Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center
and pediatrics partner Seattle Children's Research Institute join together to
launch Juno Therapeutics Inc.
Company founded with $120M initial investment, among largest fully committed
Series A for a biotech startup in history
Juno to develop broad pipeline of potentially revolutionary cancer immunotherapy
NEW YORK and SEATTLE, Dec. 4, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Fred
Hutchinson Cancer Research Center (Fred Hutch) and Memorial Sloan-Kettering
Cancer Center (MSKCC), along with pediatric partner Seattle Children's Research
Institute, have joined forces to launch Juno Therapeutics Inc., a new
biotechnology company focused on bringing forward novel immunotherapies for
Juno is being launched with an initial investment of $120M, making it one of the
largest Series A biotech startups in history. Initial investors include leading
technology venture capital firm ARCH Venture Partners and the Alaska Permanent
Fund, through a partnership managed by Crestline Investors. Chief Executive
Officer Hans Bishop, a longtime biotech industry veteran, will lead the company.
Commenting on the launch of Juno, Larry Corey, M.D., president and director of
Fred Hutch, said, "The longtime research investment that centers like the Fred
Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and Memorial Sloan-Kettering have had in tumor
immunology has allowed us to progress to where we feel we can genetically
engineer smart T cells to eradicate malignant cancer cells and provide
meaningful clinical remissions. Joining together allows us to bring some of the
world's most accomplished immunotherapy researchers to catalyze this field."
Jose Baselga, M.D., Ph.D., physician-in-chief at MSKCC, said, "Based on the
significant anti-tumor activity seen with this T-cell engineering technology, we
are pursuing an aggressive and comprehensive clinical development plan to
accelerate achievement of regulatory requirements and make this therapy
available to cancer patients in the shortest period of time possible."
Robert Nelsen, ARCH co-founder and managing director and Juno co-founder, said,
"The initial data from the clinical trials conducted by the scientific founders
to date points toward the strong potential for this team to bring forward a
broad pipeline of immunotherapy products that will transform how we treat
Michael Burns, executive director of Alaska Permanent Fund, added, "Juno
presents a compelling opportunity to partner with a sophisticated management
team and group of world-class research institutions who share our long-term
perspective. At a time when public financing for clinical development has
largely dried up, the private-sector model is critical to allowing ventures like
Juno to push the frontiers of research."
Juno's approach focuses on harnessing the power of the immune system through the
reprogramming of a type of immune cell called T lymphocytes ("T cells"). T cells
are part of the body's natural protective defense system against infection, and
Juno's technology reprograms T cells to recognize cancer cells for a precision
immunologic attack. Using synthetic receptors and/or augmented natural antigen
receptors, Juno's T cell reprogramming technologies enable the creation of a
powerful anti-tumor immune response built from the patient's own immune system.
This transformative approach has the potential to induce long-term remissions
and reduce or eliminate the need for debilitating surgery, radiation and
"The tumor regressions we are seeing across our Phase I trials at Memorial
Sloan-Kettering, Fred Hutch and Seattle Children's Research Institute are
unprecedented," said Michael Jensen, M.D., director of the Ben Towne Center for
Childhood Cancer Research at Seattle Children's Research Institute and a
scientific co-founder of Juno. "I believe this is a transformative therapeutic
platform for patients young and old that has the potential to save lives."
Richard Klausner, M.D., co-founder of Juno and former director of the National
Cancer Institute, added, "In more than 30 years of immunotherapy research, this
is the most exciting data I've seen--a complete molecular response in clinical
Juno's partner organizations and founding scientists are:
-- Fred Hutch: Phil Greenberg, M.D., head of the Immunology Program and
member, Clinical Research Division; Stanley Riddell, M.D., member,
Clinical Research Division.
-- Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center: Renier J. Brentjens, M.D.,
Ph.D., medical oncologist and director of cellular therapeutics;
Isabelle Riviere, Ph.D., director of the Cell Therapy and Cell
Engineering Facility; and Michel Sadelain, M.D., Ph.D., director of the
Center for Cell Engineering.
