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Cellino closes $16m seed financing

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Massachusetts-based biotech announces closing of $16m seed round led by The Engine and Khosla Ventures.

Cellino has raised $16 million in seed venture capital in an investor syndicate co-led by The Engine and Khosla Ventures, with participation from Humboldt Fund and 8VC. The biotech plans to develop its AI-guided laser platform in order to automate and scale autologous cell-and tissue-based therapies.

Longevity.Technology: Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells (iPSCs) are derived from skin or blood cells that have been reprogrammed so they revert to an embryonic-like pluripotent state; pluripotency enables the cell to develop into any type of human cell, meaning they are fantastic for therapeutic purposes. iPSCs can be triggered to become beta islet cells for diabetes treatment, or neurons for neurological treatment or blood cells, in order to generate new cancer-free blood for leukaemia sufferers.

However, scientists usually have to go through the labour-intensive process of inspecting iPSCs in order to manually weed out ones deemed to be of lower quality. Cellino’s platform could be set to change all that.

Cellino is developing an automated process to generate autologous iPSCs at scale, using machine-learning algorithms to train software to identify both low- and high-quality cells. The software then controls a laser to destroy the unwanted cells. The proprietary platform converges breakthrough technologies across optics, biology and machine learning to engineer high functionality cells with high levels of consistency and yield.

Cellino technician
A Cellino technician working in the lab. Source: Cellino

Cellino plans to use this seed financing to scale up this technology, automating and standardising autologous stem cell production, and thereby accelerating the development of life-saving and life-extending therapies for patients.

“This seed financing round enables us to build towards a democratized future for autologous cells and tissues,” said Nabiha Saklayen, PhD, CEO & Co-Founder of Cellino. “I’m thrilled to be leading a team that brings together diverse backgrounds spanning laser physics, stem cell biology, and machine learning, to achieve our shared mission to increase patient access to custom regenerative therapies [1].”

Cellino technician
A Cellino technician at work. Source: Cellino

“Companies that disrupt entire industries and processes don’t normally originate from a single discipline,” said Alex Morgan, MD, PhD, Partner at Khosla Ventures. “By using single-cell laser processing and AI-guided automation to engineer cells at scale, Cellino is well-positioned to lead the next-generation of personalized regenerative medicines [1].”

“Stem cell-derived therapies promise regenerative and curative therapies for many diseases,” said Ann DeWitt, PhD, General Partner at The Engine, the VC firm spun out of MIT. “Cellino’s transformative approach will dramatically improve quality and scale. The company’s leadership team has the experience and vision to make it a reality [1].”

[1] https://www.cellinobio.com/news/cellino-closes-16m-seed-financing-led-by-the-engine-and-khosla-ventures/

Images courtesy of Cellino

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Eleanor Garth
Deputy Editor Now a science and medicine journalist, Eleanor worked as a consultant for university spin-out companies and provided research support at Imperial College London and various London hospitals in a former life.
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