Accelerator Corporation Announces $7M Series A Investment in ApoGen Biotechnologies to Develop a New Class of Drugs Targeting Resistance to Cancer Therapy

  • Third Accelerator Corporation-Backed Startup Launched in 2016

SEATTLE, WA – December 12, 2016 – Accelerator Corporation, a leading life science investment and management firm, today announced an investment in ApoGen Biotechnologies, Inc., a company developing a new class of drugs that target the underlying mechanisms that cause genomic mutations to interrupt the development of drug resistance by cancer cells. The investors participating in the $7 million Series A financing include AbbVie Ventures, Alexandria Venture Investments, ARCH Venture Partners, Eli Lilly and Company, Johnson & Johnson Innovation – JJDC, Inc., Watson Fund, L.P., WRF Capital and WuXi PharmaTech.

“One of the great challenges in treating cancer is that it evolves over time and develops resistance to therapy,” said Thong Q. Le, chief executive officer of Accelerator. “ApoGen’s drug discovery and development efforts are focused on the development of highly selective and potent small molecule inhibitors that aim to slow or stop cancer mutation and the development of drug resistance. The company is also working to develop companion diagnostics to identify the patients likely to get the most benefit from these therapies. We are excited to invest Accelerator’s unique startup resources to potentially develop these promising technologies for cancer patients in need.”

ApoGen’s scientific approach is based on discoveries made at the University of Minnesota (U of M). The company’s founders include two researchers at the U of M and an experienced life science serial entrepreneur:

  • Reuben S. Harris, Ph.D., investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI); professor of biochemistry, molecular biology and biophysics at the U of M; associate director of the U of M’s Institute for Molecular Virology
  • Daniel A. Harki, Ph.D., associate professor of medicinal chemistry at the U of M
  • John T. Santini, Jr., Ph.D., president and CEO of Vergent Bioscience, a protease-focused biotech company located in Minneapolis, Minn.; co-founder of MicroCHIPS, Inc.; former CEO of four life science companies. Dr. Santini will serve as a member of ApoGen’s board of directors.

ApoGen will initially focus its drug development efforts on an antiviral component of the human innate immune system – the APOBEC cytidine deaminases – which have been implicated as a prominent source of mutations in cancers. Dr. Harris, along with his colleagues at the U of M, have observed that mutations induced by APOBEC occur throughout the genome in many tumorous cells. By targeting this mechanism, ApoGen hopes to interrupt a cancer cell’s ability to develop drug therapy resistance. ApoGen has obtained a worldwide, exclusive license from the U of M related to a portfolio of APOBEC technologies developed by Drs. Harris and Harki.

ApoGen’s scientific advisory board is comprised of a highly respected panel of world-class investigators in the areas of chemical biology, cancer genomics, drug development and clinical research:

  • José Baselga, M.D., Ph.D., physician-in-chief at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC); professor of medicine, Weill Cornell Medical College
  • Peter B. Dervan, Ph.D., Bren Professor of Chemistry at California Institute of Technology
  • Charles Swanton, M.D., Ph.D., senior clinical research fellow and group leader, Translational Cancer Therapeutics, , Francis Crick Institute; chief investigator, CRUK TRACERx study; co-director, CRUK Lung Cancer Centre of Excellence and Thoracic Medical Oncologist at UCL Hospitals
  • Douglas Yee, M.D., director, Masonic Cancer Center, University of Minnesota; professor, departments of Medicine and Pharmacology, University of Minnesota

“I have been working with Drs. Harris and Harki to move ApoGen’s science toward clinical and commercial development, and I am thrilled to now partner with Accelerator Corporation,” said Dr. Santini. “We believe that we have assembled the ideal team to advance our therapeutic technologies to slow or stop tumor evolution, which has the potential to yield a significant clinical impact for cancer patients.”

About ApoGen Biotechnologies
ApoGen Biotechnologies, Inc. is a biotechnology company focused on the development of a new class of therapeutics targeting drivers of cancer genomic mutation. ApoGen is building upon technologies developed at the University of Minnesota to develop drugs that block a key pathway that causes drug resistance. ApoGen’s drug discovery and development efforts are directed toward highly selective and potent small molecule inhibitors of the APOBEC family of enzymes, which are DNA cytosine deaminases and an important endogenous source of DNA mutation in cancer. For more information, visit www.apogenbiotech.com.

