Introducing Portal Biotechnologies

PR newswire • Press Release

CAMBRIDGE, Mass.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Portal Biotechnologies, Inc., a cell engineering platform company, announced its emergence from stealth today. Established in 2023, Portal is implementing a simplified approach to intracellular delivery, focused on accelerating advances in RNA, gene editing, and AI-driven discovery technologies. The company is committed to ensuring broad accessibility of its platform to enable research and therapeutic applications. Portal was founded by Armon Sharei, PhD., founder and former CEO of SQZ Biotechnologies. Portal’s initial product suite is based on next generation mechanical delivery technology capable of delivering many different types of cargo to a broad range of cell types. The process relies on transient perturbation of a cell’s membrane as it transits through microscopic holes in a thin, specially designed, silicon surface. This simple approach has been shown to enable delivery of a variety of molecules into cells, including siRNA, mRNA, polypeptides and CRISPR RNP complexes, both individually and simultaneously, for multiplexed cell function modification.

“Cells are the biological machines that underpin life. If we can learn to understand their intricate functions and engineer them effectively - it will unleash a world of therapeutic possibilities,” said Armon Sharei, Ph.D., Founder and CEO of Portal. “While the field has taken great strides in developing sophisticated molecular strategies to study and alter cell function, many of these technologies have only realized a fraction of their potential due to delivery constraints. Providing seamless access to the intracellular space is critical to both understanding disease biology and therapeutic manipulation of cell function. By implementing a robust, scalable solution that focuses on the needs of emerging drug modalities, Portal seeks to catalyze the next era of drug discovery and cellular therapeutics.”

Portal currently has ongoing partnerships with multiple pharmaceutical companies and prominent academic institutions as part of its beta program for early adopters. The focus of these partnerships ranges from generation of multifunctional cell therapies at point-of-care, to high throughput assessment of intracellular target engagement by small molecule and peptide drug candidates. The inherent compatibility and ease of integrating Portal's technology with existing equipment has been a critical driver of this rapid early adoption across applications. Under the ‘Powered by Portal’ model, the company is integrating its single-use cartridges with existing high throughput robots and clinical manufacturing equipment.

“As an engineer, one of the very exciting aspects of our technology is its ability to integrate into existing automated workflows and clinical-scale equipment as part of an ‘intel-inside’ approach,” said Alec Barclay, COO of Portal. “This enables our partners to leverage existing research and manufacturing infrastructure while dramatically expanding their capabilities. Our ongoing collaborations with major suppliers of clinical-scale cell therapy equipment should help further accelerate this trend.”

Beyond Portal’s initial focus on supplying enabling technology for wide ranging research and clinical applications, in the future the company aims to develop a suite of cell modification modules. 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, a cell and gene therapy accelerator co-located with the Bayer Research and Innovation Center (BRIC) in Kendall Square. Portal is also affiliated with the Roche Accelerator.

About Portal Biotechnologies:

Portal is a cell engineering platform company focused on enabling next generation cell engineering and cell analytics across research and clinical applications. The company is implementing a simplified approach to intracellular delivery, focused on accelerating advances enabled by the new generation of RNA, gene editing, and AI-driven technologies. Portal’s initial product suite is based on a proprietary mechanical delivery system capable of delivering many different types of cargo to a broad range of cell types. The technology's ability to be used stand-alone or as an integrated component of third-party systems provides a significant opportunity to broadly impact the fields of biological research and cellular therapeutics.