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BioGenerator Invests $3.2 Million in 16 St. Louis Bioscience Companies

Jan 21, 2020

In 2019, BioGenerator, the investment arm of BioSTL, invested more than $3.2 million into 16 St. Louis pharma, agtech, medical device, and healthy-living companies. 

Eight of those companies earned first-time investments. Three of these companies have relocated to St. Louis because of BioGenerator’s investment. The 16 investments are part of BioGenerator’s overall investment portfolio of more than 50 active St. Louis startup companies.

“We continue to build on our region’s strengths in human health and agtech, and we are growing the healthy-living sector with new investments as well,” said Eric Gulve, President of BioGenerator. “As more people become attentive to their dietary choices and to leading healthier lifestyles, BioGenerator has been creating, building, and investing in St. Louis-based companies that meet these needs. We’re proud to introduce BioGenerator’s robust 2019 investment portfolio that showcases St. Louis’ strengths in innovation.”

Eight of the 16 companies with 2019 BioGenerator investments are led by current or former BioGenerator Entrepreneurs in Residence (EIR). BioGenerator identifies and funds talented individuals to build and lead these startups. BioGenerator also funds other positions, known as Venture Capital Fellows, that provide customized opportunities for talented individuals to learn new skills while contributing to the advancement of startup companies. In 2019, Fellows played leadership roles in three of the 16 companies.

“Management talent is critical to the success of startups and is probably the most important factor for professional investors,” said Charlie Bolten, Senior Vice President of BioGenerator. “We are aggressively attacking the regional startup management talent gap by providing financial support to proven Entrepreneurs in Residence, while simultaneously developing new talent with our Venture Capital Fellows program. In 2019, we spent more than $800,000 bringing leadership talent to St. Louis startup companies.”

2019 BioGenerator Investments:

Aggio, new to the BioGenerator investment portfolio, develops cloud technology applications for the agriculture industry to drive decision-making rooted in data for farmers and the ag industry supply chain.

Arch Innotek produces high-value natural ingredients for human and animal health by low-cost, sustainable, fermentation-based processes.

Bacterioscan commercializes reliable, precision instrumentation for the rapid detection of infectious pathogens and for quickly determining which specific antibiotics are effective for each patient. The Bacterioscan 216Dx system received FDA clearance for quickly detecting bacterial urinary tract infections.

Cadre Bioscience, new to the BioGenerator investment portfolio and led by a BioGenerator EIR, is developing a portfolio of new therapeutics for human diseases of high unmet medical need.

Canopy Biosciences, led by a former BioGenerator EIR, commercializes a portfolio of research tools and services for genetic engineering, molecular biology, proteomics, and personalized medicine. Canopy partners with leading researchers at top institutions to turn their discoveries into tangible products.

Edison Agrosciences, which was previously relocated from North Carolina by BioGenerator to St. Louis and is led by a former BioGenerator EIR, commercializes innovative solutions for the production of plant-based industrial materials, with a primary focus on renewable sources for natural rubber. The global supply of natural rubber (90% of which is from SE Asia) is threatened by multiple environmental and economic factors.

Healthy Bytes, which relocated to St. Louis from New York and is new to the BioGenerator investment portfolio, is a tech-enabled services company that connects Registered Dieticians to employers, providers, and patients, utilizing existing benefit plans to provide nutritional counseling at no additional cost.

Impetus Agriculture focuses on new insect control biologics for food crops that will combat the growing number of insects resistant to current commercial products. Impetus’ programs are designed to specifically circumvent insects’ resistance mechanisms.

KaloCyte, new to the BioGenerator investment portfolio and led by a former BioGenerator EIR, develops red blood cell substitutes intended to be used for trauma care. Kalocyte’s product is designed for life-threatening situations where stored red blood cells are unavailable, undesirable, or in short supply.

Readout Health, which relocated to St. Louis from San Francisco, is new to the BioGenerator investment portfolio and led by a former BioGenerator EIR. The company is commercializing a highly-accurate device to measure fat burning, empowering people to personalize and map their health journey through simple breath samples multiple times a day.

Start Right, new to the BioGenerator investment portfolio, commercializes convenient, protein-packed, nutritional breakfast foods.

Synchrony Bio, led by a BioGenerator EIR, brings deep industry experience and technical expertise to early-stage companies with a focus on human diagnostics. Its portfolio includes Geneoscopy and OpenCell Technologies.

VaxNewMo, new to the BioGenerator investment portfolio, develops broader and more affordable vaccines in a shorter time frame. The company is using its proprietary manufacturing platform to combat “superbugs.” 

WELLTH Holdings, new to the BioGenerator investment portfolio and led by a BioGenerator EIR, grows high-potential, consumer packaged goods that provide health, wellness or well-being benefits by infusing capital, connections and consumer products expertise.

Wugen develops novel cellular therapies for human cancers. Wugen’s state-of-the-art gene editing technologies and cutting-edge cell therapy address key challenges that have limited the clinical use of cell therapies.

YourBevCo, led by a former BioGenerator EIR, markets novel consumer products that remove allergens and other problematic ingredients from beverages.

From BioGenerator’s Entrepreneurs in Residence & Venture Capital Fellows: 

“BioGenerator developed an innovative business model to commercialize a portfolio of new consumer wellness products,” said Laura Burkemper, CEO at WELLTH Holdings and 2019 BioGenerator Entrepreneur in Residence. “I am thrilled to join the BioGenerator team to help grow WELLTH by leveraging St. Louis’ strengths in health and wellbeing.”

“My role as a BioGenerator Venture Capital Fellow exposed me to many startup opportunities as I explored the business aspects of commercializing technology,” said Mark Lewis, Vice President Finance and Business Operations at Wugen and 2019 BioGenerator Venture Capital Fellow. “I quickly recognized the potential significance of Wugen’s technology and am excited to be part of the Wugen team as we advance forward into clinical trials.”

“Readout Health’s founders came to BioGenerator with a promising concept in early 2019, and by the end of the year we’d built a strong new business and launched our first product,” said Trey Suntrup, Director of Clinical Development at Readout and 2019 BioGenerator Venture Capital Fellow. “BioGenerator quickly deployed talent from its Entrepreneur in Residence and Venture Capital Fellows programs, along with pre-investment grant funding, to help launch Readout Health in St. Louis.”

In a Nutshell: 

In 2019, BioGenerator’s largest investments were in Wellth, Cadre Bioscience, and Wugen.

Eight companies received first-time investments:

  1. Aggio
  2. Cadre Bioscience
  3. Healthy Bytes
  4. KaloCyte
  5. Readout Health
  6. Start Right
  7. VaxNewMo
  8. WELLTH Holdings

Three companies relocated to St. Louis because of BioGenerator’s investment:

  1. Edison Agroscience (previously relocated from North Carolina)
  2. Healthy Bytes (New York)
  3. Readout Health (San Francisco)

Eight companies are led by current or former BioGenerator Entrepreneurs in Residence:

  1. Cadre Bioscience
  2. Canopy Biosciences
  3. Edison Agroscience
  4. KaloCyte
  5. Readout Health
  6. Synchrony Bio
  7. WELLTH Holdings
  8. YourBevCo