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Nanite Debuts AI-Driven Polymer Design Platform for Gene Delivery
[February 15, 2023]

Nanite Debuts AI-Driven Polymer Design Platform for Gene Delivery

Nanite Inc. announced today the closing of a $6M seed investment round to advance their AI-driven polymer design platform focused on next-generation, non-viral gene delivery. The financing was led by Zetta Venture Partners, with participation from Arkitekt Ventures.

Nanite's founders include serial entrepreneurs who have held executive roles at a number of leading biotechnology companies: Sean Kevlahan and Shashi Murthy previously co-founded bio-polymer startup Quad Technologies, and Thomas Neenan co-founded Abfero Pharmaceuticals. Working with academic collaborators, including the Reineke Group at the University of Minnesota, the company has developed a unique AI-driven approach to polymer nanoparticle design, building on joint research published in the journal JACS Au last year.

Nanite's proprietary platform - SAYER™ - combines automated polymer synthesis and high-throughput in vivo screening with machine learning to design "programmable" polymer nanoparticles (PNPs) delivering a broad range of genetic cargoes with tissue specificity. The company plans to work with genetic medicine companies and patient advocacy groups to develop fit-for-purpose delivery vehicles across different indications as part of their delivery-as-a-service (DaaS) partneship model.

Polymer nanoparticles are widely used clinically as small molecule encapsulation agents and have been studied for decades as an alternative for gene delivery because of their attractive stability, cost and safety profile. However, their vast design space and complex interactions with genetic cargo, have made PNPs difficult to engineer using traditional techniques.

"Advances in automated synthesis and high-throughput screening now make it possible to build and test PNPs rapidly and have enabled us to sample much larger and more diverse regions of the polymer universe than ever before," said CEO and Co-Founder Sean Kevlahan. "Combining those data, in a closed loop, with new machine learning techniques allows us to decode the functional landscape of PNPs and rationally design or "program" delivery vehicles in a way that would have seemed impossible only a few years ago."

"We are excited to invest in Nanite and their unique approach to gene delivery," said Dylan Reid, Partner at Zetta Venture Partners. "Delivery remains the major bottleneck for the entire field of genetic medicine and programmable polymer nanoparticles are an extremely promising direction, only made possible by recent breakthroughs in high-throughput experimentation and generative AI."

"It's gratifying to see the renewed interest in polymers as a gene delivery vehicle," said Dr. Theresa Reineke, Prager Chair in Chemistry at the University of Minnesota and a co-founder of the company. "It's an area our research group has been working on for over two decades and I'm excited to see Nanite advance this field of research."

Joining Nanite's management team are Dr. Shashi Murthy as Chief Technology Officer and Dr. Thomas Neenan as Chief Business Officer as well as Dr. Felipe Oviedo as Head of Machine Learning.

"We are thrilled to be working with this team of successful repeat founders, who bring deep expertise in PNPs and have assembled a stellar group of material scientists and machine learning researchers to advance this groundbreaking technology," said Dr. Enke Bashllari, Managing Director of Arkitekt Ventures.

"We are excited to be working with such a stellar team and to have the support of a top-tier investor syndicate," said Kevlahan. "This funding will allow us to accelerate the development of our AI-driven platform and to show the world what PNPs can do for the next-generation of breakthrough therapies."

About Nanite Inc.

Nanite is a next-generation non-viral gene delivery company developing a new class of programmable polymer nanoparticles for a range of modalities and indications. The company's AI-driven platform, SAYER™, combines cutting-edge high-throughput experimental and computational methods to design fit-for-purpose delivery vehicles delivering a broad range of genetic cargoes with tissue specificity. Nanite is headquartered in Boston, MA. For more information, visit Follow us on Twitter @nanitebio.

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