On March 8, one of the first companies we funded, Immusoft, announced it has acquired Discovery Genomics, Inc., bringing new expertise and technologies to its therapeutic platform. We asked Matthew Scholz, CEO, if he could share the story behind the acquisition and what it means for Immusoft going forward.
A Seattle biotech is working on technology that resembles the plot of Jurassic Park. Immusoft just acquired Minneapolis-based Discovery Genomics, a company that makes it possible for researchers to cut and paste DNA. The technology is called the Sleeping Beauty Transposon System. It gets its name from the process used to create it. … “In effect, they woke it up from an evolutionary sleep, which is how the name Sleeping Beauty became applied to it,” Immusoft CEO Matthew Scholz said. … Rather than making dinosaurs on a private island, though, Immusoft plans to make treatments for genetic diseases.
Immusoft, a Seattle-based biotech startup that has developed a way to manipulate human immune cells, today announced the acquisition of Discovery Genomics, a 16-year-old company based in Minneapolis, Minn. … Immusoft CEO Matthew Scholz said that his company acquired Discovery Genomics to gain its scientific expertise and key technology called the Sleeping Beauty Transposon System, which is used to deliver genes into cells to prevent or alleviate a disease state, all without using a virus. “Our two companies share a culture of innovation and a desire to change the way many diseases can be treated,” Scholz said in a statement. “It is my hope and expectation that combining our expertise and technology will help us in this pursuit.”
Immusoft has acquired Discovery Genomics…in a deal that expands the buyer’s technology holdings. With the acquisition, Immusoft has added to its portfolio Discovery Genomics’ Sleeping Beauty Transposon™ System, designed to deliver genes into cells using DNA rather than a virus. Immusoft said it plans to use the Sleeping Beauty Transposon System with its Immune System Programming (ISP™) technology platform. … Founded in 2000 and operational 2 years later, Discovery Genomics is based in Minneapolis. The company’s founders include Perry Hackett, Ph.D., whose lab invented the Sleeping Beauty Transposon System.
SEATTLE & MINNEAPOLIS–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Immusoft Corporation, a Seattle, Wash.-based gene therapy company, announced today it has purchased Minneapolis, Minn.-based Discovery Genomics, Inc. The acquisition brings to Immusoft renowned scientific expertise and key technology, the Sleeping Beauty Transposon System, which Discovery Genomics uses to deliver genes into cells without using a virus.
In 2008, Thiel made Founders Fund’s first substantial biotech investment…. Matthew Scholz … recruited biologists and bootstrapped Immusoft, which “programs” B cells–types of white blood cells that produce antibodies–to generate their own medicine. … Instead of injecting treatments into a patient, cells are extracted, rewired to produce a treatment, and then returned to the body. … [L]ong-lasting DNA therapies like Immusoft’s could become a giant thorn for pharma companies whose profits depend on eternal prescription refills. “Once we treat all their patients, they’re done,” says Scholz.
MPS I is a rare genetic disease that is incurable and lethal by age 12. Seattle-based Immusoft thinks it can harness a key part of the immune system to manufacture a missing enzyme needed to treat the disease. It represents a broader effort on the part of the company to develop a platform to treat a wide range of disease by turning immune system cells into drug factories.
For centuries, explorers have searched the world for the fountain of youth. Today’s billionaires believe they can create it, using technology and data.
What’s less well known about Thiel is his affinity for biotechnology. … He has invested in more than 25 startups…. Immusoft … is using gene therapy to turn blood cells into drug factories …. Matthew Scholz, a software entrepreneur, says he became obsessed with the idea that the immune system can be “programmed.” … The Breakout grant allowed him to demonstrate his ideas in mice for the first time.
Seattle biotech startup Immusoft Corp. has raised $2.37 million from investors, including FF Science, a San Francisco venture fund that targets early stage technology and science companies. Founder and CEO Matthew Scholz, who launched Immusoft in 2009, said the funding will allow his company to scale up research, including approaching the U.S. Food and Drug Administration about doing human clinical trials…