About Accelerator Corporation
Accelerator Corporation, established in 2003, is a biotechnology investment and management company with operations in Seattle and New York City. Formed by a syndicate of top-tier venture capital investors and the Institute for Systems Biology, Accelerator identifies, evaluates, finances and manages the development of emerging biotechnology opportunities. Accelerator has built a unique solution that addresses many of the key problems associated with investing in early-stage biotechnology by providing access to venture capital, management, scientific expertise and facilities.

Since its inception, Accelerator has raised more than $100 million in capital commitments to invest in innovative early stage life science companies. Accelerator has assembled a team of talented professionals with deep investment, operational and scientific expertise to build high-quality life science startup companies and will continue to seek out the most exciting and potentially valuable emerging biotechnologies. Earlier this year, Accelerator announced the launch of Petra Pharma Corporation with $48 million in Series A financing commitments and Lodo Therapeutics with $17 million in Series A financing commitments. Both companies were formed from early-stage research originally developed by two of its New York City institution partners.

 

Contact:

Dan Budwick
Pure Communications, Inc.
973-271-6085
dan@purecommunicationsinc.com


Accelerator Corporation Expands Operations with New Research Institution Partners

  • Expanded Operations Provide New Resources for Seattle and Greater Northwest Region Portfolio
  • Dr. Bruce Carter Appointed to Board of Directors

SEATTLE – October 20, 2016 – Accelerator Corporation, a leading life science investment and management firm, today announced it has expanded operations with three new institution partners: CoMotion at the University of Washington, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and Oregon Health & Science University. In conjunction with these additions, Accelerator also announced the appointment of life science veteran Bruce L.A. Carter, Ph.D., to its board of directors.

“It has been a momentous year for Accelerator. Earlier this year, we launched our first two startups from our New York City portfolio, Petra Pharma and Lodo Therapeutics. Today, we’ve debuted the expansion of our strategic resources in the Seattle region with the addition of three leading research institution partners and the appointment of Dr. Bruce Carter – a true life science veteran – to our board,” said Thong Q. Le, chief executive officer of Accelerator. “These milestones reflect our mission to carefully and thoughtfully curate high-quality startups backed by promising research. It is through this kind of close collaboration with academia and industry that we are able to continue to fund and form the next generation of innovative companies poised to transform patient care.”

Founded in 2003 in Seattle, Accelerator uses a unique model of investing in life science companies. As part of its model, Accelerator provides its portfolio companies with an exclusive set of startup resources in the form of a complete business, scientific and financial toolkit necessary for running an early-stage biotechnology company. With resources like world-class institution partners, committed investment capital, experienced startup management and scientific expertise, and state-of-the-art laboratories and shared facilities, Accelerator’s portfolio companies have ground-up support that position them for long-term success.

New Institution Partners
CoMotion at the University of Washington, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and Oregon Health & Science University have joined Accelerator’s current syndicate of institution partners in the Pacific Northwest, bringing its total to 19 institution partnerships nationwide. By partnering with leading research institutions, Accelerator gains access to innovative global technologies and potential commercial opportunities. In turn, these institutions lend their broad expertise to Accelerator’s portfolio companies, providing them with integrated technology, research and development capabilities.

“Accelerator has played a critical role in establishing Seattle and the greater northwest region as a rapidly growing hub of life science innovation,” said Nicole (Niki) Robinson, Ph.D., vice president of business development and industry relations at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. “Accelerator has a differentiated model that aims to spur creation of startup companies that have built-in resources and support from the life science ecosystem continuum from day one. This collaboration combines the Fred Hutch’s own expertise and research efforts with Accelerator’s deep therapeutic development capabilities to bring forward new oncology medicines for patients in need.”

“Accelerator brings an impressive track record to investments in life science opportunities, with more than 14 startup companies formed to date,” said Vikram Jandhyala, vice president for innovation strategy at the University of Washington (UW) and executive director of CoMotion. “We have worked with Accelerator to create new startup companies based on research developed by our faculty, and we look forward to leveraging Accelerator’s network and expertise in life science management and investment as a way to add value to UW researchers and CoMotion’s programs, including CoMotion Labs.”

“Collaboration is necessary to drive innovation in therapeutic development, and Oregon Health & Science University is excited to join Accelerator to bring together a broad set of experts and opportunities to support new life science startups,” said Brendan Rauw, M.B.A., CLP, vice president of technology transfer and business development at Oregon Health & Science University.

