By Nathan Rubbelke, St. Louis Business Journal | January 25, 2021
BioGenerator, the investment arm of local bioscience booster BioSTL, invested in a record number of St. Louis-based startups in 2020.
The organization provided $3.5 million in capital to companies in the agtech, bioscience and health care sectors. Of the recipients, nine received first-time investments from BioGenerator. Additionally, eight of the companies are led by current or former BioGenerator Entrepreneurs in Residence.
“The Covid pandemic presented challenges to our industry, but also created increased opportunity in remote patient care, digital health and health care data analysis,” said Charlie Bolten, senior vice president of BioGenerator. “As we developed concepts around a changing health care environment, we also continue to see strong opportunity for St. Louis in our core sectors of therapeutics and agriculture."
BioGenerator said its 2020 investment strategy was buoyed by a key exit of an existing portfolio company. In September, St. Louis-based Canopy Biosciences was sold to scientific instrument maker Bruker Corp. (Nasdaq: BRKR).
“With returns from the acquisition of Canopy Biosciences by publicly traded Bruker, we were able to accelerate our efforts and this was BioGenerator’s biggest year ever in terms of the number of companies we supported,” Bolten said.
BioGenerator's portfolio includes more than 50 startups currently operating in St. Louis. Twenty-one of the 22 startups receiving investments in 2020 from BioGenerator are:
Adarza BioSystems: The Maryland Heights-based company has developed a biological testing device designed to assist immuno-oncology researchers with disease profiling and drug development.
Aegis Digital Health: The company is developing digital health products.
Atomation: The startup has developed business-to-business technology that uses software to connect physical objects to the internet.
Cadex Genomics: The startup is developing liquid-based molecular assays aimed at helping care for cancer patients. It relocated to St. Louis from Foster City, California.
Cofactor Genomics: Cofactor has developed diagnostic tools aimed at determining which treatments will work best for patients.
CuriMeta: The company has created a clinical data platform.
Daya CNS: The startup is working to advance non-opioid drug candidates that could be used to help with pain management.
Echelon Med Tech: This newly launched firm aims to advance medical devices and other technology for military use. It has been created as part of BioSTL’s Center for Defense Medicine.
Edison Agrosciences: This biotechnology startup is focused on boosting natural rubber created by the sunflower plant.
Healthy Bytes: The startup has created a tech-enabled centralized resource to connect physicians, employers and patients to nutritional counseling provided through health care benefits.
Kypha: The startup developing inflammation-indication diagnostic devices and tools.
Lymbus Oncology: The therapeutics company was identified in Hong Kong and scouted to St. Louis through Cadre Biosciences, a pharmaceutical company stood up by BioGenerator.
Myonid Therapeutics: The company is developing treatments for liver diseases and heart failure. It was born out of research at Saint Louis University and the University of Health Sciences and Pharmacy in St. Louis. It is operated by Cadre Biosciences.
Neurolutions: The clinical-stage medical device company is developing an initial product that will help stroke patients.
OpenCell Technologies: OpenCell’s technology is designed to allow the use of hard-to-transfect cells, like primary and cancer stem cells cultures, to develop cell-based treatments.
OxaluRx: The company is developing an oral therapy to treat genetic hyperoxaluria, a urinary condition.
Precision Virologics: The biotech startup’s technology is being used to develop a nasal vaccine candidate for Covid-19.
RhoDx: The company is developing diagnostics for cancer detection in liquid biopsies.
SentiAR: The startup develops visualization technologies for surgical use.
VaxNewMo: The bioscience startup specializes in quickly developing affordable vaccines.
WELLTH Holdings: The firm buys, invests in and grows brands focused on health and wellness.
BioGenerator said its 2020 portfolio also includes an investment in a “new agtech company in stealth mode.” The firm is focused on new insect control biologics for food crops, BioGenerator said.