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Leaders in Innate Immunity Launch Latest Biotech Venture, Kineta Inc.

12/9/2008 6:46:32 AM

SEATTLE--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Two scientific pioneers in human immunity announced the formation of their third biotechnology business enterprise: Kineta Inc., based in Seattle.

Through this new venture, Drs. Shawn Iadonato and Charles Magness are dedicated to advancing new classes of therapies to enhance and modulate the immune system for the treatment of viral and autoimmune diseases.

Kineta is further strengthened by globally renowned scientific founders Drs. Michael Gale Jr. and Michael G. Katze. “They are two of the world’s leading academic experts on innate immunity. We are honored to have them on the Kineta team,” said Dr. Iadonato. Dr. Gale’s lab is credited with defining the retinoic acid-inducible gene (RIG-I) as the major receptor that triggers immunity against Hepatitis C and other viruses.

Drs. Iadonato and Magness are building Kineta upon previous success. Their last company, Illumigen Biosciences, Inc., produced the discovery of a “wellness gene” that was proven to protect carriers from contracting Hepatitis C virus (HCV). Additional research led to a breakthrough drug with the potential to fight HCV infection by enhancing immunity. In December 2007, Illumigen Biosciences was acquired by Cubist Pharmaceuticals, Inc. in an agreement that could ultimately be a $340 million transaction.

The Kineta team is focused on developing additional therapies that bolster and modulate the human immune system in pursuit of medicines applicable to a range of viral and autoimmune diseases. Diseases targeted include: Influenza, West Nile virus, Hepatitis C, Type 1 Diabetes, Multiple Sclerosis and Rheumatoid Arthritis. Kineta is also planning to advance additional therapies to treat “orphaned diseases.” Such programs would benefit smaller patient populations traditionally overlooked by other companies.

“Kineta’s launch is truly great news for Seattle’s biotech cluster. It is extremely important that Seattle’s most successful life-science entrepreneurs reinvest in our community, and in doing so, provide leadership and encouragement to others who would follow in their footsteps,” said Bruce Jackson of enterpriseSeattle, a regional economic development organization.

Kineta Inc. has the additional strength of top-tier business professionals with strong records of commercial success. Industry veteran Bill Cadwallader, who has held corporate leadership positions at Amgen, Cell Therapeutics and Sankyo-Parke Davis, will lead Kineta’s corporate development team. Kineta’s novel business strategy will empower company leadership to be the architects of Kineta’s future. That strategy will include select in-licensing programs with achievable short-range commercial goals, allowing Kineta to carefully balance longer-range scientific programs with reliable returns on investment.

For more information on Kineta Inc. or to schedule interviews with our scientists or commercial development experts, contact: Meg O’Conor,, 201-251-8638.

Kineta Inc. is a privately held biotechnology company based in Seattle. Our world-class scientists are pioneers, developing unique classes of drugs that harness the power of the immune system to fight disease. Kineta seeks to improve the lives of millions of people suffering from viral and autoimmune diseases. Our progressive business model focuses on careful management of capital and a strong return for investors. For more information on Kineta Inc., visit our website,


Kineta Inc. Meg O’Conor, 201-251-8638

Source: Kineta Inc.

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