6
Oct
2022

The Kilimanjaro Climb to Fight Cancer Is Back

Luke Timmerman, founder & editor, Timmerman Report

I’m taking another biotech team to the highest peak in Africa.

Four years after the first team expedition, the Kilimanjaro Climb to Fight Cancer is back with a new crew of 28 biotech executives and investors. Together, we’re going to push ourselves physically, and raise more than $1 million for research at the Fred Hutch Cancer Center.

The expedition is set for Feb. 9-20, 2023.

Most people on the team don’t know each other, and don’t know what it’s like to hike in the thin air of 19,000 feet. A couple are veterans of previous expeditions. Everyone is training to get ready.

They love nature. They love science. They dislike cancer. They are making a big commitment to others in need, raising at least $50,000 apiece.

Here’s who is coming together for this challenging and memorable adventure:

  • Luke Timmerman, founder & editor, Timmerman Report
  • Nathan Trinklein, co-founder and CSO, Rondo Therapeutics
  • Bharatt Chowrira, president, Puretech Health
  • Jens Eckstein, managing partner, Apollo Health Ventures
  • Mark Mendel, venture partner, Sozo Ventures 
  • Ted Love, CEO, Global Blood Therapeutics
  • Wendy Nelson, president and founder, Boston Biotech Forum; corporate development Danforth Advisors
  • Brian Gallagher Jr., biotech investor and entrepreneur
  • Soufiane Aboulhouda, PhD candidate, Church Lab, Wyss Institute, Harvard University, co-founder and president, Nucleate
  • Melinda Richter, global head of Johnson & Johnson Innovation JLABS
  • Paul Biondi, president, Pioneering Medicines at Flagship Pioneering
  • Ben Vollrath, COO, Amprion
  • Ramani Varanasi, managing director, ReVive Advisors
  • Ram Aiyar, CEO, Korro Bio
  • Greg Verdine, co-founder and CEO, LifeMine Therapeutics
  • Kamal Puri, CSO, OncoResponse
  • Nerissa Kreher, chief medical officer, Entrada Therapeutics
  • Saul Fink, SVP, pharmaceutical & nonclinical development, Normunity
  • Alex Federation, co-founder and CEO, Talus Bio
  • Amber Kaplan, consultant, Amber Lab LLC, MBA candidate USC Marshall School of Business
  • Laurie Halloran, founder and CEO, Halloran Consulting Group
  • Alison Schecter, CEO, Molecules to Medicine Advisory Group
  • Joanne Smith-Farrell, CEO, Be Biopharma
  • Jeff Leek, vice president, chief data officer, professor; Fred Hutch Cancer Center
  • Elizabeth Alcamo, entrepreneur in residence, Versant Ventures
  • Ginger Cooper, associate vice president, Agilent Technologies
  • Kelly O’Brien, vice president of philanthropy, Fred Hutch Cancer Center
  • Jung Choi, chief business and strategy officer, Global Blood Therapeutics

The first Kilimanjaro trip in 2019 was a huge success, raising more than $1.5 million for cancer research at Fred Hutch. People on that trip formed lifelong friendships. They open doors for each other.

One of the people from that team summed up the experience:

“The proposition: join Luke and equal numbers of men & women in our industry to raise money for cancer research at the Fred Hutch and climb Mt. Kilimanjaro. This was the experience of a lifetime. Breathtaking scenery – yes. Challenging physically – yes. Outstanding guides & support personnel – yes. Life-long bonding experiences – yes!”  — Bill Newell, CEO, Sutro Biopharma

You can do a couple things to help.

First, go to the Kilimanjaro 2023 team fundraising page on FredHutch.org and find a member of the team you want to support. You can click on their name to open their personal fundraising page, and donate. That will help them hit their $50,000 goal. They’ll appreciate it!

Second, if your company is interested in raising awareness of your support for cancer research, ask us about team sponsorship opportunities. See me at luke@timmermanreport.com and Elizabeth ‘Za’ Martin at eamartin@fredhutch.org.

The biotech community has tremendous capacity for scientific genius and human generosity. When we exercise these muscles, we get stronger.

I’m eager to see what this next Kilimanjaro team, with your help, will do to propel science and improve the lives of cancer patients.

The Kilimanjaro 2023 team
26
Sep
2022

Going Upstream Against Inflammation: Samantha Truex on The Long Run

Today’s guest on The Long Run is Samantha Truex.

Samantha is the CEO of Waltham, Mass.-based Upstream Bio.

