YC Bio is the biotechnology and life science arm of the Y Combinator (YC) incubator. YC has invested in biotechnology companies since 2014, but launched YC Bio in June 2018 to focus on providing the additional guidance that is often needed for biotechnology companies, such as aiding portfolio companies with procuring clinical trial sites or obtaining patents for therapies or medical devices. YC Bio's main focus is on companies working on technologies and products that help improve lifespan and aging related diseases.
YC Bio supports early-stage biotechnology companies that are usually at the point of development where they are completing initial university research for their technology and are ready to move into the lab phase of development. YC Bio typically offers $500k to $1 million in funding in exchange for 10-20% company ownership. Companies supported by YC Bio gain 12 months of access to lab and co-working space at Bonneville Labs in Berkeley, California, and support from the Buck Institute for Research on Ageing. There are also visiting partners at YC Bio that have extensive backgrounds in the field of biotechnology so that portfolio companies can utilize the partners' expertise while developing their own company.
The accelerator has invested in companies that have designed and manufactured products such as a point-of-care blood diagnostic device and a medical device for benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). Other companies have developed therapies for neurological conditions and developed technology for engineering new organisms.
Shasqi was the first of YC Bio's individual investments to have a drug enter in-human clinical trials. The drug is a novel therapy for cancer that allows chemotherapy drugs to be delivered more precisely to the tumor. Shasqi was funded at the beginning of YC Bio's program.
In a post to Hacker News on September 16, 2019, in answer to a question about YC Bio, it was revealed that Y Combinator decided against breaking bio funding out separately. This included a return in the investment structure to something closer to software investment structure, although with an emphasis on the intent of YC Bio remaining in Y Combinator's overall investment structure. The examples of Gingko Bioworks and a later investment in Asher Bio which were both successful investments in the consideration of Y Combinator and were done on an investment structure similar to the software investment structure.
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- Investment fundInvestments funds are a collective pools of capital from multiple investors used to purchase securities and other assets.
- BiotechnologyBiotechnology can refer to the application of science and technology to living organisms or the use of living organisms, their parts, products or models thereof to solve a problem, produce knowledge or produce goods and services. Biotechnology may involve the alteration of living or non-living materials.