Dr. Bruce Carter Joins Board of Directors
Dr. Carter brings extensive experience in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries. For the past 30 years, Dr. Carter has been an affiliate professor in the Department of Biochemistry at the University of Washington. In November 2009, he joined Immune Design Corp., where he served as executive chairman of the board until 2011. Prior to joining Immune Design, Dr. Carter was a member of the management team at ZymoGenetics, Inc., where he held various positions – including CEO – from 1986 to 2009. In 1988, Novo Nordisk A/S acquired ZymoGenetics and, in 1994, Dr. Carter was appointed corporate executive vice president and chief scientific officer for Novo Nordisk. In 2000, Dr. Carter helped establish ZymoGenetics as an independent company from Novo Nordisk. He is the chairman of the boards at Xencor and the Infectious Disease Research Institute in Seattle, and currently serves on the board of directors of Enanta Pharmaceuticals, Mirati Therapeutics, TB Alliance and Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories. Dr. Carter holds a B.Sc. with honors in botany from the University of Nottingham, England, and a Ph.D. in microbiology from Queen Elizabeth College, University of London.

About Accelerator Corporation
Accelerator Corporation, established in 2003 in Seattle, is a biotechnology investment and management company with operations in Seattle and New York City. Formed by a syndicate of top-tier venture capital investors and a world-class research institution, Accelerator identifies, evaluates, finances and manages the development of emerging biotechnology opportunities. Accelerator has built a unique solution that addresses many of the key problems associated with investing in early-stage biotechnology by providing access to venture capital, management, scientific expertise and facilities.

Since its inception, Accelerator has raised more than $100 million in capital commitments to invest in innovative life science companies. Accelerator has assembled a team of talented professionals with deep investment, operational and scientific expertise to build high-quality life science startup companies and will continue to seek out the most exciting and potentially valuable emerging biotechnologies. Earlier this year, Accelerator announced the launch of Petra Pharma Corporation with $48 million in Series A financing commitments and Lodo Therapeutics with $17 million in Series A financing commitments. Both companies were formed from early-stage research originally developed by two of its New York City institution partners. For more information, please go to: www.acceleratorcorp.com.

 

Media Contact:

Pure Communications, Inc.
Katie Engleman
Katie@purecommunicationsinc.com
910-509-3977


Accelerator Corporation Launches Lodo Therapeutics with $17 Million Series A to Develop Therapies Derived from Natural Products

  • Second Startup in Accelerator’s New York City Portfolio

NEW YORK CITY – January 11, 2016 – Accelerator Corporation, a leading life science investment and management firm, today announced the formation of Lodo Therapeutics Corporation to develop novel therapeutics derived from the company’s metagenomics-based small molecule discovery platform. The investors participating in the $17 million Series A financing include Accelerator New York’s investment syndicate partners: AbbVie, Alexandria Venture Investments, ARCH Venture Partners, Eli Lilly and Company, Harris & Harris Group, Inc., Innovate NY Fund, Johnson & Johnson Innovation – JJDC, Inc., The Partnership Fund for New York City, Pfizer Venture Investments, Watson Fund and WuXi PharmaTech. The financing also includes investment participation by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Lodo Therapeutics seeks to realize the vision of researcher and Lodo Therapeutics co- founder Sean Brady, Ph.D., head of The Rockefeller University’s Laboratory of Genetically Encoded Small Molecules. Dr. Brady’s research centers on the discovery, biosynthesis and characterization of new, genetically-encoded small molecules from microbial sources, with a special focus on those produced by uncultured soil bacteria and the human microbiome. Veteran drug hunter and Lodo Therapeutics co-founder David Pompliano, Ph.D., will join the company as interim chief scientific officer. Dr. Pompliano is a well-established and internationally known scientist with extensive experience in the discovery and early development of anti-infective and oncology drugs within both large pharmaceutical companies and small biotechnology firms.

“More than half of all small molecule drugs for cancer, infections and Type 2 diabetes today are derived from natural products, representing significant promise of this approach for patients. Our genome-based, culture-independent approach exploits the power of microbial evolution to identify therapeutically valuable natural products,” stated Dr. Brady. “With the support of Accelerator, we can tap this rich, natural source of small molecule diversity to develop new therapies for emerging bacteria and drug resistant bacteria, critical needs in today’s global healthcare environment.”

