David Grainger (Medicxi)

Medicxi co-founder David Grainger gets his oth­er foot in Centes­sa's door as chief in­no­va­tion of­fi­cer

Centes­sa Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals was built on the promise of scal­ing up Medicxi’s as­set-cen­tric mod­el with 10 of the VC firm’s port­fo­lio com­pa­nies and their in­di­vid­ual pro­grams un­der the same roof. But the crew wasn’t go­ing to stop there.

In­stead, now that the biotech has com­plet­ed its IPO, un­veiled the first batch of proof-of-con­cept da­ta from one of its 11 sub­sidiaries and — just a day ago — tapped in­to a fresh $300 mil­lion well of fi­nanc­ing, Centes­sa has set its sights on “strate­gic busi­ness de­vel­op­ment op­por­tu­ni­ties.”

David Grainger, co-founder and (un­til this move) chief sci­en­tif­ic ad­vi­sor at Medicxi, will help dri­ve ex­act­ly that. This means he still step down from a full time po­si­tion at Medicxi, Centes­sa con­firmed to End­points News.

As Centes­sa’s first-ever chief in­no­va­tion of­fi­cer, Grainger will be tasked with the “over­all man­age­ment of the sci­en­tif­ic and re­search ac­tiv­i­ties,” in­clud­ing dis­cov­ery ef­forts and can­di­date se­lec­tion, while work­ing with the lead­er­ship team in each of the Centes­sa com­pa­nies and pro­vid­ing guid­ance to them.

“David will be par­tic­u­lar­ly fo­cused on bring­ing in­no­v­a­tive dis­cov­ery and ear­ly de­vel­op­ment ap­proach­es to dri­ve pipeline de­vel­op­ment at Centes­sa com­pa­nies,” CEO Saurabh Sa­ha wrote in an email. “He will al­so spend time help­ing eval­u­ate new op­por­tu­ni­ties for Centes­sa. This in­cor­po­rates the ma­jor­i­ty of what you would ex­pect from a CSO but with an ad­di­tion­al fo­cus on chang­ing the way we dis­cov­er and de­vel­op med­i­cines to com­bine the best as­pects of R&D in both larg­er and small­er com­pa­ny en­vi­ron­ments.”

Saurabh Sa­ha

In a state­ment, Sa­ha point­ed to Grainger’s ex­per­tise in com­pa­ny for­ma­tion as key to eval­u­at­ing new can­di­dates for pipeline ex­pan­sion.

Grainger co-found­ed Z Fac­tor, one of the Medicxi star­tups that got rolled in­to Centes­sa, to­geth­er with Jim Hunt­ing­ton. Through­out his ca­reer, he’s been in­volved in cre­at­ing 27 more biotechs.

Sa­ha hint­ed that he al­so played a role in sup­port­ing Medicxi col­league Francesco De Ru­ber­tis in se­lect­ing the 16 pro­grams that went in­to Centes­sa, cred­it­ing Grainger as a “vi­tal part­ner and ad­vi­sor.”

For Grainger, it means low­er­ing his time com­mit­ment to Medicxi to a con­sult­ing ca­pac­i­ty. His cur­rent pro­file de­scribes him as a “ven­ture ad­vi­sor.”

“I’ve been close­ly in­volved in the cre­ation of Centes­sa and am ex­cit­ed about the op­por­tu­ni­ties across the pipeline and work­ing close­ly with Saurabh and rest of the lead­er­ship team,” Grainger told End­points. “By jump­ing in­to a full-time op­er­a­tions role I feel I can have the biggest im­pact, bring­ing in­no­v­a­tive med­i­cines to pa­tients as quick­ly as pos­si­ble, while cre­at­ing sig­nif­i­cant val­ue for Centes­sa share­hold­ers.”

Up­dat­ed to add com­ments from Sa­ha and Grainger.

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The dynamic in the biotech market has been highly volatile in the last few years, from the high peaks immediately after the COVID vaccine in 2021, to the lowest downturns of the last 20 years in 2022. This uncertainty makes calling the exact timing of the market’s turn something of a fool’s errand, according to Dr. Chen Yu, Founder and Managing Partner of TCG Crossover (TCG X). He speaks with RBC’s Noël Brown, Head of US Biotechnology Investment Banking, about the market’s road ahead and two possible paths for growth.

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Fireside chat between Hal Barron and John Carroll, UKBIO19

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Car­olyn Bertozzi (Illustration: Assistant editor Kathy Wong for Endpoints News)

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Carolyn Bertozzi, predicted by some to become a Nobel laureate, clinched one of the world’s top awards in the wee hours of Wednesday, winning the Nobel Prize in Chemistry alongside a repeat winner and a Copenhagen researcher.

The Stanford professor, Morten Meldal of University of Copenhagen and 2001-awardee K. Barry Sharpless of Scripps shared the prize equally. The Nobel is sometimes split in quarters and/or halves.

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Takeda on Tuesday morning made an announcement that almost 3,000 people with the rare disease known as hypoparathyroidism were fearing.

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The drug, known as omecamtiv mecarbil, read out its first Phase III in November 2020, hitting the primary endpoint of reducing the odds of hospitalization or other urgent care for heart failure by 8%. But it also missed a key secondary endpoint analysts had pegged as the key to breaking into the market, failing to significantly differ in reducing cardiovascular death from placebo.

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Robert Arch, OncoSec Medical CEO

Pen­ny stock, Mer­ck part­ner lays off 45% of staff to reach PhII read­out by ear­ly 2023

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New Chroma Medicine board member Jeff Marrazzo

Jeff Mar­raz­zo has found a buzzy new biotech cause to cham­pi­on. And once again, he's all in

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