MIT spinout Portal gets $25M Series B to develop needle-free, biologics drug delivery system

Large molecule biologics aren't easy, convenient or painless for patients to administer since typically they require injections. Portal Instruments hopes to provide an alternative for patients, particularly those with chronic diseases who consistently require these injections. It's developing a computerized, needle-free drug delivery system for injectable biologics.

To back its aims, Portal has secured a $25 million Series B round from venture investors led by 5AM Ventures. Of that, it's getting an initial investment of $10 million, with an additional $15 million that's attached to undisclosed milestones.

The Cambridge, MA-based startup remains a bit opaque about the details of its technology. It says only that the injection mechanism is designed to work "with minimal sensation" and across a variety of drugs regardless of their viscosity or composition.

Portal Instruments CEO Patrick Anquetil

"Portal Instruments is transforming the patient experience for the delivery of injectable biologics for chronic diseases," said Portal CEO Patrick Anquetil in a statement. "Administering high viscosity, high concentration biologics is a challenge for the biopharma industry as the drugs have to be needle-injected subcutaneously, which is a slow and painful experience for patients."

He continued, "Drug adherence is a huge problem in chronic diseases and needle-related safety concerns are real. The Portal device offers a transformed patient experience. The injection is needle-free, fast, with shorter injection duration and sensation for the patient. The device is easy to use and digital health features empower the patient to holistically manage their chronic condition and improve their adherence."

The startup was founded by Massachusetts Institute of Technology engineering professor Ian Hunter. It has exclusively licensed underlying intellectual property from the university, where a prototype was also created. The delivery system is expected to be useful across several medical, animal, agricultural and cosmetic applications.

"Portal's breakthrough drug delivery system has the potential to address the administration of high-concentration, viscous biologics in a safe, accurate manner that can significantly improve the patient experience," said 5AM Venture Partner Jim Young.

He will join the Portal board as part of this financing, which also included undisclosed private and strategic investors in addition to Sanofi Sunrise, a recent R&D investment initiative from the biopharma.

- here is the announcement