February 1, 2022
ST. LOUIS – In 2021, BioGenerator, the startup arm of BioSTL, invested more than $3.3 million into 18 St. Louis startup companies. Eight of those companies earned first-time investments. These promising new ventures are developing products in agtech, therapeutics, medical devices, diagnostics, vaccines, and digital health.
BioGenerator Ventures is the only investor that invests exclusively in St. Louis companies. The 18 investments are part of BioGenerator Ventures’ overall investment portfolio of more than 50 active St. Louis startup companies, comprised of many of the region’s most-promising and fastest-growing companies including Benson Hill, MediBeacon, Arch Oncology, Geneoscopy, CoverCress, SentiAR, and Wugen.
Combined, the BioGenerator Ventures portfolio has raised $2.2 billion in follow-on capital, 85% of which has been invested into St. Louis startups from venture capital funds and other professional investors located outside of the St. Louis region. Nearly 94% of follow-on capital raised in 2021 came from investors outside of St. Louis. BioGenerator Ventures has leveraged $59 for every $1 it has invested.
“2021 was a strong year. Our mature companies are achieving scale, bringing significant investment capital to the region that creates jobs and new economic activity, and generating investment returns for BioGenerator Ventures and other investors,” said Charlie Bolten, Senior Vice President of BioGenerator and head of BioGenerator Ventures. “Returns harvested from eight portfolio companies during 2021 will help fund an aggressive plan in 2022 where we anticipate deploying more capital to St. Louis entrepreneurs and startups than in any previous year.”
“Better tools are needed to both identify diseases earlier and find molecular signatures that inform optimal treatment decisions,” said Tom Cohen, PhD, Director of BioGenerator Ventures. “Geneoscopy, RhoDx, and Immune Functional Diagnostics are exciting diagnostic platforms with the potential to improve outcomes for patients.”
Nine of the 18 companies with 2021 BioGenerator Ventures investments are led by current or former BioGenerator Executives in Residence (EIR) – talented individuals identified and funded by BioGenerator to build and lead these startups.
BioGenerator frequently supports startups beginning at inception, leveraging its Ventures and Labs resources to build successful St. Louis companies. Geneoscopy is a 2021 BioGenerator Ventures investment that has benefitted from BioGenerator resources since its earliest days through a $105M financing in 2021.
“BioGenerator played a critical and diverse role in Geneoscopy's development and maturation,” said Erica Barnell, PhD, Co-Founder and Chief Science Officer of Geneoscopy. “From the financial, mentoring, and physical infrastructure support provided to launch Geneoscopy through the BioGenerator Labs five years ago, to most recently leading an independent diligence process to catalyze our Series B, which resulted in a key strategic investor joining the round, BioGenerator has been instrumental to our company's success.”
Aptimmune Biologics uses a proprietary platform to produce vaccines for economically impactful swine diseases. The company is currently focused on African Swine Fever, Porcine Reproductive and Respiratory Syndrome, and Influenza A virus in swine.
Bacterioscan is commercializing a platform for rapidly diagnosing urinary tract infections. The technology is a significant improvement from the hours to days seen with current methods, resulting in quicker identification of appropriate treatments. Originally developed in Israel, Bacterioscan’s solution is deployed in care settings across the United States.
Bond Biosciences is developing non-absorbed oral therapeutics to prevent and treat ion-related human diseases. The company’s lead candidate, BBI-001, is an iron chelator for the treatment of hereditary hemochromatosis. Bond joins the St. Louis ecosystem after licensing technology originally developed at the University of Kansas. Bond was founded by St. Louisan and serial entrepreneur Cory Berkland, PhD.
Cadre Biosciences is developing a portfolio of novel therapeutic programs focused on treating cancer and metabolic disease. Cadre was created by BioGenerator and its EIR program.
Cardialen is advancing implantable medical devices to treat abnormal heart rhythm. The company licensed technology from Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis.
CoverCress is developing a new winter oilseed crop under the brand CoverCressTM that allows corn and soybean farmers to add a new crop into their rotation on existing land during winter, while offering the environmental benefits of a cover crop, including improved soil health and carbon sequestration. CoverCress was co-founded by a BioGenerator EIR.
