Six new companies in two years...

CadheRx Therapeutics, one of the three new companies announced today, will focus on developing antibodies for oncology like that one pictured above which shows monoclon antibodies as therapeutic agents. Photo credit here. 

CadheRx Therapeutics, one of the three new companies announced today, will focus on developing antibodies for oncology like that one pictured above which shows monoclon antibodies as therapeutic agents. Photo credit here

...That’s what happens when pharma and venture capitalists work together.

The way pharmaceutical companies find new drugs is changing. Collaboration with universities, biotechs and venture capital firms is key to bringing new innovative medicines to patients. 

Today we announced that we have launched three new companies as part of an ongoing collaboration with venture capital firm Avalon Ventures to fund and launch up to 10 early-stage life sciences companies. That brings the total to six new companies in two years.

The new companies include:

  • Adrenergics, Inc.   ̶  focused on developing therapeutics for dilated cardiomyopathy (enlarged heart)
  • CadheRx Therapeutics, Inc.  ̶  focused on developing  antibodies for oncology
  • Calporta Therapeutics, Inc. – focused on developing treatments associated with dysregulated lysosomal function (such as Niemann-Pick C Disease)

These three companies will be located at COI Pharmaceuticals in San Diego, which was established by Avalon Ventures to provide operational support, a fully equipped R&D facility and an experienced leadership team for each company. 

The first three companies launched through this collaboration are also based at COI Pharmaceuticals:

  • Sitari Pharmaceuticals is developing treatments multiple disease indications, with an initial focus in celiac disease
  • Silarus Therapeutics is developing treatments for anemia and iron overload disorders
  • Thyritope Biosciences is developing therapies for Graves’ orbitopathy (bulging of the eyes associated with Graves’ hyperthyroidism). 

The collaboration between Avalon Ventures and GSK was established in April 2013 and will provide up to $495 million to fund up to 10 new companies through preclinical proof of concept. GSK has the option to acquire each of the companies upon the identification of a potential new medicine.

It’s no secret that most early-stage drug programs fail. So while investing in early-stage research is risky, just one success could make all the difference to patients awaiting new treatments.