- Industry veteran Tony Coles sold Onyx Pharmaceuticals to Amgen for $10.4 billion last year.
- Six months ago, Susan Lindquist, a researcher at MIT's Whitehead Institute (and a friend of Coles') called him to discuss his participation in a start-up—Yumanity Therapeutics, which will focus on CNS diseases, such as ALS and Parkinson's disease.
- The company is in start-up mode, but it already has a lead candidate for Parkinson's disease.
Both Coles and Lindquist come to their Yumanity venture with a great deal of experience, combining Coles' acumen and biotech business experience and Lindquist's R&D experience, including her focus on protein misfolding.
In the next 20 years, the number of patients suffering from neurodegenerative diseases is expected to double, with costs going up from a current $650 billion to $1 trillion by 2030. Clearly, the medical need is there—and these two vets are prepared to respond.
But they'll have some stiff competition from big names like Google's hot new life sciences firm Calico, which is also centered on fighting aging-related diseases and has already secured a development deal for a Parkinson's and ALS-fighting compound.