Life Science Angels has led a $1.5 million seed funding in biotech company Zephyrus Biosciences. Other investors in the seed round include Mission Bay Capital, The Angel Forum and the Stanford StartX Fund, as well as individual investors in the life science community. Zephyrus also raised $350,000 in a grant from the National Institute of Health and $10,000 from the U.C. Bakar Fellows Program.
Zephyrus Biosciences, Inc., a life science research tools company, announced today that it has secured $1.86 million in funding to develop and commercialize its single cell Western blotting (scWestern) system to enable researchers to analyze proteins in thousands of single cells. Based on over five years of research in Professor Amy Herr’s laboratory at the University of California, Berkeley, the technology promises to enable advances in diseases like cancer where understanding heterogeneity in cell populations is critical.
The $1.5 million series seed funding is led by Life Sciences Angels, a leading bay area angel investor group that was recently ranked first among all U.S. angel groups by CB Insights. “Much of the single cell market has been focused on measuring RNA levels to infer protein expression. We were extremely impressed by Zephyrus’ powerful technology which allows researchers to directly measure proteins in large numbers of single cells,” said Michael Finney of Life Science Angels.
Seed round investors also include Mission Bay Capital, The Angel Forum, and the Stanford StartX Fund, as well as several individual investors with deep life sciences experience.
In addition to the $1.5 million seed funding, Zephyrus Biosciences has been awarded a prestigious $350,000 Phase I SBIR grant from NIH and accessed $10,000 from the U.C. Bakar Fellows Program.
Drs. Kelly Gardner, Josh Molho, and Amy Herr founded Zephyrus Biosciences based on their shared vision to bring the scWestern technology out of Dr. Herr’s U.C. Berkeley laboratory and into the hands of scientists. The scWestern approach was published in the prominent publication Nature Methods in June 2014. Zephyrus Biosciences has an exclusive license from U.C. Berkeley for this technology.
“Our vision is to provide the tools to enable researchers to unlock the cell-to-cell variation that drives cancer pathogenesis and stem cell differentiation. We believe that this technology will fundamentally transform how researchers think about cancer and other diseases,” said Dr. Kelly Gardner, CEO and co-founder of Zephyrus Biosciences.
The scWestern technology is a variation on traditional Western blots, a widely used protein analysis technique. Rather than processing bulk samples, the scWestern disposable uses microfluidics technology to perform rapid Western-based analysis on the proteins in thousands of individual cells.
The funding will be used for development of the scWestern system.
About Zephyrus Biosciences, Inc.
Zephyrus Biosciences, a life science company based in Berkeley, CA, provides tools to enable protein analysis at the single cell level. Our first product enables western blotting on individual cells for the first time. The Zephyrus team is composed of biologists, engineers, and professionals with prior industry experience at companies including Applied Biosystems, Caliper Life Sciences, Affymetrix, Agilent, Millipore and Illumina. Zephyrus is affiliated with QB3, BayBio, StartX Med, a Stanford-affiliated nonprofit technology accelerator, and Berkeley Skydeck, the premier accelerator at U.C. Berkeley. To learn more, please visit www.zephyrusbio.com.