Early-stage investment firm the IP Group, a U.K. company whose U.S. subsidiary is headquartered in Wilmington, was a participating investor in the recent aMoon-led $35 million Series B with the Chadds Ford-based biotech company MOBILion.
MOBILion creates instruments using a new technology called Structures for Lossless Ion Manipulation (SLIM) that analyses and detects molecules that help predict, diagnose and treat disease, including COVID-19.
The company is more connected to the IP Group — and Wilmington — than a participating investor/investee relationship. Its CEO, Dr. Melissa Sherman, was one of the original members of the IP Group team when the Wilmington subsidiary first launched in 2014.
“IP Group’s business model is scouting disruptive technology from preeminent research institutes to make investments that ultimately form a portfolio of a company,” Sherman told Technical.ly. She found the technology behind MOBILion at a federal lab in Washington state, and it became one of her investments at the stage of licensing the technology.
“What IP Group does is, as an investor, our team members go to research institutes to scout early-stage tech to finance,” Sherman said. “We, as [scouts] walk around the hallways of universities looking for investment opportunities that we could provide the early seed financing to.” The IP Group then creates companies based on tech that they found and licensed from these universities and federal labs.
Sherman founded MOBILion while working for IP Group and left the firm to become its full-time CEO.
While MOBILion moved just across the Pennsylvania border to Chadds Ford, Sherman says its proximity to Wilmington was intentional.
“We’re a believer in the mid-Atlantic and Wilmington,” she said. “A lot of people said [IP Group] should be in Boston or the Bay Area. We decided to headquarter it here so that we could leverage talent from Philly-based and Delaware-based companies. There’s a lot of engineering talent and scientific talent, given Siemens and Gore and DuPont and a lot of pharmaceutical companies in the region.”
MOBILion’s first patented product uses SLIM, which is currently being used in glycan analysis of COVID-19, helping researchers understanding of how the virus binds to its target, insights that aid in the development of an effective treatment. A $15.4 million Series A, led by Agilent Technologies, was used to redesign the product to make it suitable commercial use, and with the Series B, MOBILion will commercialize it and plans to release it in 2021.-30-
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