Lodo Therapeutics has entered into a license agreement with The Rockefeller University to practice and expand upon this technology platform and approach to developing therapeutics for unmet medical needs in both the developed and developing world. Since 2014, The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has sponsored research in the laboratory of Dr. Brady to support this drug discovery platform. Dr. Brady’s broad-based work at The Rockefeller University initially focused on antibiotics, but has since expanded to focus on uncovering improved therapeutics for a variety of diseases that affect patients in the world’s poorest countries. Lodo Therapeutics, in partnership with The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, will work to bring these drug candidates toward the initiation of human clinical trials. Lodo will continue to develop Dr. Brady’s platform, not only for a broad range of infectious diseases like tuberculosis, but also in additional areas including oncology, metabolic disorders and rare diseases.

“Tuberculosis is a leading cause of preventable death in the world’s poorest countries, yet current drug regimens are lengthy, expensive and often ineffective,” said Trevor Mundel, president of Global Health at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. “We are thrilled to partner with Lodo Therapeutics to support the development of novel technologies to find new and better drugs to treat tuberculosis and combat the problem of drug resistant infectious disease more generally.”

“As the second company that Accelerator has launched in New York City this month, we are well on our way to building the next generation of successful biotechnology and life science companies that may make a huge impact in the lives of patients,” said David M. Schubert, chief operating officer of Accelerator.

“Sean Brady’s approach to developing new therapeutics based on microbes from soil has the potential to make a tremendous impact on human health, and I am enormously pleased that this work will advance beyond the walls of academia,” said Marc Tessier- Lavigne, Ph.D., president of The Rockefeller University. “We have the best hope of advancing science and creating new medicines when bright, dedicated scientists from basic research labs join forces with their counterparts in industry. The formation of Lodo Therapeutics represents not only the advancement of medicinal science, but also the continuing development of New York City’s rich biotechnology ecosystem.”

Under Accelerator’s unique and proven investment and operations management model, the early operations of Lodo Therapeutics will be overseen by Accelerator’s core management team. By leveraging Accelerator’s capabilities, Lodo Therapeutics will be highly focused on achieving key value-building scientific milestones, while the Accelerator management team handles all aspects of business management and scientific oversight. In addition to leveraging Accelerator’s management capabilities, Lodo Therapeutics will also utilize highly talented and capable consultants in areas of chemistry, biology and early preclinical development.

Lodo Therapeutics’ office and lab headquarters will be located within Accelerator’s facilities at the Alexandria Center for Life Science, New York City’s first and only premier life science park. Since its establishment, The Alexandria Center for Life Science has become the leading commercial destination in New York City for world-class life science entities to translate innovative discoveries into breakthrough products for patients with significant unmet medical needs.

About Accelerator Corporation
Accelerator Corporation, established in 2003 with operations in Seattle and New York City, is a biotechnology investment and management company. Formed by a syndicate of top-tier venture capital investors and a world-class research institution, Accelerator identifies, evaluates, finances, and manages the development of emerging biotechnology opportunities. Accelerator has built a unique solution that addresses many of the key problems associated with investing in early-stage biotechnology by providing access to venture capital, management, scientific expertise, and facilities. For more information, please go to: www.acceleratorcorp.com.

Since its inception, Accelerator has raised more than $100 million in capital commitments to invest in innovative life science companies. Accelerator has assembled a team of talented professionals with deep investment, operational and scientific expertise to build high-quality life science startup companies and will continue to seek out the most exciting and potentially valuable emerging biotechnologies. Earlier this year, Accelerator announced the launch of Petra Pharma Corporation with $48 million in Series A financing commitments to develop novel, small molecule therapeutics for the treatment of cancer and metabolic diseases.

 

Media Contact:

Pure Communications, Inc.
Katie Engleman Katie@purecommunicationsinc.com 910-509-3977

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Accelerator Corporation Launches First Startup in New York City Portfolio

  • Petra Pharma Secures $48 Million Series A Financing to Develop Therapies for Cancer and Metabolic Diseases
  • BioPharma Alliance and Research Collaboration with Weill Cornell Medicine to Accelerate Research

NEW YORK CITY – January 6, 2016 – Accelerator Corporation, a leading life science investment and management firm, today announced the Series A financing of Petra Pharma Corporation to develop small molecule inhibitors for the treatment of cancer and metabolic diseases in alliance with Weill Cornell Medicine. The investors participating in the $48 million Series A investment in Petra Pharma include Accelerator New York’s investment syndicate partners: AbbVie, Alexandria Venture Investments, ARCH Venture Partners, Eli Lilly and Company, Harris & Harris Group, Inc., Innovate NY Fund, Johnson & Johnson Innovation – JJDC, Inc., The Partnership Fund for New York City, Pfizer Venture Investments, Watson Fund and WuXi PharmaTech.

