Crystal Nyitray, Ph.D., CEO and Co-Founder of Encellin provided an overview of the company’s emerging cellular technology to treat chronic endocrine disorders, hypoglycemia and hypocalcemia.
Why did you start this business?
Encellin was founded because we have a unique opportunity to help millions of patients. The technology developed at UCSF needed a way forward, so we created Encellin. Starting a business also gives you the opportunity to create a specialized team of people dedicated to advancing therapy. We are creating a culture that cares about helping patients and has the courage to try new ways of thinking.
We recently announced the closure of a $ 5.9 million Seed financing round. The round was co-led by Khosla Ventures and SV Latam Capital, with participation from Sandhill Angels and Y Combinator.
What need are you looking to meet in the health sector?
There are 10,000 billion cells in our body that work to keep us healthy. And when these cells are damaged or missing, patients contract disease. Cellular therapies begin to solve these problems by restoring missing or damaged cell functions. To safely deliver cells to the body, the host must be either:
A) Immune removed so that the foreign tissue can be protected or
B) Dose with an immune protected cell which leaves the recipient unprotected against continuously growing cell lines.
Encellin has developed a way to protect implanted cells and protect the host from unwanted cells. We protect cells and protect humans. With our technology, we can enable cells to be living drugs in the body that can provide therapy when and where it’s needed.
What does your product do? How it works?
Encellin invented a soft cell encapsulation (CED) device that works like a pocket to contain and help cells survive in the body. Encellin’s CED enables closed cells to function as intelligent 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 are able to 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 background in the health field?
Encellin is my first startup, but before Encellin, I helped dozens of companies exit UCSF. I was at Sanofi’s External Science and Partnering, and before that, I was doing my PhD. at UCSF where the core Encellin technology was developed. I want to help patients and structure my career in places where I can advance cutting edge technology.
What is your business model?
Encellin is building a pipeline of cell therapies focused on important unmet clinical needs with a clear mechanism of action.
Who is your client?
Our ultimate customer is the patient. However, we will also work with hospitals and payers to ensure these products can be properly covered to ensure accessibility for patients.
How to generate income?
Encellin is developing cell therapies and will follow a standard model of therapeutic revenue generation.
Do you have clinical validation for your product?
Encellin is a preclinical stage company with proof of concept in animals. Our main programs are at the doorstep of the clinic entrance.