Samantha Truex, CEO, Upstream Bio

Upstream came out of stealth mode with a $200 million Series A financing in June. It’s a big investment in an antibody aimed at the TSLP receptor. It’s a cytokine – an inflammatory protein – that sits at the top of what scientists call an inflammatory cascade.

The idea is that if you can inhibit TSLP, then it won’t trigger a whole bunch of other cytokines such as IL-4, IL-5, IL-13, IL-17 and more. If you can keep the body from overproducing a wild storm of all those inflammatory proteins, then scientists think you might make a pretty big difference against a range of inflammatory diseases – including severe asthma.

Upstream isn’t the only company working on this target. AstraZeneca won FDA approval in December 2021 for an antibody aimed at the TSLP ligand. That drug, Tezepelumab, is cleared for severe asthma. Upstream seeks to build on that success. Upstream’s lead drug candidate was in-licensed from Astellas Pharma, has already been through extensive preclinical testing, and is being assessed in a Phase 1b trial in asthma patients that’s currently enrolling.

This is a big opportunity, from a commercial perspective and for patients. About 2 million people in the US have severe asthma, and about 30 million worldwide.

Samantha comes to this moment with a wide range of experiences, much of it in business development. She worked at a couple of the early pillars of the Boston biotech community, Genzyme and Biogen. She joined a startup, Padlock Therapeutics, that was acquired by Bristol-Myers Squibb. Her first stint as a startup CEO didn’t end the way everyone hoped it would, but it was a learning experience that opened the door for what she’s doing now.

Now before we get started, a word from the sponsor of The Long Run.

Calgary is home to more than 120 life sciences companies, from emerging startups to established firms. With this critical mass of research, technical talent and expertise, the city is an active hub for life sciences innovation.

Technologies homegrown in Calgary are changing the face of healthcare. Syantra is revolutionizing breast cancer detection using artificial intelligence-derived algorithms. NanoTess is harnessing the power of nanotechnology to tackle chronic wounds and skin conditions. And this is only the beginning. Calgary’s life sciences sector is projected to spend $428 million on digital transformation by 2024.

If you’re a bright mind or bright company solving global health challenges, Calgary is the place for you. 

Take a closer look at why at calgarylifesciences.com

Now, please join me and Samantha Truex on The Long Run.

 
 
 
7
Sep
2022

Designing Gene Circuits For Cell Therapies: Tim Lu on The Long Run

Today’s guest on The Long Run is Tim Lu.

Tim is the co-founder and CEO of South San Francisco-based Senti Biosciences.

Tim Lu, co-founder and CEO, Senti Biosciences

Senti is working to develop gene circuits for cell therapies. This is about reprogramming cell therapies with precise genetic instructions on what to do in certain circumstances. The code essentially can tell the cell to kill tumor cells with a certain molecular marker on them, while sparing other cells that carry a particular molecular signature.

The first-generation cell therapies have delivered some extraordinary results for patients with cancer, but they also have some limitations. If Senti and others in the cell reprogramming world are successful, they could take cell therapies to a new level of safety and efficacy.

Tim and his colleagues have been working on gene circuits for a long time, dating back to his time on the faculty at MIT. He left that esteemed academic institution to go to work full-time on turning this research work into cell therapies that will someday hopefully help patients with cancer.

Senti’s work is still very early stage. It’s all preclinical. But it plans to seek clearance from the FDA to begin its first clinical trial, for patients with acute myeloid leukemia, in 2023.

Tim, like many biotech entrepreneurs, is the son of immigrants. His story starts there and takes a few interesting turns before getting to his current chapter, running a startup company. I think you’ll enjoy hearing about the person and the science.

Now before we get started, a word from the sponsor of The Long Run.

Calgary is home to more than 120 life sciences companies, from emerging startups to established firms. With this critical mass of research, technical talent and expertise, the city is an active hub for life sciences innovation.

Technologies homegrown in Calgary are changing the face of healthcare. Syantra is revolutionizing breast cancer detection using artificial intelligence-derived algorithms. NanoTess is harnessing the power of nanotechnology to tackle chronic wounds and skin conditions. And this is only the beginning. Calgary’s life sciences sector is projected to spend $428 million on digital transformation by 2024.

If you’re a bright mind or bright company solving global health challenges, Calgary is the place for you. 

Take a closer look at why at calgarylifesciences.com

Now, please join me and Tim Lu on The Long Run.

 
 
 
22
Aug
2022

A Life in Autoimmune Drug Discovery: Jo Viney on The Long Run

Today’s guest on The Long Run is Jo Viney.

She is the CEO of Watertown, Mass.-based Seismic Therapeutic. Seismic is working to discover biologic drugs for autoimmune disease. It aims to speed up the process by using machine learning on key aspects – starting with structural biology and including engineering of the protein drugs themselves.

