On January 11, 2017, the Gladstone Institutes hosted a reception for attendees of the 35th annual J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference—the largest healthcare investment symposium in the industry. At the Caldwell Snyder Gallery in San Francisco, scientists, investors, and life science leaders from around the world gathered to discuss scientific discoveries, partnering opportunities, and investment strategies involving Gladstone’s research.
“New organizational models at Gladstone have helped us to partner with industry in unique and exciting ways,” said Kevin Mullane, PhD, director of corporate ventures and translation at Gladstone. “At this event, we foster our existing partnerships and introduce industry and business leaders to Gladstone to give them a deeper understanding of the work we do.”
To encourage new partnerships, Gladstone launched BioFulcrum in January 2015. This new entity speeds the discovery of cures for major diseases by bringing scientists, new research technologies, and industry leaders together to do research that exceeds the capacity of any single laboratory.
The first biopharmaceutical company formed by BioFulcrum was Tenaya Therapeutics, Inc., late last year. The company combines Gladstone’s basic science expertise in regenerative medicine and heart failure with resources from the biotechnology industry. It was co-founded by Deepak Srivastava, MD, Benoit Bruneau, PhD, Bruce Conklin, MD, Sheng Ding, PhD, and Saptarsi Haldar, MD, at Gladstone, as well as Eric Olson, PhD, from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center.
Tenaya is supported by financing from The Column Group. David Goeddel, PhD, a managing partner at The Column Group and a pioneer of the biotechnology industry, is the board chair of Tenaya. JJ Kang, PhD, a principal at The Column Group, is a board director and president of the new company.
“The key ingredients for a successful company are a great team and great ideas,” said Goeddel. “With the stellar group of scientists that we’ve assembled, we’re confident that we will be able to build something transformative from the cutting-edge research of the Gladstone Institutes.”
BioFulcrum is exploring new opportunities in neurological conditions, including Alzheimer’s disease and multiple sclerosis.
In addition to BioFulcrum, Gladstone created a for-profit holding company named Cure Network Ventures, Inc. This company was designed to attract partners and investors to help Gladstone’s discoveries reach their full potential in the clinic.
“It is challenging to take basic science discoveries from the laboratory and into drug design. Critical steps are often beyond the financial resources of conventional academic funding,” said Stephen Freedman, PhD, vice president of corporate liaison and ventures at Gladstone. “Cure Network Ventures helps Gladstone to make strategic investment decisions to fund opportunities that arise from the expertise and discoveries at Gladstone.”
The first company formed with Cure Network Ventures is Cure Network Dolby Acceleration Partners, LLC, a business involving Gladstone and Dolby Family Ventures. This new company, led by Lennart Mucke, MD, will speed the translation of Gladstone’s scientific discoveries into potential therapies for Alzheimer’s disease.
“At Gladstone, we encourage and support opportunities to translate our research and expertise into medical therapies that can change the lives of patients,” said R. Sanders “Sandy” Williams, MD, president of Gladstone, who welcomed attendees to the reception. “By creating strategic partnerships, we can ensure that our collaborative relationships are successful and bring new opportunities to fruition.”