LOS ANGELES–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Forcyte Biotechnologies, a tech-enabled drug discovery company targeting diseases of mechanobiology, has secured new funding from Milestone View, Pioneer Fund, Acequia Capital, Y Combinator, Jude Gomila (CEO, Golden), and others. Including public support, this funding brings Forcyte’s total raised to $5.7M for their internal “mechano-therapeutic” pipeline, focusing first on fibrosis.
“Contractile cell function is critically important all throughout the body, in virtually every cell type, and its dysfunction drives many diseases” Tweet this
Forcyte’s mission is to chart mechanobiology by using their unique platform to quantify – at extreme scale – the mechanical forces generated by various human cell types, and to leverage this high-dimensional data-map to develop better drugs, faster.
“Contractile cell function is critically important all throughout the body, in virtually every cell type, and its dysfunction drives many diseases,” says co-founder and CEO Ivan Pushkarsky, PhD. “Our FLECS Platform re-invents how we approach mechanobiology, enabling us to look at, not only a few cells or only one target hypothesis, but at literally millions of single cells, from any tissue, and to provide quantitative data about their function – how and when they squeeze and contract – if, for example, subjected to large drug libraries or to genome-wide CRISPR knock-outs.”
Forcyte’s platform uses both proprietary wet-lab micro-technologies and computer-vision algorithms to quantify the physical forces generated by millions of individual human cells in carefully controlled microenvironments engineered within 384-well plates where single-cells bind to and “squeeze” vast arrays of adhesive micropatterns. The FLECS Platform was developed at and licensed from UCLA by the co-founders and reported in peer-reviewed journals such as Nature Biomedical Engineering.
Rather than acquire static images of fixed cells like high-content imaging approaches, Forcyte’s FLECS platform acquires dynamic movies of living, contracting cells, at short (~minutes) or long (~hours or days) time-scales, providing a more complete picture of how mechanical disease processes evolve over time.
Forcyte has efficiently scaled to routinely screen 10,000 wells per screening day and has, to-date, collected contractility data on >2.4 million cell-drug-timepoint combinations from >360 million individual primary human cells, including smooth muscle cell types, fibroblasts, and other tissue cells.
The company, internally and via partnerships, is launching a pipeline of programs targeting mechanically-active disease processes including fibrotic diseases, dystrophies, and hyper- and hypo-responsiveness in organs including the bladder, airway, blood vessels, and uterus. Highlighting the importance of the FLECS Platform in uncovering actionable information, Forcyte has entered into successful collaborations with multiple biopharma companies including an ongoing partnership with an undisclosed leading pharmaceutical company.