Kainomyx — Antimalarial Drug (2021)

Open Philanthropy recommended an investment of $4,000,000 in Kainomyx to develop and produce new drugs to treat malaria and other parasitic diseases, such as cryptosporidiosis and toxoplasmosis. If effective, the new drugs would act by inhibiting cytoskeletal proteins in malarial and other parasites. Our science team believes that there is a need for new antimalarial drugs due to increasing resistance to existing treatments.

This follows our May 2020 investment and falls within our work on scientific research, specifically within our interest in advancing human health and wellbeing.

OliLux Biosciences — Rapid Tuberculosis Detection and Treatment Management Tools


Grant investigators: Heather Youngs and Chris Somerville

This page was reviewed but not written by the grant investigators. OliLux Biosciences staff also reviewed this page prior to publication.


Open Philanthropy recommended an investment of $400,000 in OliLux Biosciences to support the development of diagnostic and treatment monitoring tools for the detection and management of tuberculosis. The tools rapidly distinguish between active and inactive tuberculosis pathogens, have lower detection limits than existing detection methods, will be accessible in low-resource settings, and are expected to be useful in identification of drug resistance and sensitivity.

This falls within our work on scientific research, specifically within our interest in advancing human health and wellbeing.

VasoRX — Atherosclerosis and Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension Therapy


Grant investigators: Heather Youngs and Chris Somerville

This page was reviewed but not written by the grant investigators. VasoRX staff also reviewed this page prior to publication.


Open Philanthropy recommended an investment of $5,550,000 in VasoRX to continue work testing a new therapy for vascular diseases such as atherosclerosis and pulmonary arterial hypertension. This seed-stage investment is intended to support additional research and development in the hopes that VasoRX can subsequently raise additional funds from other investors to conduct a clinical trial of the therapy in humans.

This follows our April 2018 support and falls within our work on scientific research, specifically within our interest in advancing human health and wellbeing.

Binx — COVID-19 Testing Platform


Grant investigators: Heather Youngs and Chris Somerville

This page was reviewed but not written by the grant investigators. Binx staff also reviewed this page prior to publication.


Open Philanthropy recommended an investment of $2,000,000 in Binx to support work to incorporate Sherlock Biosciences’s COVID-19 assay into Binx’s point-of-care diagnostic platform. This funding is intended to support work to obtain Emergency Use Authorization approval of the Binx-Sherlock Biosciences COVID-19 testing platform.

This falls within our work on scientific research, specifically within our interest in advancing science supporting biosecurity and pandemic preparedness.

Icosavax — COVID-19 Vaccine Development


Grant investigators: Chris Somerville and Heather Youngs

This page was reviewed but not written by the grant investigators. Icosavax staff also reviewed this page prior to publication.


Open Philanthropy recommended an investment of $6,500,000 in Icosavax to support the development of their virus-like-particle vaccine platform, including a new COVID-19 vaccine. Compared with other vaccines in development, Icosavax’s vaccine may more effectively protect those with weakened immune responses against COVID-19. If the vaccine is found to be effective, our science team believes that the use of of Icosavax’s virus-like-particle technology may be valuable in the development of vaccines for other viral diseases with pandemic potential. Icosavax was founded by Open Philanthropy grantees David Baker and Neil King.

This falls within our work on scientific research, specifically within our interest in science supporting biosecurity and pandemic preparedness.

Riboscience — COVID-19 Drug Research


Grant investigators: Chris Somerville and Heather Youngs

This page was reviewed but not written by the grant investigators. Riboscience staff also reviewed this page prior to publication.


Open Philanthropy recommended an investment of $210,000 in Riboscience to support work to test a new drug candidate against COVID-19.

This falls within our work on scientific research, specifically within our interest in advancing science supporting biosecurity and pandemic preparedness.

VST Bio — Stroke Treatment


Grant investigators: Chris Somerville and Heather Youngs

This page was reviewed but not written by the grant investigators. VST Bio staff also reviewed this page prior to publication.


Open Philanthropy recommended an investment of $4,500,000 in VST Bio to develop a novel treatment for stroke and traumatic brain disease. Stroke is the second most common cause of death worldwide and the third most common cause of disability. Currently, there are no drugs that reduce the brain damage caused by acute stroke. Following our March 2019 support to Yale University, researchers developed antibodies that significantly reduce the brain damage caused by stroke in mice. This seed-stage investment is intended to support additional research and development in the hopes that VST Bio can subsequently raise additional funds from other investors to conduct a clinical trial of the treatment in humans.

This falls within our work on scientific research, specifically within our interest in advancing human health and wellbeing.

The investment amount was updated in April 2022.

Kainomyx — Antimalarial Drug (2019)


Grant investigators: Chris Somerville and Heather Youngs

This page was reviewed but not written by the grant investigators. Kainomyx staff also reviewed this page prior to publication.


Open Philanthropy recommended an investment of $1,999,999 in Kainomyx to develop and produce a new antimalarial drug. If effective, the new drug would act by inhibiting cytoskeletal proteins in malarial parasites. Our science team believes that there is a need for new antimalarial drugs due to increasing artemisinin resistance to existing treatments.

This falls within our work on scientific research, specifically within our interest in advancing human health and wellbeing.

Sherlock Biosciences — Research on Viral Diagnostics

Sherlock Biosciences co-founder Feng Zhang was a co-discoverer of CRISPR. (Photo courtesy Sherlock Biosciences)

Grant Investigators: Chris Somerville and Heather Youngs

This page was reviewed but not written by the grant investigators. Sherlock Biosciences staff also reviewed this page prior to publication.

The Open Philanthropy Project recommended a grant of up to $17,500,000 over five years and an additional investment in Sherlock Biosciences to support the development of a diagnostic platform to quickly, easily, and inexpensively identify any human virus present in a patient sample. Development of this technology would represent a significant advance in viral diagnosis, and could both reduce threats from viral pandemics and also benefit health care broadly. Sherlock recently spun out of Harvard University’s Wyss Institute and the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard.

This falls within our work on scientific research, and specifically within our interest in advancing science supporting biosecurity and pandemic preparedness.

EicOsis Human Health, Inc. — Pain Research

Grant Investigators: Chris Somerville and Heather Youngs

This page was reviewed but not written by the grant investigators. EicOsis staff also reviewed this page prior to publication.

The Open Philanthropy Project recommended an investment of $5,000,000 in EicOsis to support clinical trials on a novel, non-opioid, oral therapy for neuropathic and inflammatory pain. Chronic pain affects as many as 100 million people in the U.S. alone, and total costs for treating pain have been estimated to be as high as $635 billion annually.Source: Relieving Pain in America: A Blueprint for Transforming Prevention, Care, Education, and Research We believe alternate therapies for chronic pain could help address the epidemic of opioid abuse and addiction. EicOsis previously received Blueprint funding for neuroscience research from the National Institutes of Health. This seed-stage investment is intended to support continued early research and development in the hopes that EicOsis can subsequently raise additional funds from other investors.

This falls within our work on scientific research, and specifically within our interest in advancing human health and wellbeing.