Category Archives: Portfolio news

Soothing Chronic Pain: Quartet’s Debut
October 23, 2014

This blog was written by Kevin Pojasek, co-founder, President, and acting CEO of Quartet Medicine, as part of the “From the Trenches” feature of LifeSciVC.   Addressing unmet need in chronic pain In the mid-1990’s, the American Pain Society and the Veterans

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Cellular Immunotherapy & Unum Therapeutics: Out of Many, One
October 21, 2014

More exciting news has emerged from the immuno-oncology field over the past couple weeks from both Penn/Novartis and NCI/Kite.  The former released new CAR-T data, widely heralded as “unprecedented” in its efficacy: in a trial of relapsed, refractory ALL patients,

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Fueling Up To Attack Cancer: Two Big Startup Financings
October 14, 2014

Immuno-oncology, antibody-drug conjugates, and cancer metabolism are three of the hottest and potentially most transformative approaches in cancer research today, and have occupied center stage at recent oncology meetings like ASCO and AACR (here, here). The immuno-oncology (I/O) field has

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Synthetic Biology Meets The Microbiome: Synlogic
October 7, 2014

Today Synlogic announced that the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation joined the Series A financing to help power up its platform around developing therapeutic microbes (here).  Combining compelling elements of two exciting fields – engineering organisms with synthetic biology and

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Lessons From An IPO
July 22, 2014

Raising money is a huge part of being a CEO, but nothing can fully prepare you for the experience of taking your company public.   Together with our team at Zafgen, I recently had the experience of taking our company public

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Zafgen Supersizes Its Obesity-Focused IPO: An Early Investor’s Reflections
June 25, 2014

Last week we priced the IPO for Zafgen – embarking on a new phase for the company (here).  Upsized at the top of the range, the offering is a testimony to the great team and exciting story at Zafgen. In line

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A Tale of Disruptive Science, Irreproducibility, and Unanticipated Consequences
June 13, 2014

I’ve spent a significant amount of my career focused on the use of nucleic acids as therapeutic agents.  The ability of nucleic acids to act through exquisitely selective binding to other nucleic acids, proteins or other biologically active molecules provides

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Atlas’ IQ Just Got A Raise: Dave Grayzel
May 21, 2014

Today we’re excited to announce the addition of Dave Grayzel as a Partner on our life sciences team.  Dave has been a key contributor to our strategy since joining Atlas Venture in 2010 to lead our asset-centric, collaborative investing initiative

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Immuno-Oncology Startup CoStim Pharmaceuticals Acquired By Novartis
February 18, 2014

Today Novartis announced its acquisition of CoStim Pharmaceuticals, a young biotech company focused on next generation approaches in the exciting immuno-oncology field (here).  Their oncology capabilities and commitment to anti-cancer immune mechanisms made them an ideal partner for us at

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Zafgen Opens A New Front In Its Obesity Strategy: Prader-Willi Syndrome
January 15, 2014

Today Zafgen announced its initial results from proof-of-concept study in patients with an obesity-related orphan disease called Prader-Willi Syndrome (PWS). The news was also covered by Andrew Pollack in the NY Times this morning (here) so I won’t bother with

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The Arteaus Therapeutics Story: R&D Externalization with Eli Lilly
January 13, 2014

Today, we are excited to announce that we’ve successfully exited Arteaus Therapeutics to Eli Lilly (see announcement here, here).  It’s fair to say it’s been a superbly executed example of R&D externalization and a win–win for Lilly and Arteaus. Before

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Science Being Studied: Replication, Publication, And Resource Allocation
November 8, 2013

Scientific reproducibility hit mainstream this month with a feature article and editorial in The Economist; they highlight issues around the failure to replicate peer-reviewed research, academic biases found in science, use of scarce resources in national science budgets, and even share a primer in statistics

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On-Q-ity, a Cancer Diagnostic Company: R.I.P.
April 10, 2013

Not every deal is a winner, and unfortunately On-Q-ity wasn’t.  After a few years of hammering away at its diagnostic business case, the board decided to wind the company down back in November and we are just completing the sale

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Immunokinase Drug Candidates: $12B in Value Creation and Counting
March 13, 2013

Immunokinase-directed therapeutics have been one of the highest returning drug classes for biotech investors in recent years.  Drugs that inhibit the JAK family, BTK, Syk, and PI3Kd have all generated impressive clinical validation in B- and T-cell diseases, and created

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Avila Therapeutics Strikes A Covalent Corporate Bond With Celgene
January 26, 2012

Today Celgene announced the acquisition of Avila Therapeutics for $350M upfront and up to $575M in future milestones.  Congratulations to the Avila team!  For those of us involved in the story, we certainly think Celgene’s got itself a great deal.

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Corporate Pharma VCs: Preferred Partners, Big Funds
January 23, 2012

Corporate venture capital’s role in the new biotech ecosystem couldn’t be understated today.  They are a major syndicate partner for those of us in the early stage arena, and we couldn’t power up our startups without them. I’ve written on

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Shire & Atlas: Introducing Our New Strategic Alliance For Rare, Orphan Diseases
December 15, 2011

Today we announced a new strategic alliance with Shire Pharmaceutical’s to identify new opportunities for early stage venture creation aimed at addressing rare genetic diseases.  This collaboration brings unique expertise from Shire’s Human Genetic Therapies group together with our company creation

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Two (Micro) Reasons to be Excited About RNA Therapeutics
October 18, 2011

Like many technologies that move from hot discoveries on the cover of Nature to the practical ugly sausage-making of drug development, RNA-based therapeutics have been widely derided of late.  It seems everyone from Wall Street to Pharma to venture capital

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Structuring a Biotech Liquidity Thesis
May 25, 2011

We all recognize that realizing value from a biotech company has historically been geared to one of two paths, IPO or M&A, and that they’ve both been getting tougher.  There’s been a number of articles recently about some of the

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Monsanto & Atlas: Exploring “seeds” together
April 14, 2011

Today we announced a novel alliance with Monsanto to identify new life science technologies and explore the potential for creating/investing in new seed-stage startups around them.  It’s an exciting collaboration that brings a complementary set of interests, capabilities, and access

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Avila: “Bond, Covalent Bond”
April 1, 2011

Jus Singh doesn’t look much like James Bond, but he’s nearly as cool (see pic below). He’s the founder of Avila Therapeutics, a company we’ve backed that is focused on the discovery of targeted covalent inhibitors. When he and Roy

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Discovering Nimbus.
March 10, 2011

Bill Gates has just backed one our new startups - Nimbus Discovery LLC – as part of an extension to the seed tranche. Here’s the press release. It might come as a surprise to some, but Bill Gates has been a long-time

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