ROCKVILLE, Md., Nov. 4 /PRNewswire/ -- Zyngenia, Inc., a privately held biotherapeutics company focused on next-generation antibody drug development, today announced that it has secured $10 million in Series A funding from New Enterprise Associates (NEA), one of the world's leading venture capital firms. The capital will be used to create novel, multi-specific antibody-like molecules that address two or more biological targets with a single agent. The company will initially focus on various cancers and autoimmune diseases.
"Zyngenia's technology platform, developed by Carlos Barbas of The Scripps Institute, is very compelling due to its ability to create biologics that are single protein-combination therapeutics in a manner that is likely to be scientifically, medically, and economically transforming," said Peter Kiener, D.Phil., Zyngenia Chief Executive Officer. "With financial support from NEA, we are poised to take a leadership role in the development of multi-specific biologic therapies."
In previous positions at MedImmune and Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMS), Dr. Kiener gained extensive experience in both biologics and small molecule drug discovery across oncology, immunology, infectious disease and other therapeutic areas. During eight years at MedImmune, most recently as Executive Vice President and Head of Research and Development, Dr. Kiener helped to build industry-leading protein and antibody engineering capabilities and oversaw the submission of numerous INDs and BLAs. Dr. Kiener was also responsible for the integration of both the protein/antibody engineering company Cambridge Antibody Technology and the B-cell biologics company Cellective Therapeutics into MedImmune. Prior to joining MedImmune, Dr. Kiener spent 18 years with Bristol-Myers Squibb's Pharmaceutical Research Division.
Carlos F. Barbas, III, Ph.D., Zyngenia's Chief Scientific Officer, is Professor and Chair of the Skaggs Institute of Chemical Biology and the Departments of Molecular Biology and Chemistry at The Scripps Institute, La Jolla, California. Dr. Barbas is renowned for his work in peptides and proteins, antibodies and chemically programmed antibodies. He has particular expertise in novel antibody technologies and was a founder of two successful antibody platform companies, Cov-X Pharmaceuticals (acquired by Pfizer) and Prolifaron (acquired by Alexion).
Zyngenia's founding management team also includes Joseph Amprey, M.D., Ph.D., former head of MedImmune Ventures, Inc., as Chief Business Officer. Dr. Amprey joined MedImmune Ventures as the first full-time employee and helped grow the portfolio from 13 investments to 28. He led 11 deals during his time at MedImmune Ventures and served on five boards. Recently, David Hilbert, Ph.D., has been appointed the Vice President and Head of Research and Development. Dr. Hilbert formerly served as Vice President of Research at both Cellective Therapeutics and Human Genome Sciences. Dr Hilbert led Research and Development at Cellective until its acquisition by MedImmune in 2005. At Human Genome Sciences, Dr Hilbert led the transformation of the company from a genomics research company to an integrated drug development organization. His expertise in oncology, autoimmunity and antibody development enabled the first IND for the company and was pivotal in the development of ABthrax and Benlysta.
In conjunction with the Series A financing, David M. Mott, NEA General Partner, will become Chairman of the Board. Robert Garland, M.D., Partner at NEA, will also join the company's board of directors. Mr. Mott focuses on biopharmaceutical investments at NEA. He is Chairman of 3-V Biosciences, a Director of Ardelyx and Zosano Pharma, and serves on the advisory board of the Scripps Translational Science Institute. Prior to joining NEA, he was President and CEO of MedImmune, which was acquired by AstraZeneca for $15.6 billion in 2007. During his 16 years at MedImmune, it grew from a small biotechnology company into one of the five largest biotechnology companies in the world. Dr. Garland focuses on biopharmaceutical investments at NEA and is a Director of 3-V Biosciences, Cardioxyl Pharmaceuticals and Trevena, Inc. He trained in Internal Medicine and Infectious Diseases at the University of California, San Francisco. Prior to NEA, in addition to clinical practice at UCSF, Dr. Garland was with McKinsey & Company where he worked with biotechnology, pharmaceutical, medical device and diagnostics clients to evaluate investments, formulate product and corporate strategies and build businesses.
"We believe the unique Zyngenia platform has the potential to produce numerous therapeutic proteins, each with specificity for multiple targets, which may have significant advantages over both current single-specificity and bi-specific biologic drugs," said Mr. Mott. "We are excited about combining the therapeutic potential of this technology with a management team that has an impressive record of successfully building companies and developing biologics."
"It's rewarding to see my scientific technology platform coupled with the capabilities of Zyngenia's management team," said Dr. Barbas. "I look forward to working closely with the team and to leveraging the experience in biologic drug development and corporate strategy that Mr. Mott and Dr. Garland bring as we build the organization."
About Zyngenia, Inc.
Founded in 2008, Zyngenia, Inc. is a privately held biotherapeutics company focused on the development of next-generation multi-specific antibodies. The company uses proprietary patented technology to engineer single molecular entities that may interact with two or more targets. The company will initially focus its Zybody(TM) development on therapies for various cancers and autoimmune disorders. Zyngenia is headquartered in Rockville, Maryland. For more information, visit www.zyngenia.com.
About New Enterprise Associates
New Enterprise Associates, Inc. (NEA) is a leading venture capital firm focused on helping entrepreneurs create and build major new enterprises that use technology to improve the way we live, work and play. Since its founding in 1978, the firm has followed the same core principles: supporting its entrepreneurs, providing an excellent return to its limited partners and practicing its profession with the highest standards and respect. Through its affiliated funds, NEA focuses on investments at all stages of a company's development, from seed stage through IPO. With approximately $8.5 billion in committed capital, NEA's experienced management team has invested in over 650 companies, of which more than 165 have gone public and more than 255 have been acquired. NEA has U.S. offices in Chevy Chase, Maryland; Menlo Park, California; and Baltimore, Maryland. In addition, New Enterprise Associates (India) Pvt. Ltd. has offices in Bangalore and Mumbai, India and New Enterprise Associates (Beijing), Ltd. has offices in Beijing and Shanghai, China. For additional information, visit www.nea.com.