Crystal Nyitray, Ph.D., CEO and Co-Founder of Encellin provided an overview of the company’s emerging cell technology to treat chronic endocrine disorders, hypoglycemia and hypocalcemia.
Why did you start this company?
Encellin was founded because we have the unique opportunity to help millions of patients. The technology developed at UCSF needed a way forward, which is why we created Encellin. Additionally, starting a business gives you the opportunity to create a specialized team of people dedicated to advancing therapy. We managed to create a culture that cares about helping patients and has the courage to try new ways of thinking.
Recently announced the closing of a $ 5.9 million seed funding round. The round was co-chaired by Khosla Ventures and SV Latam Capital, with the participation of Sandhill Angels and Y Combinator.
What need do you seek to address in the health field?
There are 10 trillion cells in our body that work to keep us healthy. And when these cells are damaged or missing, patients get diseases. Cell-based therapies are beginning to address these problems by restoring damaged or missing cell functions. To safely deliver cells to the body, the host must be:
A) Immunosuppressed so that foreign tissue can be protected or
B) Dosed with a protected immune cell that leaves the receptor unprotected from a continuously growing cell line.
Encellin has developed a way to protect implanted cells and protect the host from rogue cells. We are protecting cells and protecting human beings. With our technology, we can train cells to be living drugs in the body that can deliver therapies when and where needed.
What does your product do? How does it work?
Encellin has invented a soft cell encapsulation device (CED) that works like a bag to contain and help cells to survive in the body. Encellin’s CED enables closed cells to function as smart molecular factories, releasing therapeutic agents when needed. Our new CED allows cells from different sources to be loaded into the CED and implanted into a recipient. Once implanted, cells within the CED can maintain their normal function and exchange necessary biomolecules with the host environment to provide therapeutic benefit.
Is this your first healthcare startup? What is your experience in health care?
Encellin is my first startup, but before Encellin I helped dozens of companies launch outside of UCSF. I was in External Science and Partnering at Sanofi, and before that I was doing my PhD. at UCSF where Encellin’s core technology was developed. I want to help patients and structure my career in places where I can advance innovative technologies.
What is the business model of your company?
Encellin is building a line of cell-based therapies that target unmet clinical needs with a clear mechanism of action.
Who is your client?
Our end customer is the patient. However, we will also work with hospitals and payers to ensure that this product can be well covered to ensure patient accessibility.
How do you generate income?
Encellin is developing cell-based therapies and will follow a standard revenue-generating therapy model.
Do you have clinical validation for your product?
Encellin is a company in the preclinical stage, with proof of concept in animals. Our leading programs at the threshold of clinical entry.