Thiel Foundation's Breakout Labs selects three early-stage companies for funding
Breakout Labs, a seed-stage revolving fund operating out of the nonprofit Thiel Foundation in San Francisco, has announced three new companies have been selected for funding. These companies include Neumitra, Ion Dx, E3XBio.
Wearable technologies are exploding in the physical fitness arena, but the CEO of Breakout Labs' first Boston-based company, Neumitra, Robert Goldberg, Ph.D., is focused on their potential to improve brain health. Medical research has long linked excessive stress to a host of physical and mental health concerns. Neumitra is developing embedded biomodules and an associated bioinformatics platform to accurately measure and respond to physiological stress in real time. The founding team includes a neuroscientist, an aerospace engineer and an algorithms engineer, who came together while working at M.I.T. Neumitra also is a portfolio company of Rock Health, the digital health seed fund.
Ion Dx, based in Danville, Calif., is developing new bench-top instrumentation to measure proteins in biological samples. Ion mobility spectrometry already is used by agencies like the TSA to rapidly assess the presence of dangerous chemicals. Founder and C.E.O. Henry Benner, Ph.D., has discovered how to reconfigure this technology to accurately detect small differences in much larger molecules, including variations in protein conformation. The technology will be used to identify drug targets more efficiently, provide a new platform for developing medical diagnostic tests and assay therapeutic quality during manufacturing steps.
Important targets for diseases ranging from cancer to neurodegeneration, Ubiquitin E3 HECT ligases have been inaccessible to high-throughput drug screening because existing cell-based assays require multiple, cumbersome steps. E3XBio, based in Menlo Park, Calif., has created a streamlined drug-discovery platform based on the active properties of these "undruggable" targets. The founding team, led by C.E.O. Lori Rafield, Ph.D., has substantial prior drug development experience in large biotech and pharma companies, including novel assets that are currently in human clinical studies.