Gideon Bollag, Opna Bio CEO

Plexxikon vets kick off new drug dis­cov­ery out­fit — with old as­sets and new tar­get

Dai­ichi Sankyo shut down its South San Fran­cis­co sub­sidiary Plexxikon ear­li­er this year. Now a new start­up is look­ing to forge its own path — with 10 Plexxikon vet­er­ans, five as­sets from the now-de­funct biotech and a fo­cus around a new tar­get.

Op­na Bio, led by ex-Plexxikon CEO Gideon Bol­lag, an­nounced its emer­gence from stealth this morn­ing — com­bined with a $38 mil­lion Se­ries A round.

Plexxikon, bought out by Dai­ichi in 2011 for $935 mil­lion, was shut down ear­li­er this year as the Japan­ese phar­ma planned to stream­line ef­forts to fur­ther R&D in­to En­her­tu and two oth­er AD­Cs. The com­pa­ny, which was found­ed more than two decades ago, pushed two can­cer ther­a­pies all the way past the FDA: the Roche-part­nered Zelb­o­raf for melanoma, and Tu­ralio for tenosyn­ovial gi­ant cell tu­mors in 2019.

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