news

Biotech startup Immusoft closes $2.7M in preparation for FDA drug trial
November 4, 2016

Immusoft has closed $2.7 million in Series A3 funding. The Seattle-based gene therapy startup developed technology that uses a patient’s immune cells to cure disease. It will use the funding to prepare for a new drug trial with the Food and Drug Administration.“The capital raised in this round will give us the resources we need to submit our Investigational New Drug application,” founder and CEO Matthew Scholz said in a news release. “We are grateful to our investors and for the speed in which we were able to close our latest effort to raise capital.”

Immusoft Finishes First Closing On Oversubscribed $3 Million Round
November 1, 2016

SEATTLE, Wash. (November 1, 2016)— Immusoft Corporation, a Seattle, Wash.-based gene therapy company, has closed on $2.74 million of a $3 million fundraising round. Founders Fund’s FF Science and Technium Partners led the investment. The round was oversubscribed and Immusoft says it expects to close on the remaining amount shortly.

Patient, Heal Thyself
May 1, 2016
If the body is driven more by information than by chemistry, why not treat disease with information? This question led Matthew Scholz to biology, and, ultimately, to Immusoft Corporation, a Seattle company he founded in 2009. Immusoft technology programs B cells, part of the body’s immune system, to treat disease. … By tweaking the code that tells the cells what to produce, Immusoft can make them into tiny treatment factories that continue to operate inside the body. In March, Immusoft acquired Minneapolis-based Discovery Genomics, which has a process that makes it far easier and cheaper to program the cells.
Q&A with Matthew Scholz: How DGI’s technology expands and enhances the Immusoft platform
March 30, 2016

On March 8, one of the first companies we funded, Immusoft, announced it has acquired Discovery Genomics, Inc., bringing new expertise and technologies to its therapeutic platform. We asked Matthew Scholz, CEO, if he could share the story behind the acquisition and what it means for Immusoft going forward.

Sleeping Beauty meets Jurassic Park at Seattle biotech
March 9, 2016

A Seattle biotech is working on technology that resembles the plot of Jurassic Park. Immusoft just acquired Minneapolis-based Discovery Genomics, a company that makes it possible for researchers to cut and paste DNA. The technology is called the Sleeping Beauty Transposon System. It gets its name from the process used to create it. … “In effect, they woke it up from an evolutionary sleep, which is how the name Sleeping Beauty became applied to it,” Immusoft CEO Matthew Scholz said. … Rather than making dinosaurs on a private island, though, Immusoft plans to make treatments for genetic diseases.

Gene therapy biotech startup Immusoft acquires Discovery Genomics
March 8, 2016

Immusoft, a Seattle-based biotech startup that has developed a way to manipulate human immune cells, today announced the acquisition of Discovery Genomics, a 16-year-old company based in Minneapolis, Minn. … Immusoft CEO Matthew Scholz said that his company acquired Discovery Genomics to gain its scientific expertise and key technology called the Sleeping Beauty Transposon System, which is used to deliver genes into cells to prevent or alleviate a disease state, all without using a virus. “Our two companies share a culture of innovation and a desire to change the way many diseases can be treated,” Scholz said in a statement. “It is my hope and expectation that combining our expertise and technology will help us in this pursuit.”

Immusoft Acquires Discovery Genomics
March 8, 2016

Immusoft has acquired Discovery Genomics…in a deal that expands the buyer’s technology holdings. With the acquisition, Immusoft has added to its portfolio Discovery Genomics’ Sleeping Beauty Transposon™ System, designed to deliver genes into cells using DNA rather than a virus. Immusoft said it plans to use the Sleeping Beauty Transposon System with its Immune System Programming (ISP™) technology platform. … Founded in 2000 and operational 2 years later, Discovery Genomics is based in Minneapolis. The company’s founders include Perry Hackett, Ph.D., whose lab invented the Sleeping Beauty Transposon System.

Gene Therapy Startup Immusoft Grows, Gets Access to Critical Technology with Acquisition of Discovery Genomics
March 8, 2016

SEATTLE & MINNEAPOLIS–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Immusoft Corporation, a Seattle, Wash.-based gene therapy company, announced today it has purchased Minneapolis, Minn.-based Discovery Genomics, Inc. The acquisition brings to Immusoft renowned scientific expertise and key technology, the Sleeping Beauty Transposon System, which Discovery Genomics uses to deliver genes into cells without using a virus.

A Contrarian in Biotech
March 16, 2015

What’s less well known about Thiel is his affinity for biotechnology. … He has invested in more than 25 startups…. Immusoft … is using gene therapy to turn blood cells into drug factories …. Matthew Scholz, a software entrepreneur, says he became obsessed with the idea that the immune system can be “programmed.” … The Breakout grant allowed him to demonstrate his ideas in mice for the first time.

Tech Titans’ Latest Project: Defy Death
April 3, 2015

For centuries, explorers have searched the world for the fountain of youth. Today’s billionaires believe they can create it, using technology and data.

