Business Health, Wellness & Biotech

64x Bio Raises $55M To Advance Gene Therapy Platform

San Francisco-based gene therapy biotech company 64x Bio has raised $55 million to advance its gene therapy manufacturing platform, which company officials and investors say could “revolutionize the economics and accessibility of gene therapy.” 

The raise comes as many investors say gene therapy is poised to make waves in the biotech industry. The technology has made enormous strides in recent years to become a new option to help treat or cure chronic or severe illnesses, injuries and possibly even change the way we age. 

But in many ways, its impact is still theoretical because the industry is facing a major roadblock to scaling: Manufacturing simply hasn’t kept up when it comes to viral vectors, the critical tools molecular biologists use to put genetic material into cells.

Search less. Close more.

Grow your revenue with all-in-one prospecting solutions powered by the leader in private-company data.

That’s where 64x Bio comes in, according to company CEO and founder Alexis Rovner.

“This is a really hard problem, because … human cells have evolved to avoid vector production or virus production,” Rovner told Crunchbase News in a recent interview. “So, any mutation to these cells that forces them to make more of this material is going to be rare and it’s very likely that we would need to test more possibilities than there are stars in the universe. … We’re inventing a new technology to solve that problem.” 

The money will help 64x Bio expand its VectorSelect platform, which the company says can help pick the best cell lines for their specific uses and build them out to be manufactured at scale. 

The Series A round was led by Lifeforce Capital, with significant participation from Northpond Ventures, Future Ventures, First Round Capital and Michael Chambers, co-founder and former CEO of Aldevron. Also participating in the oversubscribed round were Chris Gibson, co-founder and CEO of Recursion, Alix Ventures and existing investors Fifty Years, SV Angel1, BoxGroup and Refactor Capital.

What sets 64x Bio apart, company founders say, is that it is building the optimized cell lines and licensing them to its customers, and is collecting and analyzing information along the way to make its VectorSelect platform smarter and more efficient with each new datapoint. 

From an investor’s point of view, 64x Bio is not only interesting on its own, but also has the potential to help grow and increase the value of the entire gene therapy industry, Adam Wieschhaus, director at Northpond Ventures, told Crunchbase News. 

Search less. Close more.

Grow your revenue with all-in-one prospecting solutions powered by the leader in private-company data.

“It’s not just about addressing the current gene therapy needs, which is still a limited market,” he said. “It’s about unlocking and applying gene therapies to a broad patient base that … currently we can’t even consider for gene therapies because not only are they hard to put in the hands of patients, but hard even to manufacture at this type of scale. I think (64x Bio technology) would certainly expand the market significantly.”   

Today, 64x Bio has about 13 employees, including the two founders and eight full-time workers, but it plans to hire another 50 employees in the coming year, Rovner said. The company is also actively in talks with various commercial partners to expand its reach, but Rovner demurred on the details of who those partners are. 

“The interest from the market that we’ve received was really validating that there is this massive unsolved problem in the gene therapy field,” Rovner said. “We want to be the leading supplier of highly optimized cell lines for this industry.” 

Editor’s Note: This story has been updated to reflect that Crunchbase News interviewed Adam Wieschhaus, director at Northpond Ventures, for this article.

Illustration: Li-Anne Dias

  1. SV Angel is an investor in Crunchbase. It has no say in our editorial process. For more, head here.

Stay up to date with recent funding rounds, acquisitions, and more with the Crunchbase Daily.

Copy link