“Following the launch of Accelerator in New York in 2014, we are delighted to now be financing our first startup life science company here in New York City,” said Thong Q. Le, chief executive officer of Accelerator. “We believe that the scientific advancements pioneered by co-founders Drs. Lewis Cantley and Nathanael Gray, combined with an alliance with Weill Cornell Medicine in New York and our management team’s operational capabilities, provide a tremendous platform for a biotech company with significant growth potential in the City. This first launch is illustrative of the kind of support we expect to continue to bring to the local life sciences community in the months ahead.”

Founders and Research Alliance
Petra Pharma’s co-founders include two world-leading researchers who have contributed to numerous breakthrough advances in cancer:

  • Lewis Cantley, Ph.D., a foremost expert in understanding the biochemical pathways linking cancer and energy metabolism, discovered the signaling pathway phosphoinositide 3-kinase (PI3K) in 1984. Dr. Cantley is the Director of the Sandra and Edward Meyer Cancer Center at Weill Cornell Medicine and a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies and American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
  • Nathanael Gray, Ph.D., responsible for the discovery of numerous first-in-class kinase inhibitors, also pioneered the use of synthetic chemistry and functional small molecule discovery to modulate biological pathways important in cancer. Dr. Gray is a professor of biological chemistry and molecular pharmacology at Harvard Medical School and Dana-Farber Cancer Center.

“Petra Pharma’s approach interrogates the novel enzyme targets responsible for a variety of important cellular processes, including cell division, growth, trafficking and signaling to develop therapies to improve patient health,” stated Dr. Cantley, co-founder of Petra Pharma, who owns equity in Petra Pharma. “The support of Accelerator at the seed stage, coupled with an expanded syndicate financing offered by Accelerator New York’s investors, puts Petra Pharma in a strong position to advance this promising research avenue, translate critical discoveries into next-generation treatments and ultimately make a difference in the clinic.”

Petra Pharma has entered into a multiyear research alliance with Weill Cornell Medicine, a stakeholder in the company, to further examine and elucidate certain biological pathways related to the targets being researched in Dr. Cantley’s lab. Weill Cornell Medicine’s Office of BioPharma Alliances and Research Collaborations is dedicated to proactively generate, structure and market translational research alliances with industry in order to advance promising research projects that have commercial potential.

“Accelerator’s collaborative investing model brings to New York City an attractive opportunity to translate the early-stage, innovative science coming out of our medical college into new therapies for patients,” said Larry Schlossman, managing director of BioPharma Alliances and Research Collaborations at Weill Cornell. “We are delighted to be the first institution to partner with Accelerator New York and launch Petra Pharma under Weill Cornell’s unique biopharma alliance program.”

Unique Model of Business Operations
Under Accelerator’s unique and proven investment and operations management model, the early operations of Petra Pharma will be overseen by Accelerator’s core management team. Accelerator has assembled a team of talented professionals with deep investment, operational and scientific expertise to build high-quality life science startup companies. By leveraging Accelerator’s capabilities, Petra Pharma will be highly focused on achieving key value-building scientific milestones, while the Accelerator management team will handle all aspects of business management and scientific oversight. 

“Accelerator has a unique incubation strategy that helps mitigate the challenges associated with early-stage discovery efforts, leading to the creation of innovative new companies,” said Greg Plowman, M.D., Ph.D., vice president of oncology research at Eli Lilly and Company. “As an investor in Accelerator and Petra Pharma, we are excited about Accelerator’s first New York City-based startup and the opportunities that Petra Pharma will bring to the City’s life science ecosystem.” 

Petra Pharma’s office and lab headquarters will be located within Accelerator’s facilities at the Alexandria Center for Life Science, New York City’s first and only premier life science park. Since its establishment, The Alexandria Center for Life Science has become the leading commercial destination in New York City for world-class life science entities to translate innovative discoveries into breakthrough products for patients with significant unmet medical needs. 

