More money is heading to the budding biotech scene in New York City, which has often been overlooked compared with the biotech hotbeds of Boston and San Francisco. Cancer immunotherapy start-up Quentis Therapeutics has launched with $48 million, and gut-brain start-up Kallyope raised $66 million in series B funding.
Quentis is developing small-molecule inhibitors of IRE1, an enzyme that is overactive in some cancers. The company is based on research done in Laurie Glimcher’s lab when she was dean of Weill Cornell Medicine. She is now CEO of Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.
Kallyope, which launched with $44 million in December 2015, was founded by three Columbia University scientists to map the neural circuits that link the gut to the brain. Kallyope is beginning to develop small molecules that target these circuits to treat metabolic disorders like obesity and liver disease and central nervous system conditions such as Parkinson’s disease and mood disorders.
“I don’t think we’ve been disadvantaged at all by not being in a biotech hub. From a recruiting perspective it is an untapped talent pool of scientists,” says Kallyope CEO Nancy Thornberry. “Historically, the most significant obstacle for biotechs in NYC has been space.”
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