These startup founders launched companies to commercialize groundbreaking technologies from the Wyss Institute last year
By Lindsay Brownell
(BOSTON) — When the big mirrored ball dropped on Times Square to signal the start of 2021, nobody knew what the second year of the COVID-19 pandemic had in store. Despite the whirlwind of a winter case surge, the rollout of vaccines, a summer surge, and the delta and omicron variants, a group of Wyss Institute researchers managed to successfully launch their own companies to commercialize potentially world-changing innovations developed in the Institute’s labs.
This year’s Lumineers’ companies run the gamut from cultured meat to next-generation diagnostics to rehabilitative devices, demonstrating the Wyss Institute’s commitment to supporting research that promises to address some of the world’s toughest problems in healthcare and sustainability. Their projects originated in nine different Wyss faculty members’ labs, another testament to the breadth of scientific talent that underpins these companies. Please join us in celebrating this exceptional group of individuals as we wish them success on their journeys beyond our walls.
Meet the Wyss Lumineers Class of 2021 and their startup companies
Ed Doherty, Nada Langellotto, Ph.D., Jess McDonough, Ph.D., Benjamin Seiler, and Chyenne Yeager – Attivare Therapeutics
Faculty advisor: David Mooney, Ph.D.
- Mission: to create innovative vaccines with superior efficacy and durability.
Christophe Chantre, Ph.D., Grant Gonzalez, Ph.D., and Luke Macqueen, Ph.D.- Boston Meats
Faculty advisor: Kit Parker, Ph.D.
- Mission: to make alternative, cultured meats so delicious, nutritious, and affordable that eating animals won’t make sense anymore.
Nicole Black, Ph.D., Mischa Jurkiewicz, M.B.A., Moritz Mond, Sophia Smith, Nicholas Traugutt, Ph.D., and Patrick Holmes – Beacon Bio (acquired by Desktop Health)
Faculty advisor: Jennifer Lewis, Sc.D.
- Mission: to improve the healing of ruptured eardrums and other tissues using 3D printed, biomimetic grafts.
Chrissy Glover, M.Des. and Kristin Nuckols, O.T.D., M.O.T., O.T.R./L. – Imago Rehab
Faculty advisor: Conor Walsh, Ph.D.
- Mission: to restore independence to individuals with physical impairments through accessible, evidence-based care.
Frances Anastassacos, Ph.D. and Surge Biswas, Ph.D. – Nabla Bio
Faculty advisor: George Church, Ph.D.
- Mission: to use AI to design, test, and optimize next-generation antibodies for clinical and commercial development.
Ida Pavlichenko, Ph.D. – PionEar Technologies
Faculty advisor: Joanna Aizenberg, Ph.D.
- Mission: to improve drainage and drug delivery in multiple parts of the human body by revolutionizing the design of bioinspired, conduit-like implants.
Rani Powers, Ph.D. – Pluto Biosciences
Faculty advisor: Don Ingber, M.D., Ph.D.
- Mission: to accelerate discoveries in life sciences organizations of all sizes in academia and industry with an intuitive, cloud-based platform enabling storage, analysis, and visualization of any experiment.
Michael Natan, Ph.D., Yu Wang, Ph.D. and Feng Xuan, Ph.D. – Spear Bio
Faculty advisor: Peng Yin, Ph.D.
- Mission: to enable streamlined, ultrasensitive diagnostic tests from at-home collected samples for a variety of applications, from immunity testing to drug monitoring to sampling in low-resource settings.
Erica Gardner, Richard Novak, Ph.D., Frederic Vigneault, Ph.D. – Unravel Biosciences
Faculty advisors: Don Ingber, Ph.D. and Mike Levin, Ph.D.
- Mission: to improve the lives of patients with central nervous system diseases by identifying innovative therapeutics using a powerful combination of computational drug discovery and rapid generation of in vivo disease models.