About Accelerator Corporation
Accelerator Corporation, established in 2003 with operations in Seattle and New York City, is a biotechnology investment and management company. Formed by a syndicate of top-tier venture capital investors and a world-class research institution, Accelerator identifies, evaluates, finances, and manages the development of emerging biotechnology opportunities. Accelerator has built a unique solution that addresses many of the key problems associated with investing in early-stage biotechnology by providing access to venture capital, management, scientific expertise, and facilities. For more information, please go to: www.acceleratorcorp.com.

 

Media Contact

Pure Communications, Inc.
Katie Engleman
Katie@purecommunicationsinc.com
910-509-3977

Weill Cornell Medicine Contact
Larry Schlossman
las2041@med.cornell.edu
212-746-6909


Accelerator Corporation Completes $62.8 Million Oversubscribed Financing

  • New Investors Join Syndicate, Board Members Appointed

SEATTLE AND NEW YORK – Sept. 29, 2015 – Accelerator Corporation, a leading life science investment and management firm, today announced that it has secured an additional $11.7 million in new investment commitments, bringing the final Accelerator IV closing to an oversubscribed $62.8 million. This final closing includes new strategic investments from AbbVie, WuXi PharmaTech, and Watson Fund. These new investors join the previously announced Accelerator IV syndicate, which includes Alexandria Venture Investments, ARCH Venture Partners, Eli Lilly and Company, Harris & Harris Group, Inc., Johnson & Johnson Innovation – JJDC, Inc., The Partnership Fund for New York City, Pfizer Venture Investments and WRF Capital.

“We are pleased to welcome this new group of top tier strategic investors to the Accelerator IV syndicate,” said Thong Q. Le, chief executive officer of Accelerator. “This additional investment will further enable Accelerator to provide important resources to early-stage life sciences companies focused on bringing innovative research and therapies to patients in need.”

The Accelerator IV portfolio will be diversified with investments in a variety of earlystage life science opportunities. A key focus will be on the discovery and development of novel therapeutics. Many of these investment opportunities will come from Accelerator’s unique company creation efforts largely based on the ground-breaking research conducted by its consortium of Institution Partners in New York and Seattle.

Since its inception, Accelerator has raised more than $100 million in capital commitments to invest in innovative life science companies. Accelerator has assembled a team of talented professionals with deep investment, operational, and scientific expertise to build high-quality life science start-up companies.

New Board Members Appointed
In conjunction with the financing, Accelerator also announced the appointment of three new directors to its board of directors – James P. Sullivan, Ph.D., Tadataka (Tachi) Yamada, M.D. and Peter Cheney.

“Accelerator has an exciting vision for the research and development of innovation in the biotechnology industry,” said Dr. Yamada. “I look forward to working closely with the Accelerator team to support their efforts to develop and launch ground-breaking start-up companies in New York and Seattle.

“We are delighted to have Jim, Tachi and Peter join our board and leverage their experience to help advance our company’s mission,” said Thong Q. Le, chief executive officer of Accelerator.

James Sullivan, Ph.D., is Vice President, Pharmaceuticals Discovery at AbbVie. In this role, he is responsible for AbbVie’s research efforts in a variety of diseases including cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, hepatitis C, renal disease, and immunology. He oversees a global network of scientists that includes AbbVie researchers at sites in the United States and Europe, and external research partners around the world. Dr. Sullivan earned his bachelor’s degree and Ph.D. in biochemistry from Trinity College in Dublin, Ireland, and conducted post-doctoral research in neurobiology at Northwestern University. He is an adjunct faculty member at Northwestern University of Chicago.

Tadataka (Tachi) Yamada, M.D., currently serves as a venture partner and senior advisor at Frazier Healthcare Partners. Previously, Dr. Yamada served as chief medical and scientific officer at Takeda Pharmaceuticals in Tokyo, responsible for all of the company’s research and development activities. Prior to Takeda, Dr. Yamada was president of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Global Health Program in Seattle, where he oversaw more than $9 billion in grants for applying technologies to address major health challenges of the developing world. Before joining the Gates Foundation, Dr. Yamada was chairman of research and development and a member of the board of directors at GlaxoSmithKline. Dr. Yamada currently serves on the board of directors at the Clinton Health Access Initiative and of the Council of the National Academy of Medicine. He is also a fellow of the Imperial College of Medicine, a master of the American College of Physicians, a fellow of the Royal College of Physicians, and a pastpresident of the American Gastroenterological Association and the Association of American Physicians. Dr. Yamada graduated from Stanford University and holds his medical degree from New York University.

