Biotech company Modulo Bio announced it has raised $8 million in funding from Initialized Capital, Cantos, Bioverge, Spacecadet, Builders VC, Refactor Capital, and Hawktail. The company also came out of stealth recently with a funding round that the company will use to bring new hope to millions of patients suffering from debilitating neurodegenerative diseases. Specifically, the company launched to map the neuroimmune system and develop treatments for neurodegenerative diseases, starting with ALS and FTD.
In the past few years, inflections in technology and neurosciences have sparked renewed interest in unlocking the mysteries of the brain’s immune system. And Modulo stands out for its focus on microglia—cells that can either protect and repair damaged or diseased neurons, or contribute to further degeneration.
The company’s Modulo Neuroimmune Platform integrates software, automation, and AI alongside the latest advances in stem cell biology and neuroscience to pioneer new treatments. And its research starts with patients, leveraging stem cell technology to generate brain cells from patients with different diseases, and culminates in an AI-generated neuroimmune fingerprint of disease.
Alongside CEO Michael Horowitz, Modulo is led by Scott Patterson, seasoned technologist and previously Vice President of Engineering at Counsyl, and Justin Ichida, PhD, Professor at USC, and a leader in modeling ALS and FTD using patient-derived cells. And Modulo’s full-stack team includes cell biologists, neuroscientists, immunologists, and computational and drug development experts.
Modulo already identified novel microglia targets and generated candidates that offer the promise of effective treatments for diseases like Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) and Frontotemporal Dementia (FTD). Beyond developing treatments that dramatically improve the patient outlook, the company’s broader vision is to map the entire neuroimmune system to create a better understanding of how neurodegenerative diseases are interrelated.
“I first encountered FTD when my best friend’s mother developed the disease, and we watched it steal her dignity, independence, and personality. That experience, and the looming possibility that my friend might also develop the disease, motivates me every day.”
— Modulo CEO Michael Horowitz
“We invest in founding teams obsessed with disrupting stagnant, large and meaningful industries. In Modulo, we found a team relentlessly focused on modeling and reprogramming the neuroimmune system—and we believe their tenacity and experience will revolutionize the approach to drug development in neuroscience.”
— Alda Leu Dennis, General Partner at Initialized Capital
“We believe reprogramming microglia is one of the best strategies in the fight against neurodegenerative disease. By identifying targets on the microglia that reprogram them into protective states, we leverage the natural, evolutionary function of the neuroimmune system to protect and repair neurons.”
— Scientific Founder Dr. Ichida
“Our inspiration comes from the technical inflections in stem cell engineering and AI that now enable us to construct intricate cellular models of the neuroimmune system. We use AI to create multi-layered maps of cellular systems, and accurately predict the effects of genetic mutations, drugs, and their combinations on cells like microglia. By embracing the complexity of the neuroimmune system, we can discover drugs that make an impact across neurodegenerative diseases.”
— Modulo CTO Scott Patterson