Shennon Biotechnologies Raises $13M Seed Financing to Accelerate Immunotherapy Target Discovery with Proprietary Single-Cell Functional Screening Platform
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SAN FRANCISCO, March 13, 2023-- Shennon Biotechnologies (“ShennonBio”), a biotech company using a proprietary single cell platform to create more effective immunotherapies, announced today the close of a $13M oversubscribed seed financing round led by DCVC, with participation from Foundation Capital, AV8 and angel investors.
Founded in 2021, ShennonBio has developed a proprietary platform that can profile millions of immune cells functionally at the single cell level within a few hours, enabling the identification of TCR or antibody targets to develop more precise and effective immunotherapies. In the last 1.5 years, ShennonBio has demonstrated the power of its platform by identifying rare, functionally activated T cells and establishing collaborations with multiple clinical centers to study patient samples. The recent funding will be used to further expand the capabilities of the platform and scale discovery efforts to build a pipeline of effective targets for solid tumors.
A key step in developing effective cancer immunotherapies is to find the right target effector immune cell, to expand or create them on a massive scale outside of the body before reinfusing them back into the body to mimic a strong natural immune response. However, identifying cancer antigen specific immune cells is very difficult. Due to the enormous diversity of immune cells, searching for the right T cell or B cell that can recognize cancer antigens and effectively attack cancer cells is like searching for a needle in a haystack. A lot of effort has been made to figure out how to profile such a diverse population and isolate the rare effective immune cells for cancer immunotherapy. However, most current technologies developed cannot functionally profile such a massive number of cells at the single cell level, and it often takes weeks, if not months to isolate a relevant target.
ShennonBio’s technology resolves the current bottleneck in immunotherapy target discovery, as it enables functional profiling of immune cells at the single cell level at unprecedented throughput, enabling target identification and selection within a day - instead of weeks or months.
“At ShennonBio, our interdisciplinary team of engineers and scientists have developed a single-cell screening platform that can identify rare effector T cells against specific antigens at ultrahigh throughput by measuring functional secretion,” said Li Sun, Ph.D., CEO & Founder, Shennon Biotechnologies. “While current approaches take weeks to isolate a T cell target, our technology platform can do this in a matter of hours, with more precision, which ultimately increases the overall probability of generating a curative treatment in a shorter period of time for cancer patients. We’re thrilled to have the support of such a great group of investors and be able to scale up our target discovery efforts with this funding.”
"ShennonBio is revolutionizing the field of immunotherapy with their proprietary single-cell platform that can analyze immune cells and their interactions with antigens with unprecedented accuracy and efficiency. This technology has the potential to overcome a key bottleneck in immunotherapy by identifying rare antigen-specific immune cells through enabling high-throughput analysis of functional pairing between effector and target cells in a way that was previously impossible," said Dr. Joseph Fraietta, Director of the Solid Tumor Immunotherapy Lab at the University of Pennsylvania, and a scientific advisor for the company.
“Li is leading a company with a bold vision to revolutionize the field of immunotherapy. Her team's expertise and unwavering dedication to creating better target pipelines for immunotherapies is nothing short of impressive,” said James Hardiman, Partner, DCVC. “We believe that ShennonBio's innovative approach has the potential to make a significant impact in the industry, and we are proud to support them in this mission.”
"From the first time we met Li, we have been very impressed with her passion and vision for building a company that addresses existing bottlenecks in developing effective immunotherapies,” said Ruchita Sinha, General Partner, AV8. “Shennon's proprietary platform provides a powerful and ultra high throughput way to profile immune cell interactions at a single cell level. We firmly believe that the company’s platform will enable better development of T cell therapies not only for Shennon, but also for the broader ecosystem.”
ShennonBio is actively expanding the team and welcomes candidates who are passionate about making an impact in developing novel cancer therapies to apply through their website.
About Shennon Biotechnologies
Shennon Biotechnologies has developed a proprietary single-cell platform that enables functional profiling of immune cell and antigen interactions with unprecedented selectivity and throughput, resolving a key bottleneck in immunotherapy. Founded in 2021, the company is developing a pipeline of effective cell therapy targets for the treatment of solid tumors and later autoimmune diseases. The company is based in San Francisco, CA. For more information, visit www.shennonbio.com.