We recently wrote about Syros Pharmaceuticals, one of whose founders, Dr Rick Young is based at the Whitehead Institute of MIT in Cambridge MA.
Another biopharma start-up company being spun out from research done at the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research is Yumanity Therapeutics.
The company recently launched with Tony Coles as CEO and Ken Rhodes as Chief Scientific Officer. Their focus is on transforming drug discovery for neurodegenerative diseases caused by protein misfolding.
The scientific founder is Dr Susan Lindquist, who spoke with Biotech Strategy Blog about her research and the Yumanity approach to drug development.
The company is committed to “improving human conditions. That’s why we call it Yumanity. The Y is for yeast, but it really is focused on humanity,” said Lindquist.
Dr Linquist started her interview by noting that as we live longer, we are more likely to get neurodegenerative diseases, starkly noting the reality of the lack of progress in drug development in this area:
“There is really, right now, nothing that we can do about them. We just do not understand how to move the needle on these and it’s really becoming an absolute crisis and it is taking a very substantial section of our healthcare budget as it is. As we continue to make better inroads against cancer and HIV and all of the other ills of mankind, it’s just going to get worse, I think. Everybody is beginning to appreciate that there is going to be an economic disaster and that we are going to ruining the next generation in a way that, at this point, is going to be tragic.”
So what is the approach Yumanity is taking, in the hope of succeeding where others have failed?