Senti Biosciences

Senti Biosciences

A synthetic biology company that designs, builds and tests genetic circuits for the purposes programming cell therapies. Their first therapeutic candidates are aimed at solid tumors and blood cancer and the company plans to move beyond oncology.

Senti Biosciences is a synthetic biology company headquartered in South San Francisco, California and was founded in 2016 by Jim Collins, Philip Lee, Tim Lu, and Wilson Wong.

Senti has a proprietary synthetic biology platform for development of therapeutics. The company uses genetic circuits to program cell therapies so that they have localized action, sensors, dynamic responses and safety control. Senti has a design platform for synthetic gene circuits for fast design, building and testing of therapeutic circuits.

The company aims to make gene therapies more adaptive and able to respond dynamically to disease conditions. Senti’s technology platform aims to allow cellular therapies to be controlled after they are administered and respond in a multifactorial way depending on the disease state and desired outcome.

Senti is developing T cell immunotherapies that target cancer using chimeric antigen receptors (CARs). One of their therapies in development is called the "split universal, and programmable" (SUPRA) CAR-T system. The SUPRA CAR system allows T cells to switch targets without re-engineering them and T cell activation can be fine tuned as well as sense and logically respond to multiple antigens. These characteristics may help these CAR-T cells to respond to relapse, mitigate over-activation and make the therapy more specific.

Usually CARs are expressed as full-length fusion proteins composed of ligand-binding, transmembrane and signaling domains. SUPRA CAR systems have two components, a zipCAR and a zipFv fragment. The zipCAR has intracellular signaling domains connected by a transmembrane segment to an extracellular domain that has a protein structural motif called a leucine zipper. The zipFv has a ligand-binding scFv domain fused to a second leucine zipper. Engineered T-cells that express zipCARs are not functional until zipFv proteins are added that have matching leucine zippers. Functional CAR reconstitution can be inhibited by adding a competing zipFv that dimerizes with the first zipFv.

The system makes the cellular therapy capable of Boolean-logic signal integration such as OR-gate and A-and-not-B signal by adding different zipFv sequences. Antigen specificity and binding affinity of the CAR is determined by externally added zipFv sequences. In principle the system could allow a generic or off-the-shelf zipCAR-T cell product, where the antigen specificity can be altered during the treatment course.

In their 2018 Cell publication about the SUPRA CAR system, authored by Cho, Collins and Wong, human transcription factors were used to derive leucine zipper domains for SUPRA CAR-T cell control of tumor growth in mouse models.

Co-founder and CEO Dr. Tim Lu, (M.D.,Ph.D.) is an Associate Professor at MIT in Biological Engineering, Electrical Engineering and Computer Science and co-founder of Synlogic, Tango Therapeutics, Sample6, Eligo BiomX and Engine Biosciences. In Fall 2018, Gary Lee, Ph.D., previously with Sangamo Therapeutics, joined Senti as Chief Scientific Officer. Senti’s Chief Financial Officer Curt Herberts also comes from Sangamo.

Series A

On February 27, 2018 Senti Biosciences completed their series A funding round with $53 million in funding from New Enterprise Associates (lead investor), 8VC, Amgen Ventures, Pear Ventures, Lux Capital, Menlo Ventures, Allen & Company, Nest.Bio, Omega Funds, Goodman Capital, and LifeForce Capital.


January 2021
Senti Biosciences raises a $105,000,000 series B round from Intel Capital Diversity Fund, Mirae Asset Capital, Amgen Ventures, Lux Capital, 8VC, Ridgeback Capital, Leaps by Bayer and Matrix Partners China III, L.P..
Senti Biosciences was founded by Philip Lee, Wilson Wong, Jim Collins and Tim Lu.

Funding rounds

Funding round
Funding type
Funding round amount (USD)
Funding round date
Senti Biosciences funding round, February 2018
February 2018
2 Results
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Gary Lee, Ph.D.​

Chief Scientific Officer

Philip Lee, Ph.D.

Co-Founder, COO

Curt Herberts, M.B.S.

Chief Financial Officer and Chief Business Officer

Jim Collins, Ph.D.

Scientific Co-Founder

Tim Lu, M.D., Ph.D.

Co-Founder, CEO

Wilson Wong, Ph.D.

Scientific Co-Founder

Further reading


Documentaries, videos and podcasts





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