Scout­ing ear­ly-stage on­col­o­gy plays, bio­phar­ma vets Detlev Bin­iszkiewicz, Scott Chap­pel make VC de­but at MPM

Detlev Bin­iszkiewicz and Scott Chap­pel met at Sur­face On­col­o­gy, steer­ing the im­muno-on­col­o­gy up­start to­geth­er through a slate of pre­clin­i­cal pro­grams and a re­cent IPO. The ex­pe­ri­ence bring­ing an idea to life cap­ti­vat­ed both Bin­iszkiewicz — a Big Phar­ma vet — and Chap­pel, who held a streak of biotech ex­ec roles be­fore co-found­ing Sur­face. As the At­las-backed biotech got on track for hu­man stud­ies, both be­gan itch­ing to do it again. Now, af­ter a brief spell apart, they are back in the same of­fice as part of a larg­er team of “en­tre­pre­neur­ial en­gines” at MPM Cap­i­tal.

And their fo­cus re­mains clear: ear­ly-stage on­col­o­gy work.

“Most pa­tients with can­cer still don’t have a so­lu­tion. Most pa­tients with can­cer still would die with­in a fair­ly short times­pan. Fam­i­lies have of­ten no hope for those pa­tients,” Bin­iszkiewicz told me. “Un­til we have solved a dis­ease, there will be new ideas, there will be new op­por­tu­ni­ties, and there will be smart ideas. Our job is to find those op­por­tu­ni­ties.”

Eval­u­at­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties — and sup­port­ing MPM’s con­sid­er­able port­fo­lio of com­pa­nies — is half of the job, and it’s some­thing that Bin­iszkiewicz has been in­ti­mate­ly fa­mil­iar with since his No­var­tis days man­ag­ing a re­search and ear­ly de­vel­op­ment port­fo­lio. At As­traZeneca’s on­col­o­gy unit, he head­ed a group that eval­u­at­ed more than 500 li­cens­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties per year, some­thing he “tremen­dous­ly en­joyed.”

Scott Chap­pel

Mean­while, Chap­pel is jump­ing right in­to the oth­er part of their du­ty as ex­ec­u­tive part­ners by tak­ing up the chief sci­en­tif­ic of­fi­cer role at MPM-backed iTeos Ther­a­peu­tics. Hav­ing spent a good chunk of his ca­reer around the Boston/Cam­bridge hub — fea­tur­ing large and small biotechs like Gen­zyme, Serono and Arteaus — he now spends one week of every month at iTeos’ R&D op­er­a­tion just out­side of Brus­sels.

When it comes to pick­ing the com­pa­nies to in­vest in, both Bin­iszkiewicz and Chap­pel point­ed to good lead­er­ship as a key dif­fer­en­ti­at­ing fac­tor. That in­cludes both the man­age­ment team and the sci­en­tif­ic ad­vis­ers on board.

“There’s no short­age of good ideas,” Chap­pel said. “It’s re­al­ly the ex­e­cu­tion on those ideas and the fact that every plan, every re­search plan or busi­ness plan changes prob­a­bly with­in sec­onds af­ter the ink is dry. It’s re­al­ly up to an ex­pe­ri­enced man­age­ment team to be able to re­spond to bumps in the road, or changes, or new in­for­ma­tion that comes while you’re ex­e­cut­ing on that plan.”

The duo, who have start­ed work sev­er­al months ago, has joined MPM at a time an in­cred­i­ble amount of mon­ey is flow­ing in­to biotech and start­up val­u­a­tions are go­ing up. MPM it­self has been mak­ing head­lines with re­cent launch­es of 28-7 and Co­da Bio­ther­a­peu­tics. But ac­cord­ing to them, that doesn’t mean the stan­dards are any low­er.

“At least from the MPM per­spec­tive, I haven’t felt like ‘oh my God, it’s so much eas­i­er to get fund­ing than it was five years ago,’” Chap­pel said.

Af­ter all, it’s the sci­en­tif­ic and busi­ness rig­or each ex­ec­u­tive part­ner brings, com­pound­ed with the firm’s rep­u­ta­tion for high qual­i­ty, that drew both Bin­iszkiewicz and Chap­pel to MPM in the first place.

“It’s dif­fi­cult to de­scribe, but an en­vi­ron­ment where you en­cour­age each oth­er to de­vel­op new ideas and to ex­e­cute on ideas,” Bin­iszkiewicz said, “it’s quite spe­cial.”

BiTE® Plat­form and the Evo­lu­tion To­ward Off-The-Shelf Im­muno-On­col­o­gy Ap­proach­es

Despite rapid advances in the field of immuno-oncology that have transformed the cancer treatment landscape, many cancer patients are still left behind.1,2 Not every person has access to innovative therapies designed specifically to treat his or her disease. Many currently available immuno-oncology-based approaches and chemotherapies have brought long-term benefits to some patients — but many patients still need other therapeutic options.3

Fangliang Zhang (Imaginechina via AP Images)

The big mon­ey: Poised to make drug R&D his­to­ry, a Chi­na biotech un­veils uni­corn rac­ing am­bi­tions in a bid to raise $350M-plus on Nas­daq

Almost exactly three years after Shanghai-based Legend came out of nowhere to steal the show at ASCO with jaw-dropping data on their BCMA-targeted CAR-T for multiple myeloma, the little player with Big Pharma connections is taking a giant step toward making it big on Wall Street. And this time they want to seal the deal on a global rep after staking out a unicorn valuation in what’s turned out to be a bull market for biotech IPOs — in the middle of a pandemic.

