Ex-Celgene dealmaker George Golumbeski joins up to guide Carrick on its cancer drug quest — and maybe an IPO as well
Dublin-based Carrick Therapeutics has picked up a clinical stage cancer drug, as well as a well-connected new chairman of the board.
Ex-Celgene dealmaker George Golumbeski has added to his considerable range of activities by taking the chair at Carrick, which hit the scene two years ago with a $95 million startup round and plans to scoop up a pipeline through a series of partnering deals.
Speaking of which.
The biotech also bagged rights to CT900 from BTG, a combination of targeting folate receptor α and inhibiting thymidylate synthase. The drug had been in a small, very early-stage study for ovarian cancer, with 7 of 10 molecularly marked patients demonstrating a response to the drug.
Terms weren’t disclosed, but the drug is going into the pipeline alongside CT7001, an oral CDK7 inhibitor they got from Cancer Research UK.
Golumbeski — now president of Grail — is positioned to use some of his considerable skills and connections to help guide Carrick along. The biotech gained its backing from Arch and Woodford Investments, the co-leaders of the big A round, with more cash coming in from Google’s GV, Cambridge Enterprise Seed Funds, Cambridge Innovation Capital, Evotec AG and Lightstone Ventures.
Their money has been committed to building up a new cancer company by tapping European sources, where the science is great and the hunting may be somewhat less intense than in the US.
The goal at Carrick remains the same as it was at the beginning, says CEO Elaine Sullivan: “Build a sustainable, leading oncology biotech based in Europe.”
In Carrick’s case that meant building a core team of 12, with about 40 FTEs from outside shops dedicated to their drugs. CT900 has the potential to follow a rapid route to market, she tells me, through a pivotal program. They have more drugs on the preclinical side as well to beef up the pipeline as the biotech ponders a possible IPO.
Sullivan met Golumbeski through her work at Evotec, where she’s on the board. Golumbeski — a dealmaker with extensive global connections — helped shape research pacts between Celgene and Evotec, giving them a chance to get to know one another.