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Meet the 4 VC-Backed Biotech Startups That Just Landed Space in Kendall Square



9/6/2017 6:22:18 AM

Meet the 4 VC-Backed Biotech Startups That Just Landed Space in Kendall Square September 6, 2017
By Mark Terry, BioSpace.com Breaking News Staff

South San Francisco is the hotspot for biotech startups on the West Coast, and Cambridge, Mass., specifically Kendall Square, is the hotspot for biotech startups on the East Coast. Alexandria Real Estate Equities, a real estate developer focused on life science and technology campuses, recently announced that its site at 100 Binney Street in Kendall Square was 100 percent pre-leased. In addition to big names like Facebook and Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMY), the company also indicated it had four “high-quality, venture-backed entrepreneurial life science companies.” Let’s take a look.

1. Foghorn Therapeutics

Foghorn focuses on discovering and developing new drugs to treat cancer and other diseases. Its proprietary platform aims at drugs that target chromatin remodeling complexes. The company was founded in 2016 by Flagship Partners.

2. Sigilon Therapeutics

Sigilon focuses on developing improved treatments for chronic diseases using implanted cells shielded by proprietary biomaterials from immune attack and the foreign body response (fibrosis). Sigilon was launced in June 2017 by Flagship Pioneering. Sigilon’s discovery platform merges cell engineering and its biocompatible Afibromer technology. Flagship’s VentureLabs, its “institutional innovation foundry” launched the company with Daniel Anderson and Robert Langer of MIT’s Institute of Medical Engineering and Science, Department of Chemical Engineering and Koch Institute. Flagship invested $23.5 million in capital into the company.

“Restoring critical proteins in the body in an effective and controllable way has been an elusive goal for many years,” said Langer in a statement. “The discovery of permeable biomaterials that avoid fibrosis opens a broad range of possibilities. Sigilon Therapeutics’ technology allows implanted cells to deliver proteins in a controlled manner over extended periods and can be envisioned as a transplanted tissue that avoids effects of rejection and isolation by the immune system.”
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3. Tango Therapeutics

Tango was launced in March 2017 by Third Rock Ventures with a $55 million Series A. The company has a product engine that leverages advances in DNA sequencing and CRISPR-based target discovery. The company has three areas of focus: loss of tumor suppressor gene function; multiple oncogenic drivers; and immune evasion.

“Cancers are complex genetic disease marked by multiple lesions in each tumor,” said Barbara Weber, Tango’s interim chief executive officer and a Venture Partner at Third Rock, in a statement in March. “These include genes that are turned on to drive cancer growth and those that are inactivated and thus, unable to function as tumor suppressors. Loss of tumor suppressor genes is a hallmark of cancer, but the genes, themselves, are not tractable targets for drug discovery. The availability of comprehensive DNA sequencing, coupled with CRISPR-enabled target discovery, provides us with new paths to identify novel drug targets and combinations that take advantage of vulnerabilities created by loss of tumor suppressor gene function—something we have been unable to do effectively in the past.”

4. TCR2 Therapeutics

The company launced in December 2016 with a $44.5 million Series A round led by MPM Capital and F2 Ventures. It was founded in 2015 by cancer immunologist Patrick Baeuerle, managing director of MPM. He was previously the chief scientific officer of Micromet, which was bought by Amgen (AMGN) in 2012 for more than $1 billion.

The company is developing what it calls “T cell receptor fusion construct,” or TRuC. TRuCs bind to an antigen on one end and a T-cell receptor on the other, which is theorizes will take full advantage of the immune cells’ existing T-cell receptors.

The site at 100 Binney Street consists of 431,000 square feet of rentable office and laboratory space.


Read at BioSpace.com


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