A Bay Area upstart with legendary godfathers breaks cover, touting claims of a curative tech, unicorn status and a $300M plan to shoot for an approval
Back in the ‘90s, Sandoz — later Novartis — forged some big plans around an Irv Weissman startup called SyStemix. Isolating and purifying cells, the legendary Stanford researcher was after a new way to reboot a patient’s blood-forming systems — a potential lifesaver for cancer patients who often end up in need of a bone marrow transplant following chemo.
Novartis ended up buying the whole company, only to scrap it after being confronted by the investment of time and money needed — alongside challenges in scaling up the process to commercial levels. Weissman wasn’t happy about it, but eventually the IP made its way home to San Francisco.
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