Endpoints Premium

Premium subscription required

Unlock this article along with other benefits by subscribing to one of our paid plans.

IPOs abound in the time of coro­n­avirus, as For­ma Ther­a­peu­tics pen­cils in $150M Nas­daq de­but

The IPO engine is thriving, never mind the rampage of the coronavirus crisis on R&D timelines.

On Friday, along with synthetic lethality-focused biotech Repare Therapeutics, another Bristol Myers partner Forma Therapeutics also unveiled its plans to vault on to the Nasdaq — penciling in a target of $150 million.

The Watertown, Massachusetts-based company — which poached senior Genentech executive Frank Lee to take over the reins last year after more than a decade under founder Steve Tregay — raised a plump $100 million late last year, while shepherding its sickle cell disease (SCD) drug through an early-stage trial.

Len Schleifer (left) and George Yancopoulos, Regeneron (Vimeo)

Eyes on he­mo­phil­ia prize, Re­gen­eron adds a $100M wa­ger on joint de­vel­op­ment cam­paign with In­tel­lia

When George Yancopoulos first signed up Intellia to be its CRISPR/Cas9 partner on gene editing projects 4 years ago, the upstart smartly ramped up its IPO at the same time. Today, Regeneron $REGN is coming back in, adding $100 million in an upfront fee and equity to significantly boot up a whole roster of new development projects.

And they’re highlighting some clinical hemophilia research plans in the process.

Endpoints News

Keep reading Endpoints with a free subscription

Unlock this story instantly and join 81,900+ biopharma pros reading Endpoints daily — and it's free.

Iterum's fu­ture looks un­cer­tain, af­ter lead an­tibi­ot­ic fails con­sec­u­tive piv­otal stud­ies

While the market for antibiotics remains in tatters — unlike many of its bankrupt (or at the brink of bankruptcy) peers — Iterum is suffering not because its antibiotic isn’t selling, but because the compound has now failed back-to-back late-stage studies.

The experimental drug, sulopenem, was designed to tackle drug-resistant infections with an outpatient focus (in addition to hospitals), to avert those reimbursement challenges that incentivize hospitals to prescribe cheaper, generic broad-spectrum antibiotics.

Covid-19 roundup: Did in­sid­ers cash in on pos­i­tive news re­port about Gilead be­fore pub­li­ca­tion?

A series of bullish trades on Gilead options just before the release of a favorable news story is raising questions among regulatory experts, Reuters reported.

On April 16, just hours before STAT published anecdotes from a Chicago hospital that served as one of the clinical sites to test Gilead’s remdesivir in Covid-19 patients, the California-based company’s shares were trading at around $75. Four large blocks of options were purchased for about $1.5 million each, betting that the stock would rise beyond that to as much as $87.5 by mid-August.

Endpoints News

Keep reading Endpoints with a free subscription

Unlock this story instantly and join 81,900+ biopharma pros reading Endpoints daily — and it's free.

Ver­sant-backed, Bris­tol My­ers-stamped Re­pare Ther­a­peu­tics guns for $100M IPO

With a Bristol Myers Squibb endorsement in tow, Versant-backed cancer drug developer Repare Therapeutics has set its sights on a Nasdaq debut.

On Friday, the Montreal-based company with operations in Cambridge, Massachusetts that is yet to enter the clinic, unveiled plans for a $100 million IPO, banking on its “synthetic lethality” platform.

The basic idea is to target the genetic basis of tumors, a common idea across precision oncology medicines. But instead of targeting the perpetrator mutation directly, the compound is designed to go after the other gene in the gene pair. The rationale is based on the decades-old genetic principle that indicates two mutations are lethal only when combined together.

Pablo Legorreta, founder and CEO of Royalty Pharma AG, speaks at the annual Milken Institute Global Conference in Beverly Hills, California (Patrick T. Fallon/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Cap­i­tal­iz­ing Pablo: The world’s biggest drug roy­al­ty buy­er is go­ing pub­lic. And the low-key CEO di­vulges a few se­crets along the way

Pablo Legorreta is one of the most influential players in biopharma you likely never heard of.

Over the last 24 years, Legorreta’s Royalty Pharma group has become, by its own reckoning, the biggest buyer of drug royalties in the world. The CEO and founder has bought up a stake in a lengthy list of the world’s biggest drug franchises, spending $18 billion in the process — $2.2 billion last year alone. And he’s become one of the best-paid execs in the industry, reaping $28 million from the cash flow last year while reserving 20% of the cash flow, less expenses, for himself.

Endpoints News

Keep reading Endpoints with a free subscription

Unlock this story instantly and join 81,900+ biopharma pros reading Endpoints daily — and it's free.

Ab­b­Vie grabs SHP2 in­hibitors from Chi­na's Ja­co­bio; Chi-Med set on US fil­ing of su­r­u­fa­tinib

AbbVie has found its next targeted cancer therapy in China, licensing a suite of SHP2 inhibitors from Beijing-based Jacobio. A key node on the RAS/MAP kinase pathway, SHP2 helps drive abnormal cell growth and plays a role in cytokine production as well as immune cell response — which gives two good reasons to block it. Jacobio has so far developed two early-stage oral small molecule candidates, and they will complete early clinical trials on AbbVie’s tab before handing off to the pharma giant.