Harvard University’s Wyss Institute has partnered Northpond Labs to create a research and innovation alliance equipped with $12m in funding.
Harvard University’s Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering joined forces with venture capital firm Northpond Labs on Wednesday to form a $12m research and innovation alliance.
Northpond will provide the capital, which will be used to establish the Laboratory for Bioengineering Research and Innovation at the Wyss Institute with a view of facilitating research that has high translation potential.
The partnership will last for an initial five years. It is the brainchild of Donald Ingber, founding director of the Wyss Institute, and Michael Rubin, founder and chief executive of Northpond.
Working with Harvard’s Office of Technology Development, the agreement for a first funded research project has already been finalised: a controlled enzymatic RNA synthesis technology that will now be accelerated towards commercialisation.
The technology could form the basis of RNA therapeutics, drug delivery vehicles and genome engineering tools for a range of conditions.
Northpond will separately supply $3m to the Wyss Institute to support discovery activities and fund the Northpond Director’s Innovation Fund, which will invest in projects that tackle unmet problems globally even though a path to commercialisation is unclear.
The fund will particularly back projects in areas such as synethic biology, biomanufacturing, synthesis of DNA and proteins, and clean water.
Ingber said: “This alliance represents an exciting new mechanism for supporting innovation and providing opportunities for translating discoveries that we at the Wyss Institute have made and are advancing inside academia.
“Given the Northpond team’s deep experience in life sciences and technology, we are excited about the potential this collaboration offers for growth with their support and invaluable perspectives. We see this as the first of many such partnerships that the Wyss Institute will establish in the future.”
The news of the partnership comes as US healthcare venture fundraising is set for a record year – with $10.4bn invested in the first half of the year, nearly matching 2019’s $10.7bn total in half the time, editor-in-chief James Mawson writes in an editorial on our sister site Global Corporate Venturing today.
It also comes as unnamed external LPs have thrown their weight behind SROne’s $500m fund following the firm going independent. It was previously the in-house corporate venture capital arm of pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline.