, and rapid scale-up powered by multiple acquisitions of US peer companies to become a global market leader in gene editing and gene modulation technologies. He was appointed OBE in 2018 for his services to business and enterprise in the healthcare sector.
Commenting on the funding, Professor Julian Gough, PhD, Co-founder and CSO, Mogrify, said: “To have the backing of such high-profile investors at this stage in the Company’s development is testament to the strength of both the Mogrify technology and the promised growth potential offered by a highly scalable business model. I look forward to working with Darrin as CEO. I believe we have a shared mission to transform the future development of lifesaving cell therapies.”
“Direct reprograming between mature human cell types is a holy grail of regenerative medicine and pharmaceutical applications. We will commercialize the Mogrify cellular trans differentiation platform via IP licensing, product development, internal and partnered drug development. I am thrilled to be working with a world-class multi-disciplinary founding team, and a lead investor with founders of rarely matched scientific pedigree, as we rapidly expand to address the global cell therapy opportunity,” said Dr Darrin M Disley, OBE, CEO, Mogrify.
Alice Newcombe-Ellis, Founder and Managing Partner, Ahren Innovation Capital, said: “Mogrify’s team has a strong track record of success, and their cutting-edge approach to direct cellular conversion has the potential to disrupt cell therapy, placing the Company in a unique position to address a large market opportunity. This is an exciting time for Mogrify and we are pleased to be supporting them.”