bit.bio is a synthetic biology company providing human cells for research, drug discovery and cell therapy. The company applies a patented safe harbour gene-targeting approach (opti-ox™; Pawlowski 2017) to inducibly express transcription factor combinations that reprogram human induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) into highly defined and mature human cell types.
The required transcription factor combinations are discovered using high throughput screens and advanced data analysis (bit.bio discovery platform). The company is currently building a clinical pipeline and marketing a wide range of cells and disease models for research and drug discovery under its ioCells brand including nerve cells, immune cells and muscle cells.
The company was spun out of the University of Cambridge in 2016 and has since raised approximately $200M from Arch Ventures, Foresite Capital, Milky Way, Charles River Laboratories, National Resilience, Tencent, and Puhua Capital among others.
The company has expertise in the underpinning science of synthetic biology and stem cells and also in manufacturing, and clinical translation. The board is chaired by serial entrepreneur Dr Hermann Hauser and includes Sir Gregory Winter (Nobel Prize for medicine), biotech veteran Alan Roemer (co-founder Roivant and Pharmasset) and the company's CEO and scientific founder Dr Mark Kotter.
Weslie Janeway is an investor, author, philanthropist and scientist based in New York, USA and Cambridge, UK. While pursuing a career in financial services, she has served in a variety of non-executive roles in the not-for-profit sector, such as Treasurer of Cancer Care, Inc., a social services agency for cancer patients and their families, Board Trustee and Chair of the Development Committee of the New York Women’s Foundation and Vice-Chair and Head of the Nominating and Governance Committee of The Jackson Laboratory, a genetics institute based in Maine, USA.
Weslie is a founding investor and member of the Board of Directors of bit.bio, the cell-coding company based in Cambridge, UK. She serves on the Audit and Compensation Committees. Weslie is a graduate of both Columbia University in New York and Brown University in Rhode Island. Additionally, she has studied genetics at the University of Cambridge as well as in New York. She is also a Chartered Financial Analyst and the co-author of Mrs. Charles Darwin’s Recipe Book.
At present, as well as being a Trustee for Myelopathy.org, Weslie is a Trustee of the Rockefeller University, where she serves on the Audit, Hospital and Technology Transfer Committees. In addition, she is an Independent Director of the New York Genome Center.
Dr. Katy Rezvani is a Professor of Stem Cell Transplantation & Cellular Therapy at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, where she serves as the Sally Cooper Murray Chair in Cancer Research, chief of the section for cellular therapy, director of translational research, and medical director of the GMP Facility. She also serves as executive director of MD Anderson's Adoptive Cell Therapy Platform. She leads a research lab with a focus on NK cell biology and developing novel NK cell engineering strategies for cancer, with the aim of translating these discoveries to the clinic. Dr. Rezvani completed her medical training at University College London, England and her PhD at Imperial College London. She completed her training in immunology and transplantation biology at the National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD. In addition, she has co-authored over 200 peer-reviewed publications and has received multiple prizes and awards.
After completing her medical studies in Rome and a post-doctoral fellowship focused on cellular immunology at the National Cancer Institute in Bethesda (USA), Dr Alteri spent 7 years in drug discovery and 5 years in clinical safety at Ciba-Geigy/Novartis in Basel. She was involved in major projects that yielded important drugs such as Gleevec for myeloid leukaemia, Coartem for malaria and Reyataz for HIV-AIDS. In 1998 she joined Serono in Geneva where she led the Pharmacovigilance and Risk Management team. At Serono, Dr Alteri was instrumental in establishing the company’s pharmacovigilance processes, as well as implementing the entire portfolio’s risk management strategy.
In 2012 she joined the European Medicines Agency, where she was Head of the Safety and Efficacy Sector for one year, being later promoted to Head of the Human Medicines Evaluation Division, and then to Head of the Human Medicines R&D Support Division.
She was member of the EMA Executive Board from 2013 until she retired in 2020.
In this roles, Dr Alteri was part of many high impact EMA’s initiatives, from the transparency of clinical trial data to the development of regulatory science strategy to 2025.
Dr Alteri has been consulting for the Swiss regulatory agency (Swissmedic), and is currently member of the Scientific Committee and faculty of the Master Course in Drug R&D of the University of Geneva. Dr Alteri regularly gives lectures on various aspects of R&D at the Universities of Rome, Cattolica and LUISS, and at the European Course in Pharmaceutical Medicine at the University of Basel. Moreover, she is member of the CIOMS Working Group XIII (Real World Data/Real World Evidence), and the CIOMS. Working Group Education. Most recently, she has been appointed as Core Member of the Proposal Review Committee of Unitaid for a 3-year period.
Marie-Claire is a pioneering international expert in sustainability, law and public policy innovation. An award-winning expert jurist, executive and law professor specialised in corporate social responsibility, climate law and governance, sustainable trade and ethical investment rules, she is Visiting Chair of Sustainable Development Law and Policy at the University of Cambridge, and also serves as Senior Director of the global Centre for International Sustainable Development Law (CISDL). Having assisted in drafting the Paris Agreement, she has published over 24 books and 160 papers with world-class presses, edited five law journals and a Cambridge University Press book series, advised the United Nations and key countries, and helps purpose-led companies to advance the UN Sustainable Development Goals.
Jeff Skopek is an Associate Professor of Law at the University of Cambridge and Deputy Director of its Centre for Law, Medicine and Life Sciences. His research explores the normative and conceptual foundations of health law, focusing in particular on controversies about what harms and benefits count. Before coming to Cambridge, he was an Academic Fellow at Harvard Law School’s Petrie-Flom Centre for Health Law Policy, Biotechnology, and Bioethics. Prior to that, he served as a law clerk to Chief Judge Lynch of the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit. He holds an A.B. in History from Stanford University, a Ph.D. in the History and Philosophy of Science from the University of Cambridge, and a J.D. from Harvard Law School
Mark Kotter | MD, PhD, Founder | CEO