Portal Biotechnologies: Cell Engineering Platform Company Raises $5 Million

By Amit Chowdhry • Mar 20, 2024

Cell engineering platform company Portal Biotechnologies announced a $5 million pre-seed round led by Pear VC, with participation from Conscience VC and 10x Capital. Armon Sharei, Ph.D., the founder and former CEO of SQZ Biotechnologies, founded Portal Biotechnologies.

Portal has been implementing a simplified approach to intracellular delivery, which emphasizes accelerating advances in RNA, gene editing, and AI-driven discovery. And Portal is focused on ensuring broad accessibility of its platform to enable various research and therapeutic applications.

The company’s initial product suite is based on next-gen mechanical delivery technology capable of delivering many different types of cargo into a wide range of cell types. This process relies on transient perturbation of a cell’s membrane as it transits through microscopic holes in a thin, specially designed silicon surface. This approach enabled the delivery of various molecules into cells, including siRNA, mRNA, polypeptides, antibodies, and CRISPR RNP complexes, individually and simultaneously, for multiplexed cell function modification.

Portal has continued expanding its ongoing partnerships with several large pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies and prominent academic institutions as part of its beta program for early adopters. The focus of these partnerships ranges from the generation of multifunctional cell therapies at point-of-care to high throughput assessment of intracellular target engagement by small molecule and peptide drug candidates. Under the ‘Powered by Portal’ model, the company has integrated its single-use cartridges with existing high throughput robots and clinical manufacturing equipment.

Beyond Portal’s initial focus in supplying enabling technology for research and clinical applications, the company is looking to develop a suite of cell modification modules. And these modules will contain various cell modifying cargoes that can impart specific functionality in a cell without altering the genome.

Portal is a member of the Bayer Co.Lab, which is a cell and gene therapy accelerator co-located with the Bayer Research and Innovation Center (BRIC) in Kendall Square. And Portal is also affiliated with the Roche Accelerator.


“Access to the intracellular space is a critical limitation across biological research, drug development, and cell therapy manufacturing. Thanks to the support of our early investors and partners, Portal is in a strong position to deploy its technology across applications. Our hope is that by providing robust modularized solutions across scales, we will enable novel biological insights, accelerate development of new generation small or large molecules, and streamline cell therapy design and manufacturing.”

– Armon Sharei, Ph.D., Founder and CEO of Portal

“We are very excited to join the Portal team and support their mission to solve one of the field’s major long-standing challenges. Through their platform focused business model, we hope to see broad impact across applications that could ultimately benefit many patients.”

– Eddie Eltoukhy, Partner and lead investor from Pear VC