Creating Next Generation Smart Cell Therapies: Outpace Bio Receives $30 Million in Series A Funding Led by ARTIS Ventures and Lyell Immunopharma Inc.

Outpace seeks to dramatically improve the efficacy and safety of cell and gene therapies; announces collaboration with Lyell

Seattle, WA, March 31, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Outpace Bio, a biotechnology company building a platform to create next-generation smart cell therapies, today announced the closing of a $30 million Series A financing round. The oversubscribed financing was led by ARTIS Ventures and Lyell Immunopharma, Inc., with additional participation from Abstract Ventures, Civilization Ventures, Mubadala Capital (the asset management arm of Mubadala Investment Company), Playground Global, Sahsen Ventures, and WRF Capital. Funding will be used to demonstrate proof of principle for Outpace’s platform. In addition to closing the financing round, Outpace has entered into a collaboration with Lyell Immunopharma for joint research and subsequent development and commercialization by Lyell of a potential immune cell therapy for the treatment of cancer.

Creating next-generation smart cell therapies 

Certain diseases have remained incurable despite decades of effort because they are too complex for any single molecule to solve. Outpace is building a platform to improve the safety and efficacy of cell and gene-based therapies. 

“Diseases like cancer and autoimmunity happen when cells default to the wrong decisions. A biological activity that is beneficial in one context can drive dysfunction or toxicity in another. Outpace is working to overcome this by reprogramming cells to make the right decisions in the right context,” said Marc Lajoie, CEO and co-founder of Outpace. “We believe that cures will require the full power of cells to intervene in complex biology in ways that small molecule drugs and biologics cannot.”

Just as custom-designed software and hardware have enabled modern smartphones to revolutionize how people interact with information, Outpace custom-designs biological software and hardware to revolutionize how cells interact with disease. Outpace’s built-for-purpose proteins unlock biological functions that off-the-shelf parts cannot. Initial proof points are focused on creating highly functional, ultra-specific T cell therapies that will be effective against solid tumors, while also laying the groundwork to solve similar problems across the cell and gene therapy field.

“Outpace creates a unique opportunity to drive efficacy in cell and gene therapies without compromising on safety. The way to do that is by engineering new biology that can't be achieved by repurposing nature - custom-designed proteins provide a unique opportunity to address specific therapeutic needs,” said Vasudev Bailey, PhD, senior partner at ARTIS Ventures. “We believe the Outpace team has the knowledge and passion to revolutionize this field in close collaboration with other pharma and biotech leaders.”  

Outpace and Lyell to supercharge anticancer T cell therapies 

Under the collaboration agreement, Outpace and Lyell will use Outpace’s technologies in an effort to unlock the biology of a cytokine that the companies believe has the potential to dramatically improve efficacy in treating patients with cancer, but would require careful control to avoid systemic toxicity.

“Outpace’s technology holds promise to enable the efficacy of this cytokine without the toxicity,” said Rick Klausner, founder and executive chairman of Lyell. “Outpace’s approach is unique in its ability to directly modulate this biology, and we look forward to working with them.”  

The collaboration enables Outpace to combine its mechanism-driven approach to reprogramming biological function with Lyell’s translation expertise and deep mechanistic understanding of biology. Outpace plans to forge additional partnerships with other industry leaders to bring cell and gene therapies to the clinic, leveraging its platform to accelerate the development of new cures.  

About Outpace Bio

Outpace Bio was founded by Lyell co-founders Marc Lajoie and Scott Boyken, along with a scientific team that spun out of Lyell Immunopharma. For the past two years the team has worked together to solve long-standing problems facing anticancer T cell therapies. Outpace is now expanding beyond T cells to bring its unique technology to the rest of the cell and gene therapy field. With roots from David Baker’s Lab at the University of Washington, the team is applying groundbreaking protein design to reprogram how cells function and make decisions. 

Outpace is creating next generation smart cell therapies using protein design and synthetic biology. Outpace collaborates with industry leaders, incorporating their biological insights and clinical expertise to create mechanism-driven solutions that dramatically improve the safety and efficacy of cell and gene therapies. Outpace’s versatile platform combines the design of improved biological functions with powerful cellular control modalities, harnessing the full complexity of cellular biology to tackle incurable disease. For more information visit and follow on Twitter @OutpaceBio.

About ARTIS Ventures

ARTIS Ventures (AV) partners with entrepreneurs who are driven to impact the world by reshaping and reinventing industries. The team supports its portfolio companies through their entire life-cycle, from initial venture investment to public offering and beyond. As an early leader in the emerging TechBio sector, ARTIS Ventures funds companies at the intersection of computer science and life science, applying engineering principles and data-enabled discovery to the healthcare space. Notable companies the firm has backed include Stemcentrx, Palantir, YouTube, Freenome, Eko, Astra, Cohesity, Modern Meadow, Excision BioTherapeutics, Locus Biosciences, Cerebral, and more. For more information visit or email


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