Peter Cheney is a former co-president of Mars, Incorporated, a $30+ billion corporation with a direct presence in more than 60 countries. Its products are category leaders in more than 100 countries. Mr. Cheney’s career with Mars began in the U.K. pet care business of Mars, Inc., in 1972. In 1990, he moved to the U.S. and became part of the Mars, Inc., corporate staff, where he oversaw the technology group in the Western Hemisphere. In subsequent years, Mr. Cheney was responsible for the manufacturing function of MasterFoods, served as president of Kal Kan/Uncle Ben’s and was the regional president for the Mars, Inc. Most recently, he was one of two co-presidents with full global responsibility for the corporation’s strategic plans and operational performance. Mr. Cheney has served on the boards of numerous private companies, public companies, and non-profit organizations and institutions. He currently serves on the board of Bartell Drugs, Hannah’s (a pet services company) and as an advisor or director to a number of small startup companies in the Pacific Northwest and on the East Coast. He is also a member of The Institute of Directors.

About Accelerator Corporation
Accelerator Corporation, established in 2003 with operations in Seattle and New York City, is a biotechnology investment and management company. Formed by a syndicate of top-tier venture capital investors and a world-class research institution, Accelerator identifies, evaluates, finances, and manages the development of emerging biotechnology opportunities. Accelerator has built a unique solution that addresses many of the key problems associated with investing in early-stage biotechnology by providing access to venture capital, management, scientific expertise, and facilities. For more information, please go to: www.acceleratorcorp.com.

About AbbVie
AbbVie is a global, research-based biopharmaceutical company formed in 2013 following separation from Abbott Laboratories. The company’s mission is to use its expertise, dedicated people and unique approach to innovation to develop and market advanced therapies that address some of the world’s most complex and serious diseases. Together with its wholly-owned subsidiary, Pharmacyclics, AbbVie employs more than 28,000 people worldwide and markets medicines in more than 170 countries. For further information on the company and its people, portfolio and commitments, please visit www.abbvie.com. Follow @abbvie on Twitter or view careers on our Facebook or LinkedIn page.

About WuXi PharmaTech
WuXi PharmaTech (NYSE: WX) is a leading open-access R&D capability and technology platform company serving the pharmaceutical, biotechnology, and medical device industries, with operations in China and the United States. As a research-driven and customer-focused company, WuXi PharmaTech provides pharmaceutical, biotechnology, and medical device companies with a broad and integrated portfolio of laboratory and manufacturing services throughout the drug and medical device R&D process. WuXi PharmaTech’s services are designed to help its global partners in shortening the cycle and lowering the cost of drug and medical device R&D. WuXi is also building a platform to provide clinical diagnostic services directly to physicians and their patients globally. The operating subsidiaries of WuXi PharmaTech are known as WuXi AppTec. For further information, please visit http://www.wuxiapptec.com.

About Watson Fund
Watson Fund, L.P. is a healthcare venture capital fund that specializes in early-stage investments in a broad range of life science opportunities. Watson Fund largely invests in opportunities developed and managed by Accelerator Corporation, with reserves set aside for follow-on investments in companies that meet pre-defined milestones. For more information, please visit www.watsonfund.com.

 

Media Contact:

Dan Budwick
Pure Communications, Inc.
973-271-6085
dan@purecommunicationsinc.com


Accelerator Corporation Secures $51.1 Million to Support Emerging Biotechnology Research Opportunities in New York City and Seattle

  •  Accelerator IV to Bridge Funding Gap for Early Research; 
  • Includes New Strategic Investors Eli Lilly and Company, Harris & Harris Group, Inc., Johnson & Johnson Development Corporation, The Partnership Fund for New York City, and Pfizer Venture Investments 
  • Accelerator’s Second Flagship Location Opens at the Alexandria Center for Life Science in New York City, Infusing Early-Stage Breakthrough Technologies into Manhattan’s East Side Medical Corridor 

SEATTLE AND NEW YORK CITY, July 29, 2014 – Accelerator Corporation, a leading life science investment vehicle for disciplined and efficient investment in emerging biotechnology research, announced the first closing of Accelerator IV with $51.1 million in capital commitments, as it expands its operations in Seattle to New York City. Located at the Alexandria Center for Life Science in the heart of Manhattan’s East Side Medical Corridor, Accelerator will infuse strategic venture capital, entrepreneurial leadership, and critical product development capabilities into the New York City life science cluster. 

