Jan 14, 2020

Our Investment in Humane Genomics

What comes to mind when someone says the word “virus” to you? Most people immediately think about coughing, sneezing, and being sick. While some viruses certainly make us sick, it is also known that others have played a major role in human evolution. It turns out that specific natural viruses are known to kill cancer cells.

Alex Iskold

The idea of utilizing viruses as cancer therapies has been around for some time. The problem is that the process of manipulating these natural viruses is expensive and error prone.

Thanks to recent advances in synthetic biology, new possibilities are emerging. Inspired by nature’s design, we can engineer viruses with improved functions, or design and build artificial viruses from scratch with superior efficacy and safety.

Synthetic viruses and other synthetic biology techniques are getting us closer and closer to taming cancer. While all of this may sound incredible, we believe that it is inevitable.

Today we are beyond thrilled to announce that we led a pre-seed round in Humane Genomics, a platform for engineering synthetic viruses focused on targeting cancer cells.

Humane Genomics is led by Peter Weijmarshausen, who previously co-founded Shapeways — the largest marketplace and platform for 3D printing. Peter is joined by Andrew Hessel — a prominent scientist, former co-chair of Singularity University, co-chair of the Human Genome Project-write — and Chad Moles — a rising star in biotech who serves as Humane Genomics’ Chief Science Officer. This team brings together eclectic insights and unique expertise to tackle the production of synthetic oncolytic viruses at scale.

It is the earliest days for Humane Genomics, and we could not be more happy to partner with this talented group of entrepreneurs that are building the next generation of cancer treatments and commercial infrastructure for synthetic biology.

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