Monod Bio Closes $25M Seed Financing to Advance Biosensor Technology Platform
Monod Bio, a life sciences company developing custom diagnostic biosensors that emit light to detect specific biomolecules of interest, today announced it has raised a $25M seed financing round. The round was led by Matrix Capital, with participation from the Global Health Investment Corporation, Cercano Management, The Washington Research Foundation, Boom Capital Ventures, Sahsen Ventures, and Pack Ventures.
Monod is using state-of-the-art computational protein design to develop a new class of modular biosensors that emit a bioluminescent signal when the sensor recognizes its target. Biosensors are instruments that detect the presence of specific molecules, even at trace concentrations. The sensors are built from de novo engineered proteins developed using software from the Institute of Protein Design (IPD) at the University of Washington School of Medicine.
The company's biosensor platform unites binding, transduction, and amplification in a single step, enabling detection of a wide range of target molecules such as biomarkers, viruses and toxins. Monod has to date created biosensors that recognize the spike protein on the COVID-19 virus, cancer-receptors, and a molecule (cardiac troponin), which is released by the body after a heart attack, which was published in Nature. More recently, this technology was applied to the detection of COVID-19 neutralizing antibodies in vaccinated patients, Nature Biotechnology.
The new fundig will be used to advance Monod's LucCage platform for the rapid development of one-step biosensors and reporter proteins to detect targets for applications in biotechnology and medicine. Monod's proprietary LucCage platform combines breakthrough technologies across engineering, biology, and machine learning to create custom biosensors from scratch with unrivaled consistency and very low costs. The company plans to double the size of its research and engineering teams in the coming 18 months.
Monod was founded in November 2021 from technology developed at David Baker's lab at the University of Washington Institute for Protein Design. The company was co-founded by Daniel-Adriano Silva, Ph.D., CEO, Alfredo Quijano Rubio, Ph.D, Chief Scientific Officer, David Shoultz, Ph.D., M.B.A., Chief Operating Officer, and David Baker, Scientific Advisor.
"We can now design custom biosensors that have specific functions, and this seed financing enables us to illuminate specific molecules such as viruses or biomarkers, and start building prototypes that can then become real-world diagnostics," said Daniel-Adriano Silva, Ph.D., CEO & Co-Founder, Monod Bio. "I'm thrilled to be leading a team with my co-founders that brings together diverse backgrounds across biology, protein engineering, and machine learning to design custom biosensors and improve human health."
"We know these new biosensors can readily detect virus proteins or antibodies in simulated nasal fluid or donated serum. Our next goal is to ensure they can be used reliably in a diagnostic setting. Monod Bio's work illustrates the power of de novo protein design to create molecular devices from scratch with new and useful functions," said David Baker, Ph.D., the Henrietta and Aubrey Davis Endowed Professor of Biochemistry at the University of Washington School of Medicine, a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator, Co-founder of Monod Bio, and the Founder and Director of IPD.
"LucCage is a paradigm-shifting platform for biosensors development, and we're excited to have the support of top-tier investors to advance our team and technology," said Alfredo Quijano Rubio, Ph.D, Chief Scientific Officer, Co-Founder and the main inventor of Monod's LucCage technology.
"Monod is using synthetic biology to draw on the architecture of living organisms to attain high detection sensitivity and accuracy at scale, due to low costs with biosensors compared to conventional laboratory-testing," said Karan Takhar, Managing Partner, Matrix Capital. "Our partnership with Monod Bio reflects our commitment to back extraordinary teams unlocking breakthrough innovation at the intersection of technology and life sciences."
"Monod is taking recent advances in computational protein engineering, and leading the field in creating highly modular biosensors to develop rapid, sensitive, and cost-effective analytical assays," said Damien Soghoian, Partner, Global Health Investment Corporation. "With a visionary founding team and state-of-the-art technology from IPD, Monod Bio is well-positioned at the forefront of biosensor innovation and has the experience and vision to make it a reality."
About Monod Bio
Monod Bio is a pioneer company in the design of custom de novo protein-based biosensors that emit light when they recognize its target. Monod Bio's innovative biosensor platform technology uses computational protein engineering to create highly modular biosensing nanoswitches that enable rapid, sensitive, and cost-effective analytical assays. The company is founded on technology developed in David Baker's group at the University of Washington's Institute for Protein Design. Monod has been published in several peer-reviewed journals including Nature and Nature Biotechnology, shaping our understanding of scalable digital healthcare solutions. Monod Bio is based in Seattle, WA. For additional information, visit www.monodbio.com.