Healthcare Industry News: Elixir Pharmaceuticals
News Release - December 1, 2010
Accelerator Corporation Finances Eleventh Startup with Acylin Therapeutics, Inc.Company to Develop Novel Therapeutics Based on Acetylation
SEATTLE--(Healthcare Sales & Marketing Network)-- Accelerator Corporation, a privately held, venture capital backed biotechnology investment and development company, announced today the Series A Preferred Stock financing of Acylin Therapeutics, Inc. This is the eleventh company backed by Accelerator and its first investment in intellectual property developed by either Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine or The Wistar Institute, the co-owners of the underlying technology. Acylin is the first biotech company to successfully target the histone acetyltransferase (HAT) designated p300/CBP. HATs are a class of enzymes catalyzing protein acetylation and fundamental to the molecular pathology of cancer, metabolic disease, and neurodegeneration. The company has also licensed technology for inhibiting Ghrelin O-Acyl Transferase (GOAT), an enzyme directly linked to maintenance of energy balance and body composition, including GOAT family inhibitors that substantiate a pharmacologic approach for management of metabolic disorders through ghrelin regulation. The investors participating in the Series A investment in Acylin included Accelerator syndicate partners: Alexandria Real Estate Equities; Amgen Ventures; ARCH Venture Partners, Inc.; OVP Venture Partners; PPD, Inc.; and WRF Capital.
Acylin was founded by Suresh Jain, Ph.D., a Boston, MA-based entrepreneur, along with scientific co-founders Philip A. Cole, M.D., Ph.D. at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and Ronen Marmorstein, Ph.D. at The Wistar Institute. The research from Drs. Cole and Marmorstein is based on the discovery of novel p300 HAT inhibitors with enhanced specificity and potency. They are the first investigators to effectively crystallize HAT family members, determine their crystal structures, and successfully identify drug-like inhibitors of HATs. “Acylin aims to become the world’s leading expert in the development of novel best-in-class cancer, metabolic and CNS disease therapies based on the regulated cellular process of acetylation. Acylin is currently developing potent and highly selective leads that inhibit lysine acetylation of cellular proteins and plans to clinically test these leads within the next three years,” said Dr. Jain.
Patrick Gray, Chief Scientific Officer of Accelerator Corp., stated, “New understanding of the importance of kinases in signal transduction has yielded several blockbuster cancer and immune therapies in the last ten years. Recent discoveries have identified protein acetylation as another important cellular signal transduction regulator. Acylin has established a platform technology to design selective and potent acetylation inhibitors based on X-ray structures, novel medicinal chemical approaches and mechanistic understanding.”
Bard J. Geesaman, M.D., Ph.D. will lead Acylin as Chief Technical Officer. Most recently, Dr. Geesaman served as Chief Scientific Officer at PharmSelex Corporation. Prior to PharmSelex, Dr. Geesaman served as Executive Director, Life Sciences of the X PRIZE Foundation. Prior to joining the X PRIZE Foundation, Dr. Geesaman was a Venture Partner at MPM Capital where he assessed new investment opportunities and assisted in business development for existing portfolio companies. While at MPM, he co-founded Solasia, an oncology-focused pharmaceutical company located in Tokyo, Japan that expedites drug development and commercialization in Asia. Prior to MPM, he served as the Vice President, Medical Development for Elixir Pharmaceuticals, where he oversaw clinical strategy for drug development and the human genetics program, as well being involved in the company’s business development team. Coincident with these activities, Dr. Geesaman is a General Partner at F2 Ventures, a UK-based venture capital fund, and he continues to serve on the board of directors for these investments.
About Accelerator Corporation
Accelerator Corporation, founded in 2003, is a privately held biotechnology investment and development company located in Seattle, Washington, USA. The company is building the next generation of life-enhancing biotechnology companies by providing the resources critical to accelerating the development of nascent leading-edge biotechnologies. These key resources, provided by global life science leaders – Amgen Ventures, ARCH Venture Partners, OVP Venture Partners, PPD, Inc., Alexandria Real Estate Equities, Inc., WRF Capital, and the Institute for Systems Biology – include committed capital from top-tier venture capital firms, state-of-the-art facilities, world-class scientific and technical expertise and support, and experienced biotechnology start-up business management and support. For more information, please go to: www.acceleratorcorp.com.
About The Wistar Institute
The Wistar Institute is an international leader in biomedical research with special expertise in cancer research and vaccine development. Founded in 1892 as the first independent nonprofit biomedical research institute in the country, Wistar has long held the prestigious Cancer Center designation from the National Cancer Institute. The Institute works actively to ensure that research advances from the laboratory to the clinic as quickly as possible. The Wistar Institute: Today’s Discoveries – Tomorrow’s Cures. On the Web at www.wistar.org.
Source: Accelerator Corp
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