Selected Companies

SQZ Biotech

Polaris Partner and a former Pfizer exec Amy Schulman bet on cell therapy company SQZ Biotech because of Armon Sharei, even though he’s young and had never started a company before. “For somebody as smart as he is, he’s really humble and he’s eager to learn.”

Armon picked the VDC to launch the company out of the MIT Langer Lab. In 18 months, SQZ grew to 30 employees, and landed a $500M deal with Roche. Today it has 85 employees.

“The VDC offers an excellent environment in which to build our company. The staff are phenomenal in their commitment to culture and understanding of the unique needs of a startup. And we are inspired by all the innovative work our neighbors in the space are doing.”

Photo credit: Matthew Stein

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PillPack pre-sorts drugs into daily regimens and ships them to customers nationwide, relieving the burden of managing medications. Well before it became a $1 billion Amazon acquisition, we facilitated a visa that kept an engineer of the backend pharmacy system in Boston.

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Platelet Biogenesis

This spinout from Brigham and Women’s Hospital needed private laboratories to build its team and access to animal and imaging facilities. The company grew from 5 to 20 employees at the VDC. And it landed a $10 million Series A investment from Qiming Venture Partners to support preclinical testing of its bioreactor which permits the production of blood cells for transfusion therapy.

Ori Systems

Ori Systems’ all-in-one robotic dresser, desk and bed product makes tiny apartment spaces livable. We facilitated a visa that kept the founding team together after they graduated from the MIT Media Lab, and helped develop a major strategic partnership. The company has since raised $6 million from Khosla Ventures.

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Boston University spinout Neurala needed an incubator with commercialization experience to perform its SBIR Phase 1 project and nab a Phase 2 award, which it secured. The deep learning neural networks company has since raised $14 million in a funding round led by Pelion Ventures. It was included in CB Insights’ Artificial Intelligence 100 list.

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Luhan Yang’s first request upon arriving at the VDC from the George Church lab at Harvard Medical School was for talented and highly skilled interns. A team of three UMass Boston biology students helped her with a publication in Science. Then her startup, eGenesis, raised $38 million from ARCH Venture Partners after successfully using the gene-editing tool CRISPR to knock out a key virus in piglets, a move that could lead to pig-organ transplants for humans.

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University of Massachusetts Boston
100 Morrissey Blvd., Boston, MA 02125-3393

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