Gary Glick, Keith Flaherty

What can a biotech en­tre­pre­neur and a top sci­en­tist come up with on a cou­ple of shared flights? Well...

Just weeks be­fore the pan­dem­ic hit the states, Gary Glick and Kei­th Fla­her­ty had a chance to spend 12 hours to­geth­er, talk­ing craft and trade on board shared flights as they head­ed to and from a board meet­ing to­geth­er.

It may have been the most fruit­ful 12 hours of Glick’s pro­duc­tive life. They cer­tain­ly found plen­ty to talk about.

Glick, a well known biotech en­tre­pre­neur and in­flam­ma­to­ry spe­cial­ist, had bumped up to ex­ec­u­tive chair at IFM Ther­a­peu­tics just weeks be­fore, af­ter run­ning through a slate of siz­able deals with some ma­jor phar­ma play­ers like No­var­tis.

Kei­th Fla­her­ty is one of the lead­ing on­col­o­gy sci­en­tists in the Boston area, which is say­ing a lot. A Har­vard med pro­fes­sor and di­rec­tor of clin­i­cal re­search at the Mass­a­chu­setts Gen­er­al Hos­pi­tal Can­cer Cen­ter, he co-found­ed Loxo, which Eli Lil­ly bought out for $8 bil­lion.

To­geth­er, they’ve hatched a new biotech in Boston with a wicked name — Scor­pi­on — and plans to make waves in the can­cer field. And At­las — which was well re­ward­ed by Glick’s run at IFM — is step­ping up to help lead a $108 mil­lion mega launch round to get them on their way.

Now, about that name…

“We’re putting the sting to can­cer, so to speak,” Glick tells me. He adds: “We have a pipeline. We have a num­ber of pro­grams that we’re look­ing on that we’re very ex­cit­ed about.”

Gad­dy Getz

The mis­sion state­ment is big and bold:

[That new mon­ey] will be used to ad­vance Pre­ci­sion On­col­o­gy 2.0., the next wave in pre­ci­sion med­i­cine, with the goal of de­liv­er­ing best- and first-in-class small mol­e­cule drugs that are safe and well-tol­er­at­ed and that can pro­vide deep­er, more durable re­spons­es to many more peo­ple with can­cer.

But de­tails are in short sup­ply. Like a lot of star­tups, even with mon­ey in the bank, there’s no up­side in be­ing too spe­cif­ic too ear­ly. Not with this com­pet­i­tive land­scape.

Aside from Fla­her­ty, Glick has sur­round­ed him­self with sev­er­al top play­ers, in­clud­ing:

Gad­dy Getz: Di­rec­tor of the Can­cer Genome Com­pu­ta­tion­al Analy­sis Group at the Broad In­sti­tute of MIT and Har­vard. He di­rects bioin­for­mat­ics re­search and holds an en­dowed chair at the Mass­a­chu­setts Gen­er­al Hos­pi­tal Can­cer Cen­ter.

Liron Bar-Peled

Liron Bar-Peled: An as­sis­tant pro­fes­sor of med­i­cine at Har­vard Med­ical School and the Can­cer Cen­ter at Mass­a­chu­setts Gen­er­al Hos­pi­tal. His lab has made key con­tri­bu­tions to un­der­stand­ing how cells sense and re­spond to ox­ida­tive stress and de­vel­op­ing small mol­e­cule in­hibitors against dif­fi­cult-to-drug can­cer dri­vers.

And that all helped loop in the mon­ey peo­ple. Jean-François Formela at At­las is back for Glick, chip­ping in new mon­ey. Ar­jun Goy­al, co-founder and man­ag­ing di­rec­tor at Vi­da Ven­tures, is on board as a co-lead. Vi­da has plen­ty of on­col­o­gy spe­cial­ists in the mix, in­clud­ing Arie Bellde­grun. They joined up with Omega.

Pauli­na Hill

“Scor­pi­on’s de­liv­ery of Pre­ci­sion On­col­o­gy 2.0 is smart and sys­tem­at­ic. Even in the midst of the COVID-19 pan­dem­ic, the com­pa­ny has as­sem­bled a renowned team, built a cut­ting edge dis­cov­ery en­gine, and es­tab­lished a ro­bust pre­clin­i­cal pipeline,” said Pauli­na Hill at Omega Funds.

Abing­worth and Part­ners Health­Care In­no­va­tion al­so con­tributed to the round.

We’ll find out more about what Glick, Fla­her­ty & Co. have in mind for can­cer. Right now, the scor­pi­on is keep­ing its stinger un­der wraps. But with $100 mil­lion to play with, the game plan has to be quite de­tailed.

5AM Ven­tures: Fu­el­ing the Next Gen­er­a­tion of In­no­va­tors

By RBC Capital Markets
With Andy Schwab, Co-Founder and Managing Partner at 5AM Ventures

Key Points

Prescription Digital Therapeutics, cell therapy technologies, and in silico medicines will be a vital part of future treatment modalities.
Unlocking the potential of the microbiome could be the missing link to better disease diagnosis.
Growing links between academia, industry, and venture capital are spinning out more innovative biotech companies.
Biotech is now seen by investors as a growth space as well as a safe haven, fuelling the recent IPO boom.

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