The 6 RebelBio Companies Making Science Fiction For Real

The six companies backed by RebelBio at the Imperial College White City Incubator, London.

Screening through more than 500 applications in three months already sounds like something out of this world, we’ve made it without the need for a time-bending alien technology, and we found some pretty interesting companies in our hunt for future changing ideas.

At RebelBio, SOSV’s London based investment programme for science-based early stage startups, we’re no strangers to forward-thinking visions such as cowless milk and algae clothing. This time, we think we took our search to another level, investing in 6 new companies that sound like they come straight out of a science-fiction movie. They’re real and ready to change the way we do things, for good.

From humans on a chip to designer bacteria, see what the future holds in store thanks to these companies.

Bioptamers — The one making guided missiles to blast cancer

Cancer treatments are highly aggressive and often result in harming healthy cells along with the sick ones. No cancer is alike, so responses vary greatly. Bioptamers presents us with the possibility to find the right treatment for each patient by formulating them outside of the body beforehand. Their microfluidic platform allows you to develop aptamers (small molecules) that only attach to the cancerous cells, but not to the healthy ones. Once combined with drugs these compounds will only attack the cancer and leave the healthy tissue alone, improving treatment outcomes as well as patients quality of life. One treatment, one patient.

Birdshades — The one with the visibility coating that you can’t see

The beautiful glass buildings in our cities kill over a billion birds every year due to window collisions. With increasingly tight restrictions and controls, many of these buildings risk having to be retrofitted at great cost. This is because our flying friends cannot see glass the way humans do and, let’s be real, current solutions don’t work well and look even worse. Birdshades developed a smart glass coating that is only visible to birds but not to the human eye. This way the birds are safe and our cities can keep growing with efficient buildings.

Carverr — The one that makes your food tell you where it’s been

The food supply chain is extremely complex and we don’t have a way to really know what happened to the products we’re eating. Counterfeits and off-the-books chemical treatments can escape controls that currently only track the packaging. To ensure our food security, Carverr produces bio-trackers that directly trace your food. By reengineering the DNA of microorganisms they’re able to verify the path of ingredients step by step from origin to your table, with the peace of mind that it’s the real deal.

Microendo — The one that sells powerful natural plant shields

Chemical pesticides are dangerous for our health and not always effective, so what’s the point? Microendo creates bio-fertilizers that use the plant’s natural microbiome to boost its immune system and shield it from life-threatening pathogens. Working with the bacteria naturally present on the plant itself, they’re able to develop crop-specific fertilizers that allow for optimal growth and protection against endemic crop diseases. No chemicals, better yield.

Pregenerate — The one curing arthritis with a chip

Millions of dollars are wasted on animal testing for arthritis-related drugs. 96% of compounds fail, partly because animal results don’t predict human outcomes. Until now, more accurate and humane solutions have not been available. Pregenerate is changing that. They created cartilage grown on a chip to render drug R&D for osteoarthritis therapies more accurate, efficient and effective. Animal testing is made obsolete, sparing unnecessary pain and enabling the development of more effective treatments for patients.

Spindle Biotech — The one that built a desktop DNA printer

Synthetic biology has been taking off at the speed of light in recent years, just think of the drop in DNA sequencing costs. At the moment, though, we’re lacking cost & time effective ways to produce this genetic material. Spindle is enabling just that: they developed a desktop machine to synthesize DNA. Their technology allows for accessible, fast and cost-effective DNA “printing” using enzymes that any lab can have on their bench, opening up a world of possibilities to bring synthetic biology to the next frontier.

If you want to see what they’re doing and track their progress follow RebelBio on Twitter and Instagram for daily updates.