What You Need to Know About Codiak BioSciences
Published: Jan 18, 2017
January 9, 2017
By Mark Terry, BioSpace.com Breaking News Staff
Codiak BioSciences was founded in 2015, and focuses on the field of exosome biology.
Exosomes are vesicles that are released by all cells and are found in almost all body fluids. They are implicated in intercellular communication, and deliver DNA, RNA, proteins and lipids from cell to cell. The company is attempting to take advantage of that macromolecule payload delivery between cells.
“By leveraging exosomes’ natural ability to deliver macromolecules,” Douglas Williams, the company’s president and chief executive officer, told BioSpace, “we are developing exosome science across multiple therapeutic areas.”
The company came out research from the VentureLabs innovation unit of Flagship Ventures, the research of Jan Lotvall, the chairman of the Krefting Research Centre at University of Gothenburg, Sweden, and from the work of Raghu Kalluri at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center.
. The company was founded by an investor syndicate led by ARCH Venture Partners and Flagship Ventures.
Douglas Williams—president and chief executive officer. Before joining Codiak, Williams was Biogen's executive vice president, research and development. Before that he was chief executive officer and board member of ZymoGenetics , which was acquired by Bristol-Myers Squibb during his tenure.
Linda Bain—chief financial officer. Prior to Codiak, Bain was chief financial officer for Avalanche Biotechnologies . She was previously vice president of finance, business operations and treasurer at bluebird bio bluebird bio .
Ariel Jasie—chief business officer. Before joining Codiak, Jasie lead the strategy and operations group in the research and early development franchise of Celgene .
Konstantin Konstantinov—senior vice president, manufacturing and process sciences. Konstantinov headed the late-stage bioprocess and technology development Sanofi’s Boston hub. Before that, he was with Bayer in Berkeley, Calif. as head of process sciences.
Jan Lotvall—chief scientist. Before joining Codiak, Lotvall was a professor of allergy at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden, and chairman of the Krefting Research Centre.
Benny Sorensen—vice president and head of clinical development. Prior to Codiak, Sorensen was senior director of clinical research at Alnylam .
In November 2015, the company announced the closing of the first part of a planned $80-plus million Series A and B financing. At the same time, it executed license and sponsored research agreements with The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. The company was founded by an investor syndicate led by ARCH Venture Partners and Flagship Ventures. Other members of the syndicate include Fidelity Management and Research Company, the Alaska Permanent Fund and Alexandria Venture Investments.
On January 26, 2016, the company indicated it had closed on its $61 million Series B round, which brought the combined A and B rounds to $92 million.
The company is a preclinical company and is now working on its core exosome platform. “Our technology has potential to serve multiple therapeutic areas,” Williams said.
Exosomes were for a very long time viewed as being like garbage bags for cells that had no other function. It’s only relatively recent that research has uncovered the communication and delivery functions of exosomes. As such, the company expects that there will be a lot of interest in the coming years.
“We know of three companies doing exosome research,” Williams told BioSpace, “including EvOx Therapeutics and ReNeuron, both in the UK, and Capricor of California. A number of large pharmaceutical companies also are doing early-stage research. We’re confident in Codiak’s position in exosome science and our ability to realize their therapeutic and diagnostic potential.”
What to Look For
The company hopes to have multiple investigational new drug applications (INDs) and parallel clinical development programs in the next several years.
“One of the most exciting aspects of exosomes is their potential applicability across a very broad range of diseases by leveraging exosomes’ natural propensity to transport macromolecules to the cytoplasm of diverse cells and tissues. At Codiak we are conducting research in a broad range of therapeutic applications and, at the same time, we are pioneering the development of industrial-scale production. This coordinated strategy positions the company to realize the full potential of the promising and rapidly developing field of exosome biology,” Williams said.
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