Strategic Seed Investors Include Kite Pharma Founder, Arie Belldegrun, M.D., FACS, Chairman of Gilead Sciences, John Martin, Ph.D., Norbert Bischofberger, Ph.D., Omega Funds and Vida Ventures
Cambridge, Mass., May 23, 2018 – Kronos Bio, Inc. (Kronos), a Two River portfolio company, today announced the appointment of Norbert Bischofberger, Ph.D. as its President and Chief Executive Officer and completion of an $18 million seed financing. Prior to joining Kronos, Dr. Bischofberger was at Gilead Sciences for almost 30 years, where he most recently served as Executive Vice President, Research and Development and Chief Scientific Officer until April 2018.
The financing was led by a number of industry leaders and venture capital funds, including Omega Funds, BellCo Capital, John Martin, Ph.D., Norbert Bischofberger, Ph.D., and Vida Ventures, LLC. As part of this financing, Drs. Bischofberger and Martin, as well as Rebecka Belldegrun, M.D., and Otello Stampacchia, Ph.D. joined the company’s Board of Directors.
Kronos is researching and developing first-in-class therapies against historically intractable targets. Its technology is based on over a decade of research by Kronos’ Scientific Founder, Angela Koehler, Ph.D., into high-throughput screening strategies for chemical modulators of transcription factors and other recalcitrant targets in oncology. By combining small molecule microarrays (SMM) with extensive know-how in biological assay development, Kronos’ technology platform enables high- throughput screens of chemical libraries against target proteins in a more physiologically-relevant context. This approach is ideally suited for rapid discovery of unique ligands that can be utilized in the generation of novel modulators or degraders of challenging targets such as transcription factors.
“Kronos’ technology creates the opportunity to fundamentally challenge the historic belief that certain targets should not be pursued,” said Dr. John Martin. “Norbert is ideally positioned to shepherd this exciting technology into the next stage of development. I am thrilled to have the opportunity to work with Norbert again to accelerate the progress of this novel technology to generate lead compounds.”
“The future of our industry belongs to companies who dare to be first,” said Dr. Arie Belldegrun, Chairman of Kronos’ Board of Directors. “Angela’s innovative research combined with Norbert’s expertise and track record of success, provides Kronos the opportunity to discover first-in-class treatments for some of the most elusive targets in oncology.”
Dr. Bischofberger was part of the early formation of Gilead Sciences. He joined the company in 1990 and served as Executive Vice President for Research and Development from 1999 to 2018 and Chief Scientific Officer from 2007 to 2018. Prior to joining Gilead, Dr. Bischofberger was a Senior Scientist in Genentech’s DNA Synthesis Group from 1986 until 1990. He received a Ph.D. in organic chemistry from Zurich’s Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule and performed postdoctoral research in steroid chemistry at Syntex. Dr. Bischofberger also performed additional research in organic chemistry and
applied enzymology in Professor George Whiteside’s lab at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
“The science behind Kronos is compelling. At its core, it focuses on solutions, not limitations. It is some of the most exciting technology I’ve come across and it opens a new door for applied chemistry to solve some of the greatest challenges we face in the industry today,” said Dr. Norbert Bischofberger. “When I started at Gilead, we had approximately 25 employees. I am excited to apply the wisdom and experience I’ve gained and return to my roots in early stage biotechnology.”
Kronos is currently advancing two preclinical programs built upon hits identified from the SMM platform, targeting MYC and the Androgen Receptor (AR). The MYC family of transcription factors are master regulators of cell proliferation and differentiation, and MYC expression is dysregulated in a large proportion of human cancers. Kronos is currently pursuing lead compounds that have demonstrated activity in multiple MYC-driven cancer models. The Androgen Receptor (AR) is a primary driver of disease progression in prostate cancer. Kronos is progressing multiple hit series that target AR and its splice variants and have been shown to reduce viability and AR expression in treatment-resistant cell lines.
“While we can lay the framework in an academic setting, the speed with which progress can be made with the right team of commercial scientists is greatly accelerated. This next stage of development will uncover the real therapeutic potential of this research for patients,” said Dr. Angela Koehler,
Assistant Professor, Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and a Scientific Founder of Kronos. “I am thrilled to have the opportunity to work closely with Norbert and together advance our research to benefit patients with intractable cancers.”
Kronos Bio, Inc. is a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company dedicated to the discovery and development of novel cancer therapeutics designed to transform patient outcomes by targeting dysregulated transcription.
# # #