Company name: Fate Therapeutics.
Industry: regenerative medicine.
Location: San Diego, California.
Solution/product: Fate develops stem cell modulators. Its lead drug, ProHema, uses a small molecule (FT1050) to modulate hematopoietic stem cells (HSC), or blood-forming cells, that are transplanted to restore cells destroyed during intensive chemotherapy, radiation and/or immunotherapy for treatment of hematologic malignancies such as leukemia and lymphoma. The company says the drug creates changes in the HSC cells that are believed to increase their proliferation and survival, which helps restore normal bone marrow function in these patients.
Money raised: $9.2 million in equity from 17 investors.
How it will be used: Chief financial officer Scott Wolchko didn’t return a call. According to a press release from December, the company saw positive results in a phase 1 trial of ProHema in patients who underwent double umbilical cord blood transplants following treatment for blood cancers. The company is also exploring the use of ProHema in other HSC transplant settings. According to clinicaltrial.gov, two additional studies are in the works.
Investors: Previously, Fate has raised $50 million in series A and B rounds from Takeda Ventures, ARCH Venture Partners, OVP Venture Partners, Polaris Venture Partners, Venrock, Astellas Venture Management and Genzyme Ventures.
Management team: CEO William Rastetter is a partner at Venrock. Formerly, he was CEO of Idec Pharmaceuticals and became executive chairman of Biogen Idec when the two companies merged in 2003. Before that, he was the director of corporate ventures at Genentech. Pratik Multani, senior vice president of clinical development, advanced the development of several compounds in clinical development leadership positions at Kalypsys Inc., Kanisa Pharmaceuticals, Salmedix and Biogen Idec.
Market opportunity: More than 100,000 cases of blood, bone marrow and lymph node cancers are diagnosed in the U.S. each year, and Fate estimates that about 60,000 blood cancer patients worldwide undergo stem cell transplantation. According to the National Institutes of Health, one of the challenges for new and improved treatments using HSCs is limited ability to grow and expand the numbers of human HSCs, one of the problems that Fate is trying to address.
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