In November, Harvard wrapped up the construction of its new Life Lab. Similar to the school’s existing iLab, the new incubator is specifically focused on supporting startups working in the life sciences, pharmaceuticals and biotech industries. In addition to co-working space, the Life Lab also provides a wet lab environment, programming and a mentor network able to best serve startups in the sciences.

For its first cohort, Harvard selected 17 ventures led by students, faculty, postdocs and alumni. The startups were picked based on elements like their stage of development, science and potential impact. Here are the teams that comprise the Life Lab’s inaugural class, as well as descriptions of what they’re developing.


Akous is focused on hearing impairments. It’s working on new therapies and delivery systems that would both prevent hearing loss and restore it among particular patient populations.

Aldatu Biosciences

Aldatu is developing an economically friendly HIV drug resistance genotyping test. Its product will help guide clinical decision-making, especially in environments with limited resources.

Beacon Genomics

This startup is “focused on enabling safe and effective therapeutic applications of genome editing nucleases by defining and optimizing genome-wide specificity,” according to the Life Lab.


BiomaRX has its sights set on a non-invasive way to diagnose pancreatic cancer in its early stages.

change:WATER Labs, Inc.

change:WATER Labs is developing solutions to significantly reduce the volumes of off-grid residential, commercial and industrial wastewater. Its first product will be “a portable, evaporative toilet for homes with no power or plumbing.”

DayZero Diagnostics

DayZero is leveraging genome sequencing and algorithms to help physicians identify pathogen species and predict drug resistance. Within hours, they’ll know exactly which antibiotics would be most effective in treating individual patients.


Gel4Med wants to refine regenerative medicine. The startup is concentrating on improving the design and engineering of smart biomaterials in such a way that they’ll amplify the human body’s ability to heal.

GRO Biosciences (GRObio)

GRO Biosciences is developing therapeutic proteins with “new stabilizing bonds to enable inexpensive microbial fermentation, fast production times, and long serum half-life.”


Nix is focused on a new wearable intended for running single-use diagnostics. For now, it’s working on giving people like professional athletes and soldiers feedback on their personal hydration levels.


PathoVax is filling in the gaps left by current HPV vaccines. The venture has made RGVax, a vaccine that targets all cancer-causing strains of HPV that others haven’t addressed.

Piper Therapeutics

Piper Therapeutics is working on a way to modify immune system signaling with the intent of preventing the development of macrophages on tumors.

Riparian Pharmaceuticals

Riparian is exploring therapeutics that would modify the biology within blood vessel walls to help with cardiovascular, diabetic and kidney diseases.

Suono Bio

Suono Bio is concentrating on tech that would let therapeutics be delivered quickly across biological tissues (i.e. the gastrointestinal tract).


The Harvard Life Lab wrote, “UnNamed’s technologies enable living cells to sense and respond to chemicals. This is done by engineering proteins to become dependent on binding to a target molecule, allowing for the generation of novel biosensors that can be used for optimizing bioproduction of useful chemicals, environmental toxin detection, or drug discovery.”

UrSure Inc.

UrSure Inc. is working on a way to increase adherence to the HIV preventive medication, PrEP, by making easy-to-use urine tests that enable physicians to track patient compliance to the drug.

Vaxess Technologies, Inc.

Vaxess is using silk to revamp how doctors administer vaccines. It’s tech would create vaccines that can withstand high temperatures and are delivered in new ways, such as through oral films and sustained release micro-needles.


This venture is working on “DNA sequencing technologies, with the goal of accelerating the path towards personalized medicine,” Harvard wrote.

Photo credit.