Scientific startups investor Prime Movers Lab expands life sciences practice

Scientific startups investor Prime Movers Lab expands life sciences practice

Published: 17-02-2021 12:56:00 | By: Pie Kamau | hits: 253 | Tags:

Prime Movers Lab, an investor in breakthrough scientific startups that will revolutionize the world's most important industries and transform billions of lives, announced that it is expanding its efforts in the life sciences and has added new partners with deep expertise in biology, longevity and neuroscience.

Three new Prime Movers Lab partners, Caleb Bell, PhD, Amy Kruse, PhD, and Jyothi Devakumar, PhD bring varied experience across multiple verticals including biotech, food, neuroscience and longevity medicine. These new partners are complemented by longtime members of Prime Movers' scientific advisory board, who include Robert Booth, PhD, a former member of Roche's global research management team; Aubrey de Grey, PhD, Chief Scientific Officer at the SENS Research Foundation; and Dan Marshak, PhD, former Chief Scientific Officer of PerkinElmer.

Companies in Prime Movers Lab's portfolio include those already working to end the pandemic, accelerate cures for age-rooted diseases and help stroke patients recover.

Brandon Simmons, Partner, Prime Movers Lab: "With companies we support on the precipice of major breakthroughs in areas like longevity and neuroscience, we are confident that we can help plant more seeds of scientific innovation that will result in real world application. We're energized and excited to expand our life sciences work and welcome three incredible new partners with well-established track records creating and working with world-changing scientists and companies who can help us identify and advance scientific innovation with life-changing impact."

Throughout his career, Dr. Bell founded multiple companies across diverse sectors, including biotech and food. Prior to Prime Movers Lab, Dr. Bell was a venture partner for Beyond Next Ventures, a Tokyo-based fund investing in deep technology. He also serves as a board member for multiple life sciences companies and volunteers at leading accelerators, including Stanford's StartX, UCSF's Innovation Ventures, FAST, and Ikigai Accelerator. Dr. Bell is also a longtime leader in multiple nonprofits and industry associations, including BIO, the Alliance for Regenerative Medicine and the California Life Science Institute.

"It is an honor to join Prime Movers Lab to serve entrepreneurs in commercializing innovations that have the ability to save lives and improve the human condition," Dr. Bell said. "I think that right now is probably the best time in history to be in the life sciences entrepreneurial ecosystem. We are at this kind of 'perfect storm place' where innovations and capacity in areas like genetics, understandings of diseases, advent of new modalities like cell, gene and digital therapies, synthetic biology and computer science are colliding. With these and the amazing entrepreneurs leveraging them we are going to see a massive transformation of society."

Dr. Kruse brings 15+ years of experience to Prime Movers Lab, spanning a broad array of companies and positions. Most recently, Dr. Kruse was the Chief Scientific Officer at Optios, an applied neuroscience company. She also served as the VP and CTO at Cubic Global Defense, overseeing innovation and the R&D portfolio across the entire defense enterprise. Early in her career, Dr. Kruse served as a government civilian program manager at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), where she created and oversaw the Agency's first performance-oriented neuroscience programs, with a combined budget of over $300 million. DARPA is a research and development agency of the United States Department of Defense responsible for the development of emerging technologies for use by the military.

"The next decade will be defined by the application of rapid advances in biotechnology to every facet of our lives: disease prevention, human augmentation, psychedelics and food production, to name a few," Dr. Kruse said. "I am thrilled to have the opportunity to serve extraordinary entrepreneurs radically improving human life as an investor and partner, with the goal of helping to further scale these companies."

Dr. Devakumar has nearly two decades of experience in scientific leadership roles across multiple global enterprises and universities in ChinaMalaysiaSingapore, and India. Her work includes extensive experience with preclinical and clinical trials, and she is a recognized expert in stem cell biology and regenerative medicine, especially focused on longevity.

"For most of human history, aging and the diseases of aging have been viewed as inevitable. However, a range of recent scientific breakthroughs, like those targeted by Prime Movers Lab, are rapidly demonstrating that longevity medicine is approaching a tipping point where these advances will unlock massive extensions of both lifespan and health span," Dr. Devakumar said. "It really is the perfect moment to partner with Prime Movers Lab to accelerate these advances in human flourishing."    

Prime Movers Lab is the sponsor of Prime Movers Lab Fund I, a $100 million seed- stage investment fund supporting, among other innovation, advancing sustainable food production, ending the global pandemic, providing clean energy and pioneering space infrastructure. Fund I launched in 2018, and portfolio investments include Gordian, a gene therapy-based company; COVAXX, a COVID-19 vaccine developer; and Optios, a neuro-performance company. 

In January, Prime Movers Lab announced it had raised $245 million for its second early-stage investment fund. Prime Movers Lab Fund II will invest across early-stage companies using breakthrough science and technology to transform human augmentation, energy, transportation, infrastructure, manufacturing and agriculture for the better.

Prime Movers Lab prides itself on being more than a passive investor, offering comprehensive resources and integrated coaching to support the transformation of world-class technical experts into extraordinary executives. The team has developed in-depth academic scientific research, commercialized novel scientific intellectual property, scaled significant enterprises, and mentored renowned scientists on their entrepreneurial journeys.