CuriMeta is commercializing an advanced real-world clinical data platform. The company empowers its customers – pharmaceutical and medical device companies – to address their most pressing questions in healthcare with greater speed and precision. CuriMeta is led by a BioGenerator EIR.
Euclises Pharmaceuticals is developing next-generation therapies that prevent tumor immune evasion by disrupting the tumor microenvironment. Euclises was founded by St. Louisian John Talley, inventor of seven approved drugs including Celebrex. A legendary medicinal chemist, Talley is widely considered one of the most successful drug inventors in history.
Geneoscopy is developing a stool-based screen for colon cancer. The company’s RNA-based test has shown increased sensitivity for pre-cancerous growths when compared to other non-invasive screening tools such as Cologuard. Geneoscopy’s technology was developed at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis.
Hypha Life Sciences is a contract research organization focused on providing services to pharmaceutical, agricultural, and other biotechnology companies. Hypha was created by BioGenerator and its EIR program.
Immune Functional Diagnostics is developing diagnostics tests to define the immunological state of critically ill patients. The company is based on technology developed by Richard Hotchkiss, Ken Remy, Isaiah Turnbull, and other investigators at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis.
InterShunt Technologies is developing a proprietary transcatheter system for improving treatment of heart failure. InterShunt was founded by Gil Vardi, MD, a St. Louis interventional cardiologist and serial entrepreneur. Originally from Israel, Vardi previously founded Advanced Stent Technologies, which was acquired by Boston Scientific in 2005.
Myonid Therapeutics is advancing treatments for metabolic diseases. Its technology was developed at Saint Louis University and the University of Health Sciences and Pharmacy in St. Louis. Myonid is being managed by Cadre Biosciences, a multi-asset pharmaceutical company developed by BioGenerator and its EIR program.
Plastomics is developing high performing crops with their proprietary chloroplast engineering platform to help farmers battle disease, increase yield, and bring in better nutrition and quality. Plastomics is led by a BioGenerator EIR.
RhoDx is a molecular diagnostics company developing nucleic acid analysis tools for cancer detection in liquid biopsies. The company’s technologies will enable cost-effective, early detection of cancer through population-level screening in pre-symptomatic individuals.
Solis Agrosciences is a contract research organization providing research services to the agriculture technology industry. Solis was created by BioGenerator and its EIR program.
Syndeavor Therapeutics is developing a small molecule inhibitor of tumor metabolism for personalized cancer treatment. Syndeavor is managed by Cadre Biosciences, a multi-asset pharmaceutical company created by BioGenerator and its EIR program.
VaxNewMo is developing technology to enable broader and more affordable vaccines to be produced in a shorter time frame. The company is using its proprietary manufacturing platform to combat “superbugs.” VaxNewMo was founded based on research conducted by Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis Professor Mario Feldman. VaxNewMo is led by a BioGenerator EIR.
In 2021, BioGenerator’s largest investments were in CuriMeta, Geneoscopy, Plastomics, and Hypha Life Sciences.
Eight of the companies received first-time investments:
Nine of the companies are led by current or former BioGenerator Executives in Residence:
BioGenerator’s 2021 Executives in Residence:
BioGenerator, the startup arm of BioSTL, creates and grows innovative St. Louis companies through its two complementary approaches — investing through BioGenerator Ventures and comprehensive startup support through BioGenerator Labs. Visit www.BioGenerator.org for additional information, and follow us on LinkedIn linkedin.com/company/BioGenerator and Twitter @BioGeneratorSTL.
Since 2001, St. Louis nonprofit BioSTL has laid the foundation for the region's innovation economy with a comprehensive set of transformational programs that advance St. Louis’ leadership in solving important world challenges in agriculture, medicine, healthcare, and other technology areas. BioSTL has introduced nationally-acclaimed initiatives in startup creation and investment (BioGenerator), strategic business attraction (GlobalSTL), physical environment (including the Cortex Innovation District and BioGenerator Labs), entrepreneur support, seed and venture capital, a diverse and inclusive workforce, and public policy. See our impact and find us online at biostl.org and follow us on twitter @BioSTL.