Programming the Immune System to Produce Drugs
May 11, 2015

MPS I is a rare genetic disease that is incurable and lethal by age 12. Seattle-based Immusoft thinks it can harness a key part of the immune system to manufacture a missing enzyme needed to treat the disease. It represents a broader effort on the part of the company to develop a platform to treat a wide range of disease by turning immune system cells into drug factories.

The Costs of Healthcare Failure
November 18, 2013

The future of pharma is to learn to address the human body as an information platform. A company in Seattle named Immusoft, partly financed by venture investor Peter Thiel, has been successfully pursuing this strategy and proven its feasibility with mice, using viruses and other vectors to program immune cells to emit needed molecules.

How Peter Thiel Is Trying to Save the World
July/August 2015

In 2008, Thiel made Founders Fund’s first substantial biotech investment…. Matthew Scholz … recruited biologists and bootstrapped Immusoft, which “programs” B cells–types of white blood cells that produce antibodies–to generate their own medicine. … Instead of injecting treatments into a patient, cells are extracted, rewired to produce a treatment, and then returned to the body. … [L]ong-lasting DNA therapies like Immusoft’s could become a giant thorn for pharma companies whose profits depend on eternal prescription refills. “Once we treat all their patients, they’re done,” says Scholz.

Immusoft Completes Pre-IND Hearing With FDA
July 24, 2015

Biotech seeking approval for clinical trial to treat MPS I

Seattle Biotech Startup Raises More Than $2M, Hopes to Soon Begin Human Trials
August 21, 2014

Seattle biotech startup Immusoft Corp. has raised $2.37 million from investors, including FF Science, a San Francisco venture fund that targets early stage technology and science companies. Founder and CEO Matthew Scholz, who launched Immusoft in 2009, said the funding will allow his company to scale up research, including approaching the U.S. Food and Drug Administration about doing human clinical trials…

Adaptation of Humoral Memory
August 21, 2014

Immunological memory, as provided by antibodies, depends on the continued presence of antibody-secreting cells, such as long-lived plasma cells of the bone marrow. Survival niches for these memory plasma cells are limited in number. In an established immune system, acquisition of new plasma cells, generated in response to recent pathogenic challenges, requires elimination of old memory plasma cells. Here, we review the adaptation of plasma cell memory to new pathogens…

Local Biotech Startup Wants to Turn Body’s Cells Into Drug Factories
January 21, 2014

“It struck me that the way the body attacks a pathogen is similar to the way a computer attacks a password,” Scholz said. “You have this idea of immunity memory. If you get a vaccine, your body remembers it and suddenly the disease that used to kill you won’t even give you the sniffles. … So we really set about treating disease from an information-based perspective.”

Mini Drug Factory Churns Out Drugs From Inside Bone
September 20, 2013

Imagine never having to take a pill again. Instead, mini drug factories hidden inside your bones, and made from your own immune cells, would churn out personalised drugs and other molecules designed to keep you fit and healthy. Such a factory has been created in mice, and could soon be tested in humans to treat HIV. “We want to turn people’s cells into drug factories, giving them the genetic information they need to produce their own treatment,” says Matthew Scholz of Immusoft in Seattle, which is developing the technique…

A Computer Guy’s Dream, Immusoft, Turns Cells Into Drug Factories
July 5, 2012

Matthew Scholz has been told many times that his idea for reprogramming the body’s immune cells to create drugs was impossible. Maybe dangerous. Maybe just dumb. Scholz, a computer scientist with no formal biology training, could easily have been written off as a quixotic dreamer until this spring, when he got his breakout moment. The foundation started by Peter Thiel, the billionaire co-founder of PayPal, decided that Scholz’s startup,Immusoft, just might be onto something, granting it close to $400,000…

Tech visionary Thiel Sets Out to Spark a Biotech Revolution
April 17, 2012

Peter Thiel, an early venture investor in Facebook and FierceMarkets, has handed out a round of grants of up to $350,000 to a slate of 6 startup biotech companies, each of which promises a game-changing approach to medicine. And he’s hoping that handing out checks to these startup dreamers will help ignite some radical thinking on the possibilities of our collective “amazing future.”…

Peter Thiel’s Breakout Labs Awards $350K Each to Six Ambitious Biotech Startups
April 17, 2012

While most of us are still reeling in shock after last week’s one billion Instagram buy, Peter Thiel — through both Founders Fund and the Thiel Foundation — is leading the charge into a future where humans don’t age or suffer from cancer, among other things. Call it crazy or whatever you’d like, but there’s no doubt that people who are trying to drastically change the world for the better often do…

Immusoft Applies Computer Science Knowledge to Disease
Marie Powers

Although the concept of cell programming isn’t new, Immusoft Corp.’s approach represents a new spin on the science. For a biotech company, Seattle-based Immusoft started with a decidedly different pedigree. With a background in computer sciences rather than chemistry or biology, Matthew Scholz, the company’s founder and CEO, conceived an idea to fight disease by modifying information in human immune cells…