Jo Viney, co-founder, president and CEO, Seismic Therapeutic

Jo has a long track record in this field. She was previously chief scientific officer of Pandion Therapeutics, a startup acquired by Merck for $1.85 billion in February 2021. Before that, she worked at Biogen, Amgen, Immunex and Genentech.

In this conversation, Jo talks about immigrating from the UK, how she found a career path in industry, and some key insights on how she thinks about building a startup with a creative culture.

Now before we get started, a word from the sponsors of The Long Run.

Calgary is home to more than 120 life sciences companies, from emerging startups to established firms. With this critical mass of research, technical talent and expertise, the city is an active hub for life sciences innovation.

Technologies homegrown in Calgary are changing the face of healthcare. Syantra is revolutionizing breast cancer detection using artificial intelligence-derived algorithms. NanoTess is harnessing the power of nanotechnology to tackle chronic wounds and skin conditions. And this is only the beginning. Calgary’s life sciences sector is projected to spend $428 million on digital transformation by 2024.

If you’re a bright mind or bright company solving global health challenges, Calgary is the place for you. 

Take a closer look at why at calgarylifesciences.com

For Bensalem Township in Pennsylvania, going a step beyond meant taking the word ‘serial’ out of crime, thanks to DNA analysis technology. Before the introduction of this technology, processing the sample of a suspect took 18 months. But with the dedicated efforts of Director Fred Harran and Thermo Fisher Scientific’s RapidHIT ID analysis system, it now takes only 90 minutes – meaning offenders can be caught and put behind bars before they have a chance to become repeat offenders. It’s also helped prove the innocence of 16 people in the last five years.

To watch Director Harran’s story, visit www.thermofisher.com/bensalem-DNA-analysis

Now, please join me and Jo Viney on The Long Run.

 
8
Aug
2022

Assembling Accurate Genomes and Interactomes: Ivan Liachko on The Long Run

Today’s guest on The Long Run is Ivan Liachko.

Ivan the founder and CEO of Seattle-based Phase Genomics.

Ivan Liachko, founder and CEO, Phase Genomics

First off, Ivan is originally from Kiev, Ukraine. He came with his family to the US at the age of 11, around the time of the fall of the old Soviet Union. When Russia invaded Ukraine back in February, he spoke up and mobilized his team and members of the biotech community to stand with the people of Ukraine.

That was interesting. But it turns out the work at Phase Genomics is also quite interesting.

Phase Genomics is helping scientists assemble difficult to put-together genomes, and metagenomes. That’s an extra tricky form of assembly of the DNA jigsaw puzzle that comes when you have a whole bunch of microorganisms co-existing in the messiness of life you find in something like a slab of dirt. One interesting application is now being supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases. The company is creating a repository of phage – bacteria interactions – a so-called interactome – that could be used to help identify precise phage therapies that could be used to fend off scourges from drug-resistant bacteria.

Talking with Ivan reminds me of the magic that comes when the right person lands in the right place at the right time. He and I come from very different backgrounds, but we both appreciate what’s special about Seattle as a community, and the long tradition of the United States as a leader in research and entrepreneurship. He is an immigrant who has had some success, and might have quite a bit more, partly because of his own skills and initiative, but also in large part because of the surrounding community, research culture, and business traditions.

Now before we get started, a word from the sponsors of The Long Run.

Calgary is home to more than 120 life sciences companies, from emerging startups to established firms. With this critical mass of research, technical talent and expertise, the city is an active hub for life sciences innovation.

Technologies homegrown in Calgary are changing the face of healthcare. Syantra is revolutionizing breast cancer detection using artificial intelligence-derived algorithms. NanoTess is harnessing the power of nanotechnology to tackle chronic wounds and skin conditions. And this is only the beginning. Calgary’s life sciences sector is projected to spend $428 million on digital transformation by 2024.

If you’re a bright mind or bright company solving global health challenges, Calgary is the place for you. 

Take a closer look at why at calgarylifesciences.com

 

What does going a step beyond mean? For Gideon, a young boy fighting leukaemia, it meant getting a second shot at life. Through an innovative new treatment called CAR T cell therapy, Thermo Fisher Scientific supported our customers and the healthcare community to help Gideon reach full remission. Today, he is a healthy, happy eleven-year-old playing basketball and enjoying time with his family, thanks to our customers going a step beyond every single day to make a difference in the world. To watch Gideon’s story, visit www.thermofisher.com/Gideon.

Now, please join me and Ivan on The Long Run.

1 2 3 61