“There is a funding gap for innovators looking to build new companies, as more and more venture investors are turning their attention to de-risked, later-stage developmental therapies instead of early research,” said Thong Q. Le, chief executive officer of Accelerator. “We have had tremendous success in bridging this gap in Seattle, with more than half of our companies graduating to successful venture rounds and achieving development successes. We recognize a similar gap in New York City where funding is available for developed companies but in short supply for early-stage research, and we look forward to this strategic expansion with our new round of committed capital.” 

Over the last 10 years, and through its first three rounds of committed capital, Accelerator has developed 12 early-stage biotechnology companies in Seattle and provided them with the necessary resources to give each company a greater opportunity for early success. The fourth commitment round includes return investors Alexandria Venture Investments, ARCH Venture Partners, and WRF Capital, alongside new strategic investors, including Eli Lilly and Company, Harris & Harris Group, Inc., Johnson & Johnson Development Corporation, The Partnership Fund for New York City, and Pfizer Venture Investments. Accelerator will have dedicated capital commitments for both Seattle and New York City.

“We believe that there is an unparalleled opportunity to support exciting early-stage life science research in both New York City and Seattle. Accelerator will provide a big boost to help foster innovation in both these locales,” said John Lechleiter, Ph.D., chairman and chief executive officer of Eli Lilly and Company. 

In addition to providing venture capital support, Accelerator provides its portfolio companies with access to leadership and critical product development capabilities, including access to resources from partner organizations. In New York City, Accelerator will work in partnership with seven top-tier institutions, including Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University, Columbia University, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, New York University, The Rockefeller University, and Weill Cornell Medical College. In Seattle, Accelerator has expanded its partners beyond the Institute for Systems Biology to include Benaroya Research Institute at Virginia Mason, Infectious Disease Research Institute (IDRI), Pacific Northwest Diabetes Research Institute, Puget Sound Blood Center Research Institute, Seattle BioMed, Seattle Children’s Research Institute and Washington State University. Collectively, these institutions will provide Accelerator companies with unparalleled access to technology development capabilities and scientific expertise. 

“We are excited to welcome Accelerator to New York City, and look forward to partnering with their outstanding team to transform some of our region’s most promising scientific discoveries into life science start-up companies with a real shot at success,” said Marc Tessier-Lavigne, Ph.D., president of Rockefeller University, a new Accelerator institution partner. 

Leroy Hood, M.D. Ph.D., co-founder and president of the Institute for Systems Biology (ISB) and founding institution partner of Accelerator, noted, “Through its newest capital commitment from some of the world’s top investors, Accelerator will continue to play an instrumental role in commercializing early-stage life science discoveries. We look forward to continuing our partnership with Accelerator.” 

Joel Marcus, co-founder, chairman and chief executive officer of Alexandria Real Estate Equities, Inc. (NYSE:ARE) and Alexandria Venture Investments noted, “With the opening of Accelerator at the Alexandria Center for Life Science in Manhattan’s East Side Medical Corridor, Alexandria will add a strong array of disruptive clinical-stage opportunities as well as life science platform companies to its all-star roster of client tenants on our world-class urban campus. This is a critical moment for the Alexandria Center for Life Science and for New York City more broadly.” 

Accelerator operations in New York City will join the collaborative and innovative campus at the Alexandria Center for Life Science, New York City’s first and only premier life science park. The Alexandria Center for Life Science has become the leading commercial destination in New York City for world-class life science entities to translate innovative discoveries into breakthrough products for patients with significant unmet medical needs. Accelerator is an ideal fit for the Alexandria Center for Life Science, and its presence will bring a new generation of highly disruptive companies to the City’s rapidly growing cluster, as it already has proven to do so in Seattle. 

About Accelerator Corporation
Accelerator Corporation, established in 2003 with operations in Seattle and New York City, is a biotechnology investment and management company. Formed by a syndicate of top-tier venture capital investors and a world-class research institution, Accelerator identifies, evaluates, finances, and manages the development of emerging biotechnology opportunities. Accelerator has built a unique solution that addresses many of the key problems associated with investing in early-stage biotechnology by providing access to venture capital, management, scientific expertise, and facilities. For more information, please go to: www.acceleratorcorp.com.