Basilard CEO Brynley Lee and founder Masa Rao
February 20, 2020

Highlander Venture Fund invests in Basilard BioTech

The UC Riverside-based startup will use the investment to develop next-generation prototypes

Author: Holly Ober
February 20, 2020

Basilard BioTech has received a $250,000 preseed investment from UC Riverside-affiliated Highlander Venture Fund. 

This is the third investment by the Highlander Venture Fund since its launch in 2017. The funding comes only six months after Basilard’s incorporation and two months after Basilard secured an exclusive license for the technology from UC Riverside.

Basilard is developing a disruptive nanomechanical gene delivery platform, SoloPore, that will transform the engineering of ex vivo cell and gene therapies. The SoloPore technology is based on National Institutes of Health and UC Riverside-funded research performed in the laboratory of mechanical engineering professor Masaru Rao. 

Basilard was supported in the funding process by UC Riverside’s EPIC Small Business Development Center, or EPIC SBDC, which provides entrepreneurs with intensive mentoring, training, and funding support.  

“Our SoloPore technology offers across-the-board better ex vivo delivery metrics, a lower overall cost, higher reliability, and a higher throughput solution that makes us a very attractive alternative to currently available ex vivo gene delivery techniques,” said Brynley Lee, Basilard’s CEO, who co-founded the company with Rao. “We are glad to have the Highlander Fund as a partner and thank UC Riverside and EPIC SBDC for the invaluable support we received.”

Basilard’s preseed funds will be used to develop new prototypes and accelerate efforts to engage prospective partners interested in helping bring Basilard’s SoloPore platform to various ex vivo cell and gene therapy applications, such as chimeric antigen receptor T cell, or CAR-T, cancer immunotherapies, hematopoietic stem cell gene therapy, and induced pluripotent stem cell regenerative medicine therapies.

Rao was a participant in UC Riverside Office of Technology Partnerships’ Proof-of-Concept grant program in November 2018 when he meet Lee. Basilard is the first company launched through the office’s innovative CEO-in-Residence program, which brought Lee in to identify compelling technologies being developed at UC Riverside and take them to market. 

“Basilard is a full-circle success story,” said Rosibel Ochoa, associate vice chancellor for technology partnerships at UC Riverside. “It is the result of a concerted effort to create tech-based startups from UC Riverside. Our office originally protected the technology in 2012 and accompanied Basilard in the process until this point. It takes significant time, and the dedicated effort of many to raise a startup to where Basilard is today. We have a number of potential similar startups in our pipeline and work every day to help them access the funding they need.”

Basilard BioTech's SoloPore technology compared to viral delivery. (Basilard BioTech/UCR)

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