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Igenica appoints Dr. Mike Rothe as CEO after closing Series A financing
Former CSO of U3 Pharma joins innovative antibody therapeutics company in Burlingame
Burlingame, CA, March 9th, 2009 – Igenica, Inc., an antibody therapeutics discovery company, today announced that it has closed a Series A financing with leading venture capital investors and appointed Dr. Mike Rothe as Chief Executive Officer. Dr. Rothe will leave his post as Managing Director and CSO of U3 Pharma AG to lead Igenica, Inc. The Series A round was led by The Column Group, and joined by 5AM Ventures and OrbiMed Advisors.
Igenica integrates two innovative technology platforms for antigen and antibody discovery to address the major challenges to developing effective antibodies with sTAg, a new approach to discovering and prioritizing novel antigens, and iTAb, a functional in vivo antibody screening approach. Co-founders Dr. Robert Schreiber from Washington University in St. Louis chairs the Scientific Advisory Board, and Dr. Guoqing Chen, formerly at Amgen, serves full time as VP of Research. Dr. Schreiber is an internationally recognized tumor immunologist. Dr. Chen comments, “It has been great to work with Dr. Schreiber; he brings decades of relevant expertise to our collaboration at Igenica.” The team has recruited several world renowned scientists and oncologists to the Scientific Advisory Board to guide the prioritization and development of Igenica’s programs.
“There is no question that antibodies are fundamentally changing the landscape of cancer therapeutics, and I am excited by Igenica’s innovations,” says Dr. Rothe. “I believe that the traditional approaches may miss promising lead antibodies since they often emphasize affinity rather than function, and Igenica’s technology should identify better anti-cancer therapeutics. I have been very impressed by both the science and the founders, and I am looking forward to working closely with Dr. David Goeddel again who will serve as the Chairman.”
Dr. Rothe’s experience is ideally-suited to guide Igenica. Dr. Rothe has over 15 years of industry experience starting with his role as a visiting scientist at Genentech and a team leader at Tularik Inc. He served as the CSO of DeveloGen and co-founded U3 Pharma in July of 2001. At U3 Pharma, Dr. Rothe oversaw R&D and contributed prominently to all business matters. “Mike is not only a great scientist, he has first-hand experience in building a successful company from the ground up,” comments Dr. Goeddel. “I have known and worked with Mike for many years. His involvement will bring operating knowledge and a strong industry focus to Igenica.”
Igenica raised $6.2M in a Series A financing in December of 2008. The round was led by The Column Group, with 5AM Ventures and OrbiMed Advisors as co-investors. Dr. David Goeddel serves as the Chairman of the Board, joined by Drs. John Diekman from 5AM Ventures, Carl Gordon from OrbiMed Advisors and newly appointed CEO Mike Rothe. Igenica co-founder Dr. Schreiber represents the common shareholders on the Board.
Igenica’s mission is to discover and develop breakthrough antibody-based therapeutics to address the unmet needs of cancer patients. Igenica has two innovative technology platforms for antigen and antibody discovery. The first platform permits the identification of new antigens that are amenable to antibody targeting in cancer settings. The second platform provides an unbiased, systematic and de novo methodology for screening antibody drug candidates that are effective in eliminating or controlling cancer. Collectively, the two technology platforms drive Igenica’s drug discovery efforts and promise to identify novel and more effective cancer therapeutics. www.igenica.com.