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July 28, 2022 Bioscience

Yale spinout Modifi Bio announces seed funding 

PHOTO | CONTRIBUTED Modifi Biosciences founders, from left: Kingson Lin, Soros Fellow at Yale University; Kevin Rakin, partner at HighCape Capital; Seth Herzon, Milton Harris Professor of chemistry and pharmacology at Yale University; Dr. Ranjit Bindra, Harvey and Kate Cushing Professor and Yale Brain Tumor Center co-director at Yale Medical School.

Modifi Biosciences, a startup New Haven biotech that focuses on curing brain cancers, announced Thursday it had closed a $6.4 million seed round and published a key study validating its platform. 

A Yale spinout, the company’s investors include HighCape Capital, Connecticut Innovations, Ironwood Capital, Yale Ventures and the Brain Tumor Investment Fund, an affiliate of the National Brain Tumor Society.

Modifi is based in New Haven and has offices and labs at the Elm City Bioscience Center at 55 Church St. Other tenants in the 113,000-square-foot building include Alphina Therapeutics and Siduma Therapeutics, led by Arvinas founder Craig Crews.

The journal Science published a study Thursday on Modifi’s oncology platform, which is based on new classes of molecules that exploit tumor-associated DNA repair defects through direct cancer-cell DNA modification. The company’s approach is targeted at the deadly fast-growing brain cancers classified as gliomas, which begin in the glial cells that surround nerve cells. 

Modifi’s drugs were found to be active and selective against cancer cells that lack expression of a key DNA repair protein called MGMT. About half of all glioblastomas and up to 80% of gliomas lack MGMT. 

MGMT deficiency is seen in many other tumor types, according to new research, and Modifi’s strategy may be widely applicable in treating other cancers. 

Modifi Bio Co-Founder Dr. Ranjit Bindra said, “Our discovery represents a major step forward in changing the treatment paradigm for this devastating disease, as well as for many other cancers with intrinsic DNA repair defects.”

Modifi drugs are designed to be available orally and possess properties that should allow researchers to file with the FDA and start Phase I clinical trials in 2024, the company said in a statement.

Dr. Roger Stupp, a Northwestern University professor and member of the Modifi Bio Scientific Advisory Board, said, “Novel treatments for these types of brain cancer are urgently needed. I am enthusiastic that this paradigm-shifting discovery may lead to the first clinically meaningful pharmacological advances in the treatment of glioma in over two decades.”

Contact Liese Klein at

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