Building and growing a business is hard any year. In 2020, organizations big and small, young and old faced unprecedented challenges as the COVID-19 pandemic altered daily life, commerce, and how we work. In the thick of it all, CICers around the globe persevered as innovators do: through problem-solving, pivoting, or doubling down on the things that are most important.
Below we’ll introduce you to 11 of the many CIC resident companies that brought in funding over the past year, a testament to their relevance in a changing world. From rare cancer treatments to new ways to connect job seekers with employers, our members are taking their visions to greater heights in 2021.
CIC Miami resident Aegle Therapeutics closed a $6.5M Series A financing round in September. The biotech company develops cell-free therapies for severe dermatological conditions, including dystrophic epidermolysis bullosa, a rare pediatric blistering disease. In October, Aegle received a grant from the US Department of Defense, which will support clinical manufacturing and the completion of a phase I/IIa clinical study in burn patients. Additionally, the FDA granted Aegle fast track designation and rare pediatric disease designation for their work on DEB this fall, and they’ve been cleared to begin clinical trials in both DEB and burns.
It was also a big year for CIC Cambridge-based Checkmate Pharmaceuticals, a clinical stage biopharmaceutical company developing proprietary technology to harness the power of the immune system to combat cancer . In June, Checkmate secured $85M in Series C financing, and in August the company completed a $75M IPO. The team is hard at work towards their mission of saying “checkmate” to cancer with a new, two-trial clinical collaboration with Bristol Meyers Squibb.
On the commercial real estate front, Warsaw-based CICer ForLogistic announced a 1.1M PLN seed round in 2020. The startup has created a “co-warehousing” marketplace that connects warehouse owners and tenants in one place, facilitating rentals within just a few minutes. ForLogistic will use its recent funding to continue developing its technology and market strategy, aiming to reach 300,000 square meters of warehouse space and 100 individual customers in the first quarter of 2021.
HACARUS, a CIC Tokyo resident developing AI solutions for the manufacturing and medical industries, closed a Series B in November. With this most recent funding, the company plans to strengthen R&D in materials informatics and drug discovery, as well as fuel their domestic and global business expansion. HACARUS has raised 1.3B Yen to date.
With offices at CIC Cambridge, ImmunoScape works at the cutting edge of immunology. The biotech firm takes a close look at T cell function, applying this key aspect of immunity to oncology and now, also, towards COVID-19 solutions. In August, the ImmunoScape team announced an $11M global equity financing round and collaborations with several vaccine development companies.
Also on the oncology front, Cambridge CICer Janpix announced a $10M Series B in October. The biotech company is developing molecules that target proteins associated with tumor proliferation and drug resistance. With this new funding, Janpix looks forward to advancing into clinical development their selective “monovalent protein degraders,” which are expected to transform how we treat hematopoietic cancers.
CIC Boston resident JobGet (pictured above) announced $2.1M in seed funding in December, bringing their total funding to over $2.6M. JobGet’s mobile hiring app bills itself as the “fastest way to get a job,” with over 100,000 job placements on the books in its first year of operation. Leveraging AI to connect job seekers with employers, the platform aims to remove unnecessary frictions in the hiring process. With this new funding, JobGet looks forward to expanding nationally, helping individuals from underserved communities find opportunities amidst the employment challenges of COVID-19.
In October, Smartvid.io closed a $5M funding round led by Sony Innovation Fund and IA Capital Group. The Cambridge-based company uses AI to observe, predict, and reduce jobsite risk, which has helped major construction companies cut safety incidents by as much as 50 percent. Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, Smartvid.io’s tools have also been used to track COVID mitigation measures like social distancing and mask wearing within the construction industry. Moving into the new year, the company is hiring for multiple roles.
Leading the way in data management, Cambridge CICer TileDB announced a $15M Series A round. The startup has created a “universal data engine” capable of managing many different kinds of data in one place. With July’s funding in place, TileDB will continue developing its technology as well as craft their go-to-market strategy.
Global fintech company Volante Technologies secured $35M in growth funding in August. With offices at CIC Boston, Volante is a leading provider of payments and financial messaging solutions in the cloud. With this new capital, the company intends to expand its services geographically and into new industry verticals.
Biotech firm XtalPi landed a hefty $319M Series C, announced in September. The American-Chinese company, which maintains a presence at CIC Cambridge, uses a combination of quantum physics, AI, and cloud computing to predict properties of molecules for use in drug discovery. Now with this round of funding under its belt, XtalPi plans to expand its virtual R&D capabilities and collaborations, combining its AI-powered platform with real-world data from laboratories, all towards developing promising drugs on a faster timeline.
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