Press Release
November 09th, 2021

TDK Ventures backs MEMS-based genome editing tools company, Mekonos

  • Silicon Valley-based Series A startup Mekonos brings groundbreaking advances in precision “ex vivo” delivery technologies to the $1B+ cell-line development and $30B gene-editing markets

  • Mekonos couples digital microfluidics with nanoengineered MEMS onto a single integrated chip, enabling variable payload delivery of genome editing molecules with single-cell precision

  • TDK Ventures investment in Mekonos will allow the startup to leverage TDK’s industry experience in MEMS and high-volume industrial manufacturing to support its revolutionary vision for cell and gene therapies

 

 

TDK Corporation (TSE: 6762) announced today that subsidiary TDK Ventures Inc.  has invested in biotech tools company Mekonos to accelerate the development and deployment of Mekonos’ integrated molecular delivery chip, which brings much needed scaling and single-cell precision to next generation cell and gene therapies. By investing in Mekonos, TDK Ventures continues TDK’s legacy commitment to MEMS and BioMEMS solutions to progress and improve healthcare, furthering the startup’s approach that leverages precision-engineering and a novel MEMS technology built for scalable manufacturing.

Cell and gene therapy (CGT) is a new form of treatment against serious illnesses that utilizes advances in molecular biology and gene editing inside of cells. In many cases, CGTs may serve as an alternative to more macro-invasive procedures, such as surgery or even small molecule drugs or biologics. CGT is one of the fastest growing market in therapeutics, with an estimated market size in 2026 to be $70.5B growing at a CAGR of 52%. Over 1,220 clinical trials are underway in CGT with up to 20 annual FDA approvals expected by 2025. In contrast with traditional therapeutics, development of cell and gene therapies is an inefficient and riskier process, limiting the speed at which discoveries can be advanced. For example, cell therapies often require cells from the patient to be extracted and injected with cell or gene payloads outside the body in a lab. This ex vivo engineering, or transfection process, is currently done using techniques like electroporation, viral vectors, or via shearporation that are decades old. Such state-of-the-art technology offers poor cell viability after transfection or lacks precision for dose control. Mekonos has developed a novel delivery technology using a proprietary cell-engineering platform, using silicon chip technology (MEMS) for extremely precise delivery of molecules into any type of cells, which allows for faster, more reliable research, development, and eventually manufacturing for these cell and gene therapy products.

“Mekonos' precision-engineering approach includes a novel MEMS technology that will help in discovering, testing, validating new biological targets and scaling manufacturing for cell and gene therapy companies to catalyze new cures and treatments and contribute to society is a perfect fit for TDK Ventures’ mission,” said Nicolas Sauvage, President, TDK Ventures. “We believe that with our experience in MEMS, industrial manufacturing, and automation, our TDK Goodness could be valuable to share with the Mekonos’ team to accelerate their success.”

 

“Mekonos and TDK Ventures share synergistic values in our commitment to contribute and enrich society in building a better world,” said Anil Narasimha, CEO and co-founder, Mekonos. “They are also known leaders in the MEMS industry with valuable experience in manufacturing. We look forward to this monumental opportunity to collaborate moving forward, and to work together to bring about new hope and therapies for families everywhere struggling with illness and limited treatment options.”

Mekonos’ team of experts – hailing from the likes of Stanford, Berkeley, MIT, and Purdue – have coalesced innovations in microfluidics, MEMS nanoengineering, and surface chemistry to provide a solution that is not only more robust, but extremely versatile. Mekonos’ Scientific Advisory Board includes world-renowned scientists Irving Weissman (founder of Forty Seven, acquired by Gilead Sciences) and Carolyn Bertozzi (former board member at Eli Lilly and scientific advisor at GSK).  Mekonos raised an oversubscribed Series A round amounting to $25M, co-led by Reimagined Ventures and Fiscus Financial, and PEAK6. New institutional and strategic investors, including Section 32, Sands Capital, Debiopharm, and TDK Ventures and previous investors, including Novartis Pharma AG, Elementum Ventures, and Good AI Capital, also participated in the round.

 

To learn more about TDK Ventures, visit www.tdk-ventures.com or reach out at contact@tdk-ventures.com

 

About TDK Corporation

 

TDK Corporation is a world leader in electronic solutions for the smart society based in Tokyo, Japan. Built on a foundation of material sciences mastery, TDK welcomes societal transformation by resolutely remaining at the forefront of technological evolution and deliberately “Attracting Tomorrow.” It was established in 1935 to commercialize ferrite, a key material in electronic and magnetic products. TDK's comprehensive, innovation-driven portfolio features passive components such as ceramic, aluminum electrolytic and film capacitors, as well as magnetics, high-frequency, and piezo and protection devices. The product spectrum also includes sensors and sensor systems such as temperature and pressure, magnetic, and MEMS sensors. In addition, TDK provides power supplies and energy devices, magnetic heads and more. These products are marketed under the product brands TDK, EPCOS, InvenSense, Micronas, Tronics and TDK-Lambda. TDK focuses on demanding markets in automotive, industrial and consumer electronics, and information and communication technology. The company has a network of design and manufacturing locations and sales offices in Asia, Europe, and in North and South America. In fiscal 2021, TDK posted total sales of USD 13.3 billion and employed about 129,000 people worldwide.

 

 

About TDK Ventures

 

TDK Ventures Inc. invests in startups to bolster innovation in materials science, energy/power and related areas typically underrepresented in venture capital portfolios. Established in 2019 as a wholly-owned subsidiary of TDK Corporation, the corporate venture company’s vision is to propel the digital and energy transformations of segments such as health and wellness, next-generation transportation, robotics and industrial, mixed reality and the wider IoT/IIoT markets. TDK Ventures will co-invest and support promising portfolio companies by providing technical expertise and access to global markets where TDK operates. Interested startups or investment partners may contact TDK Ventures: www.tdk-ventures.com or contact@tdk-ventures.com.

 

About Mekonos

 

Mekonos is a cell & gene technology company transforming synthetic biology and personalized medicine. The company's SoC merges innovations in MEMS, microfluidics, and chemistry for controlled and individualized molecular delivery in cells at scale. The company is headquartered in San Francisco, is backed by leading investors in both healthcare and technology, and is an alum of Berkeley Launch, Berkeley SkyDeck, Creative Destruction Lab, and named a 2018 Fierce 15 startup. For more information, please visit www.mekonos.com.

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