At RebelBio, SOSV’s London-based investment program for science-based early-stage startups, we have never been shy about backing incredible science. And for our eighth and latest cohort, we decided to invest in 10 new companies whose technologies exhibit potential for exciting advancements in their field.
Being the secret geeks we are, we thought to visualize each of our 10 new companies as a chemical element, with their own unique property and place within our diverse portfolio — we aptly named this chart the “Periodic Table of Rebels” (below).
Group 1: Industrial Biology
Chemicle — A gentle, yet potent element. Dissolves waste and reacts poorly with mineral oils.
The world has finally woken up to the unsustainability of the industries our modern economy relies upon, from the production of plastic to resource-intensive farming which depletes arable land and generates prodigious waste. Chemicle have created the missing link between industrial farming and plastic, creating a virtuous, circular solution. The link lies in the remarkable transformation of dairy waste (whey) into bioplastic precursors, which can reduce carbon emissions by up to 70% with respect to current petroleum-based plastics and can be produced at a cheaper cost with respect to other bioplastics coming from vegetable biomasses to boot.
CorNatural — Highly energetic. When added to yeast fermentation it generates new compounds.
Bioethanol mills generate low-value waste that is often sold at low costs or, even worse, is disposed of at great costs to the producer. CorNatural is synthetically re-engineering the genome of yeast to create microbial factories to purify this waste into high-value chemicals such as carotenoids, molecules commonly used in food, pharmaceuticals, and cosmetics.
Bioprocol — Naturally occurring element. Extremely hydrophilic.
Isolating compounds found in untapped Colombian fruits such as the love apple (Solanum mammosum), Bioprocol formulates skincare products that includes natural ingredients approved in the International Nomenclature of Cosmetic Ingredients. Their patented compounds help skin regenerate from external damage and have shown anti-ageing effects in dermatological tests. Bioprocol is addressing the growing concern in the cosmetic industry for natural, safe and sustainable (yet effective) ingredients powered by science and biodiversity.
Group 2: Therapeutics
Biosapien — Highly toxic for cancerous cells, inert for healthy cells.
Chemotherapy, when delivered intravenously as per medical standards, is a highly toxic non-discriminatory method destroying cancerous and healthy cells alike, which often leads to complications just as bad as cancer itself. Cue Biosapien, a startup developing 3D-printed biodegradable implantable devices for the precise delivery of FDA approved drugs directly to cancerous cells. The device’s sophisticated ability for controlled drug release means only a fraction of the typical dose is required, thus reducing harmful side-effects and dramatically reducing costs.
VemiCo — Volatile, transformative Element. Ubiquitously found in the human gut.
The healthy gut microbiome has the ability to produce “sugars” which act as signals for our immune system, either stimulating or suppressing activity to modulate inflammation and combat disease. VemiCo is redesigning these sugars to safely and effectively restore healthy microbiome function.
Group 3: Personalized Therapies
Pear Diagnostics — Can mimic any other known element.
Organ-on-a-chip technologies allow drug testing on specific human cells without experimenting on patients. Pear Diagnostics has developed a body-on-a-chip platform technology that allows testing therapy combinations on each patient’s cells to identify optimal therapies for non-targetable tumours, reducing toxicity and increasing effectiveness before being administered to patients.
Group 4: Medical Devices
QV Bioelectronics — Electrically conductive. Fires charged electrons, eviscerating cancer cells.
Brain cancer has amongst the worst outcomes of any type of cancer. In its aggressive forms, a diagnosis can often be terminal. Current treatment for aggressive forms of brain cancer often involves the surgical removal of the tumour followed by chemo- and / or radiotherapy. Unfortunately, resistant cancer cells often remain in the surrounding brain tissue despite this, inevitably resulting in cancer re-growth.
QV Bioelectronics is developing an innovative electrotherapy implant that targets these residual cancer cells, aiming at significantly improving the clinical outcomes and quality of life for these patients.
Group 5: Diagnostics
AKSense — Extremely high binding affinity toward bacteria.
50% of deaths in intensive care units are actually caused by hospital-acquired infections. Currently, detecting infections can take up to 3 days wasting valuable time that could be otherwise spent treating infections early and thus increasing patient survival rates. AKSense is building a bench-top device to analyze patient blood and determine, within minutes, whether an immune-response has been elicited against a specific pathogen. This allows for diagnosis at the very earliest point of infection where intervention is most effective, thus giving doctors a valuable weapon in the war against hospital-acquired infections.
Group 6: Digital Health
RIZE — Complex and highly reactive. Forms atomic bonds with all known elements.
There is an enormous, expensive problem plaguing the pharmaceutical industry. The cause — costly clinical trial participant recruitment combined with low compliance and high dropout rates. RIZE’s solution is an AI-powered platform for tailored patient recruitment and streamlined, remote patient management.
Arthronica — Corrodes obsolete assessment methods.
Arthritis disease patients are currently assessed visually by physicians, which causes inaccurate and non-reproducible results. Arthronica has developed an AI-powered software app that uses machine vision to reliably quantify Arthritis patients’ assessments in order to have precise monitoring of the progression of the disease.
By Alexander Hall-Daniels. Associate at RebelBio.