Mayflower BioVentures to Announce New Cell & Gene Therapy Companies within Months

Mayo Clinic_James R. Martin

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A cell and gene therapy accelerator formed by Mayo Clinic, Hibiscus BioVentures and Innoforce is officially up and running, the partners announced Wednesday.

Mayflower BioVentures will identify and launch companies around “technologies that address unmet patient needs.”

Mayo Clinic has accumulated a portfolio of next-generation immune system modulators as well as numerous novel therapeutics in cell and gene therapy. Now Mayo is sharing those discoveries and research capabilities in hopes of reaching patients.

“We have the first right to look at the technologies that Mayo considered to be high-value opportunities,” Chris Jeffers, CEO of Hibiscus BioTechnology, told BioSpace. “That’s an internal designation. And we have the first rights to create companies from those.”

It gives Hibiscus the opportunity to incubate and accelerate the companies within Mayflower anywhere between one and two years. “Eventually our goal is to graduate those companies to be self-sufficient, independent companies that can obtain their own funding once they leave the accelerator,” Jeffers added.

Andrew Danielsen, chair of Mayo Clinic Ventures, told BioSpace that each company will be within Mayflower and owned by the investor syndicate proportionally. 

Mayflower has been in the works for at least a year, Jeffers and COO Sia Anaganostou shared, adding that they have been working with Mayo on identifying and developing several companies, which they expect to announce in the coming months.

While unable to provide further details, Jeffers said the areas of focus are anticipated to range from various types of stem cell therapies and gene therapies covering a number of conditions. Some of those technologies are ancillary to cellular therapies, while some are for new pathways to “try to escape from traditional immuno-oncology,” he said. 

Mayflower will be run by the Hibiscus management team.  

“This is a big push from the Mayo Clinic to really increase its commercialization in this space. We’re really proud to be associated with such a fantastic institution with unparalleled clinical expertise,” Jeffers said, adding that these factors are a real differentiator.

Danielsen spoke of transitioning research from bench to bedside.

“We believe this collaboration can bridge the gap between industry and innovative cell and gene therapy research, enabling emerging startups to navigate the challenges of producing meaningful, novel therapeutics that transform health and medicine,” he said in a statement.  

Mayo’s Center for Regenerative Biotherapeutics focuses on advancing regenerative technologies from discovery into early phase clinical studies.

Hibiscus is a venture capital firm focused on building patient-focused companies around new technology and helping to develop those discoveries into commercial drugs and therapies. Hibiscus is comprised of Hibiscus Biotechnology, a “venture studio” that works to build companies from scratch, and Hibiscus Capital Management, a VC firm that invests in promising early-stage biotech companies.

Innoforce is a partnership-focused biopharma company targeting advanced therapy medicinal products (ATMPs) and biologics. It offers contract development and manufacturing services including GMP manufacturing of plasmid DNA, RNA, viral vector and cell products.

Any revenue generated by Mayflower will go toward Mayo Clinic’s patient care, education and research.

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