BlueWhale Bio, Inc., a new company spun out of the University of Pennsylvania to overcome key bottlenecks in cell and gene therapy manufacturing, announced today that it has raised $18 million in Seed financing. The round was led by Danaher Ventures LLC, the corporate venture subsidiary of Danaher Corporation, with a deep syndicate of leading life science investors, including Novalis LifeSciences and Marshall Wace, amongst others.
With the demand for cell therapy products surpassing supply, BlueWhale Bio aims to address critical shortcomings in the current treatment paradigm. Its founding scientific team is led by world-renowned immunotherapy pioneers Carl June, the Richard W. Vague Professor in Immunotherapy at Penn’s Perelman School of Medicine, and James Riley, a Professor of Microbiology at Penn. June and Riley are co-inventors of technology to be developed by BlueWhale Bio as a platform and portfolio of groundbreaking products that could bring the benefits of cell therapy to more patients faster and at lower costs. The company will be based in Philadelphia and led by CEO Peter Keller.
“This is an exciting time in cell therapy. With an increased focus on growth and adoption, cell-based therapies can become the next pillar of medicine,” said June. “I am thrilled that together we are looking to develop and commercialize a new cell therapy platform to improve patient care and save lives.”
BlueWhale Bio is the first company to emerge from the Danaher Ventures Pioneer Program, which creates companies in partnership with leading technology founders with the goal of developing and commercializing highly disruptive products and services to advance scientific research and improve lives on a global scale. Through the Pioneer Program, founders and their startups may access the investing and company-building experience of the Danaher Ventures team as well as Danaher’s research, product development and commercial expertise.
“Among the most powerful advanced biomedical therapies and technologies, cell and gene therapies have the potential to transform healthcare – but only if we can make them more accessible to the many patients who may ultimately need them,” said Murali Venkatesan, Ph.D., Head of Danaher Ventures, Americas and Europe and Vice President, Science & Technology Innovation at Danaher Corporation. “We are proud that through the Pioneer Program we are bringing together transformative, world-class talent and resources to help address this critical challenge.”