As we continue our journey exploring neoantigens in the context of novel cancer research in Part 3 of our latest mini-series, today we focus on the commercialisation side of the business through an interview with a leading investor, Dr Cary Pfeffer, who is a partner in Third Rock Ventures, as well as being ad interim CEO of Neon Therapeutics. We’ve written about other Third Rock companies in the past; Agios, Foundation Medicine and bluebird bio come to mind, for example.
How does an exciting early product in development move from academia to industry? There are many ways to do this, so here is the story through the eyes of one young company with strong academic connections, as a way to illustrate what can be done. It isn’t the only way, by any means.
To be sure, there are other competitor companies in the neoantigen space – Gritstone and Moderna come to mind as examples – we will cover companies in the broader landscape in a future post. There is also an incredible amount of promising research going on in academia right now, which may lead to more companies or products being licensed and developed.
To learn more about what Cary Pfeffer had to say on Neon Therapeutics and neoantigens, subscribers can log-in.
The Boston Globe today reported that Blueprint Medicines had received $40M in Series A venture funding.
The VC funding from Third Rock Ventures to the Boston/Cambridge based company is reported to be the largest early-stage funding for a New England life sciences start-up.
Many thanks to @rndubois for his tweets about this that drew it to my attention. You can read more about the financing in Blueprint’s press release.
What makes this exciting news? First it adds to the growing reputation of Boston/Cambridge as a hot-spot for cancer research. Blueprint Medicines will be focused on translational medicine and the development of new kinase inhibitors for the treatment of cancer.
Secondly, it confirms what is taught at business school, that investors back management expertise and their belief in the entrepreneurs ability to execute. In the case of Blueprint Medicines the scientific co-founders are Dr Nicholas Lyndon and Dr Brian Druker, who were instrumental in the development of imatinib (Gleevec/Glivec), a tyrosine kinase inhibitor that revolutionized the treatment of chronic myeloid leukemia (CML).
Blueprint Medicines is a company to watch for the future and Biotech Strategy Blog wishes it well in the quest for personalized medicine and more effective cancer treatments.
The launch of the company in Boston/Cambridge adds to my view that Boston is emerging as the premier biotech region on the East Coast for start-ups interested in oncology and translational medicine.