With the Help of Two Amgen Scientists, Ex-Dendreon CEO Launches Stealth Next-Gen Immunotherapy Startup in Seattle

Published: Feb 09, 2015

With the Help of Two Amgen (AMGN) Scientists, Ex-Dendreon Corporation (DNDN) CEO Launches Stealth Next-Gen Immunotherapy Startup in Seattle
February 6, 2015
By Mark Terry, BioSpace.com Breaking News Staff

The former chief executive officer of Dendreon Corporation , Mitchell Gold, recently filed a “Notice of Exempt Offering of Securities” with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission for a new company, Alpine Immune Sciences, Inc.

Gold will seed approximately $1.3 million through his investment firm, Alpine BioVentures. There aren’t many details regarding the nature of the company except that is will be recombinant protein-based therapeutic.

Gold is being joined by two former Amgen scientists, Michael Kornacker and Ryan Swanson, and David Miller. Kornacker’s area of expertise is engineering of human proteins, including antibodies. Swanson’s work focused on characterizing clinical candidates and performing discovery research around T cell costimulatory molecules. They apparently left Amgen in December 2014. Miller is a Portfolio Manager at Alpine BioVentures.

Dendreon declared bankruptcy in November 2014. The company recently announced its assets would be auctioned off. Laval, Quebec-based Valeant Pharmaceuticals International, Inc. announced on Jan. 29, 2015 that it will be a “stalking horse” as part of the deal, offering a low threshold bid of $296 million.

Dendreon was best known for its development and sale of Provenge, for prostate cancer. The drug faced controversy and market resistance due to its price of $93,000 per patient. Sales never lived up to expectations. Dendreon projected sales of $350 to $400 million, but by the end of the second quarter in 2011 had only made $49.6 million.

Mitchell Gold left Dendreon in February 2012 after nine years. In September 2013 he formed Alpine BioVentures with biotech stock researcher David Miller.

Of Alpine BioVentures, which has raised over $2 billion in healthcare capital markets, Gold said in a statement “Our number one, I think, strategic asset we have in the fund is being able to identify good science early. I think we have the ability to see stuff coming before other people do.”

Gold has indicated that Alpine BioVentures is interested in companies working with siRNA drug delivery systems. In October 2013 he said that they were working on two companies focused on cancer and immunotherapy, although at the time he declined to offer any details except to say, “We’ll probably keep those in stealth mode for a little bit.”

The latest SEC filing doesn’t shed much more light on the company. It does list Gold, Miller, Kornacker and Swanson as executive officers. The type of securities offered are equity and the total offering amount is $1 million under Rule 506(b), Regulation D offerings. The company is currently listed with an address in Seattle.

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