SAN FRANCISCO, July 10, 2024 /PRNewswire/ -- Therapeutic delivery platform Granza Bio announced today the close of its oversubscribed $7.14M Seed led by Felicis and Refactor, along with Y Combinator and notable angel investors.

Granza Bio Founders - Prof. Michael Dustin (left), Dr. Ashwin Jainarayanan (middle) and Dr Ashwin Nandakumar (right)

"We discovered a new feature of the immune system that has the potential to transform the therapeutic landscape" - Prof. Dustin. 

Founded in 2024 by a team of cancer and immunology researchers at the University of Oxford, Granza Bio utilizes the discovery of "attack particles," a powerful suite of weapons in the immune system's arsenal that can fight diseases such as cancers, autoimmunity and infections.

"With attack particles, we discovered a new feature of the immune system that has the potential to transform the therapeutic landscape. They offer the power of cellular therapies with the off-the-shelf ease of antibody-based drugs," said Granza Bio co-founder Michael Dustin, Professor of Molecular Immunology at Oxford.

However, the team realized they lacked an effective delivery system for packaging and delivering attack particles to specific tissues.

To solve this problem, Granza Bio's platform offers a unique delivery system that focuses on three key areas:

1) The ability to deliver a variety of cargo types (such as RNAs, proteins, and attack particles)
2) The ability to deliver to a range of tissue sites
3) Overcoming immunological activation triggered by the delivery vehicle

"We are developing a series of precision delivery shells that can encompass and direct any therapeutic cargo to the correct destination in our body. This work will be fundamental for turning promising discoveries in genetic medicine and cancer therapeutics into impactful treatments for patients," said Granza co-founder and Chief Executive Officer, Dr. Ashwin Nandakumar.

"Through the development of a comprehensive library of engineered shells, we aim to tackle the challenges of tropism, immunogenicity, and stability head-on. Our strength lies in the interdisciplinary nature of our team, spanning fundamental immunology to industrial manufacturing and scale-up processes. This is a pivotal moment for the field of drug delivery therapeutics and we are at the forefront of this transformation," said Dr. Ashwin Jainarayanan, Granza Bio's Chief Scientific Officer.

Dr. Nandakumar, CEO, holds a PhD in Oncology, has previously set up clinical trials, and brings oncology start-up experience. Dr. Jainarayanan, CSO, is a PhD in Interdisciplinary Bioscience and was recently selected as a Schmidt Science Fellow. Prof. Dustin is also the director of research at the Kennedy Institute of Rheumatology at Oxford.

"The immune system is nature's most powerful mechanism for biological remediation. By improving the delivery and specificity of naturally occurring attack particles, Granza Bio can unlock a new world of capabilities for oncological and immunological diseases," said Tobi Coker, Deal Partner at Felicis. "Granza encompasses a unique combination of significant scientific advancements, a founding team with complementary skills, and deep domain expertise. We are thrilled to be working with them."

"I focus on finding technical founders who are experts in their fields and are magnets for customers, talent, and investors. Both Ashwins really fit that perfectly, in my opinion, as they build a better delivery mechanism for a variety of therapeutics," said Zal Bilimoria, founding partner at Refactor.

The investment round also includes participation from other investors including Metaplanet, Zeno Ventures, Ritual Capital, Pioneer Fund, Oxford Angel Fund, and North South Ventures. Notable angels joined the round including Richard Aberman (former YC Visiting Group Partner), JJ Fliegelman (former YC Visiting Group Partner), Eric Migicovsky (former YC Group Partner), Eric Eldon (former editor of TechCrunch), Eli Brown (founder, Guilded), Eoghan Mccabe (founder, Intercom), Benjamin Bryant (co-founder, Earbits), Yotam Rosenbaum (co-founder, Earbits), Will Olsen (co-founder, Engage Bio) and Joel Meyer.

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About Granza Bio 
Founded in 2024, Granza Bio is a biotechnology company developing a novel delivery "shell" platform to direct therapeutic cargo to specific tissues. For their lead candidate, Granza Bio is leveraging the discovery of the immune system's powerful suite of weapons, "attack particles". Utilizing their advanced delivery platform, they aim to target these "attack particles" against a range of diseases such as cancer, autoimmune disorders, and infections. The company has recently raised a $7M+ Seed round led by Felicis and Refactor, along with Y Combinator and notable ventures and angel investors. Granza Bio was co-founded by Dr. Ashwin Nandakumar, Dr. Ashwin Jainarayanan, and Prof. Michael Dustin, researchers from the University of Oxford. Learn more at Visit our linkedin.  

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