Alex Critch AVG Podcasts June 11, 2020

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June 11, 2020 | Alex Critch

Sometimes, the biggest breakthroughs happen purely by accident. This was the case for Dr. Armon Sharei, who, while working on his PhD in chemical engineering at MIT, discovered a unique method that could change the field of cell-based therapeutics as we know it.

It was 2008 and Sharei was part of a team that was trying to find more efficient methods to transfer therapeutic compounds into cells. While investigating the team’s initial mechanism, he stumbled upon a new method, one that has landed him nearly 10 patents since. In 2013, Dr. Sharei founded SQZ Biotech, alongside MIT’s head of chemical engineering Klavs Jensen and serial entrepreneur Robert Langer, to bring this technology to market. He went on to be named to both Inc. and Forbes’ 2016 “30 Under 30” lists.

Alumni Ventures Group has participated in multiple rounds of funding for SQZ, most recently their 2019 Series D round. Our participation was led by Strawberry Creek Ventures, and included sibling funds Towerview Ventures, Triphammer Ventures, the AVG Social Impact Fund, and the AVG Total Access Fund. Strawberry Creek learned of SQZ through Professor Robert Langer. Fellow Berkeley alumnus Jonathan Fleming, Chairman of EnClear Therapies, is on the Board of SQZ.

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