-- Seattle Children's Research Institute: Michael Jensen, M.D., director of
the Ben Towne Center for Childhood Cancer Research.
Juno's co-founders are:
-- Hans Bishop, CEO of Juno and former executive vice president and chief
operating officer of Dendreon Corporation;
-- Larry Corey, M.D., president and director of Fred Hutchinson Cancer
-- Richard Klausner, M.D., former director of the National Cancer
-- Robert Nelsen, co-founder and a managing director of ARCH Venture
Juno CEO Hans Bishop noted, "Juno brings together renowned scientists and
exceptional investment partners to launch and quickly scale an enterprise that
will deliver cutting-edge cancer immunotherapy. It is a completely unique
opportunity that holds the potential to truly save lives while transforming how
we treat cancer."
Juno is a clinical stage company that brings together three of the world's
leading cancer centers - Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Memorial
Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center and Seattle Children's Research Institute - in
unique partnership to advance a broad pipeline of potential curative
immunotherapy treatments. With one of the largest ever Series A investments for
a biotech startup, Juno will build on breakthroughs in the design of novel
immunotherapies to develop two distinct and complementary platforms - chimeric
antigen receptors (CARs) and T-cell receptors (TCRs). The CAR technology is
designed to target cell surface antigens that are expressed on cancer cells. In
addition, the high-affinity TCR technology can also detect alterations in
intracellular proteins present in tumor cells. These treatments reduce
longer-term toxicities associated with current chemotherapeutics and provide the
potential for curative therapy even for patients with widespread disease. Juno's
goal is to drive multiple product candidates in select hematologic and solid
tumor cancers to FDA licensure. Each candidate has the potential to treat a
variety of high-risk cancers. To learn more, visit www.junotherapeutics.com.
About Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center
At Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, home to three Nobel laureates,
interdisciplinary teams of world-renowned scientists seek new and innovative
ways to prevent, diagnose and treat cancer, HIV/AIDS and other life-threatening
diseases. Fred Hutch's pioneering work in bone marrow transplantation led to the
development of immunotherapy, which harnesses the power of the immune system to
treat cancer with minimal side effects. An independent, nonprofit research
institute based in Seattle, Fred Hutch houses the nation's first and largest
cancer prevention research program, as well as the clinical coordinating center
of the Women's Health Initiative and the international headquarters of the HIV
Vaccine Trials Network. For more information visit www.fredhutch.org or follow
Fred Hutch on Facebook, Twitter or YouTube.
About Memorial Sloan-Kettering
Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center is the world's oldest and largest private
cancer center with more than 125 years devoted to exceptional patient care,
innovative research, and outstanding educational programs. Memorial
Sloan-Kettering is one of 41 National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive
Cancer Centers, with state-of-the-art science flourishing side by side with
clinical studies and treatment.
The close collaboration between physicians and scientists enables Memorial
Sloan-Kettering to provide patients with the best care available as they work to
discover more-effective strategies to prevent, control, and ultimately cure
cancer in the future. Memorial Sloan-Kettering's education programs train future
physicians and scientists, and the knowledge and experience they gain at
Memorial Sloan-Kettering has an impact on cancer treatment and biomedical
research around the world. For more information visit the MSKCC Center for Cell
About Seattle Children's Research Institute
Located in downtown Seattle's biotech corridor, Seattle Children's Research
Institute is pushing the boundaries of medical research to find cures for
pediatric diseases and improve outcomes for children all over the world.
Internationally recognized investigators and staff at the research institute are
advancing new discoveries in cancer, genetics, immunology, pathology, infectious
disease, injury prevention and bioethics, among others. As part of Seattle
Children's, the research institute brings together leading minds in pediatric
research to provide patients with the best care possible. Seattle Children's
serves as the primary teaching, clinical and research site for the Department of
Pediatrics at the University of Washington School of Medicine, which
consistently ranks as one of the best pediatric departments in the country.
SOURCE Juno Therapeutics Inc.