Langer nanoparticle startup Blend bags $16M funding and new CEO
It's not even a year old yet and Blend Therapeutics, one of Robert Langer's startups with a focus on nanoparticle delivery, has scored both $16 million in Series B financing and Mark Iwicki as its new president and CEO. Iwicki has more than 23 years of experience in the industry, including his two most recent stints, as the CEO of Sunovion Pharmaceuticals and the chief commercial officer of Sepracor.
Blend's approach uses tailored drug discovery, creating platinum-based oncology drugs specifically designed to work with its nanoparticle delivery systems. These mono-functional platinum drugs seem to have a different mode of DNA platination to others in development or on the market.
The company's nanoparticle expertise comes from Omid Farokzhad of Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women's Hospital, and Langer himself, who is based at MIT. Describing its method as synergistic, the company's aim is to create safer, more effective and better-targeted drugs.
The money, which has come from existing investors including NanoDimension, Flagship Ventures and New Enterprise Associates, will go to expanding the team and to push two of the company's lead drug candidates through to an IND filing in the U.S. Iwicki said to Xconomy that this should last through the next two years of development, and he expects the first IND filing within that time.
Iwicki is positive about his new employer's outlook, describing the company's pipeline as including several product candidates in "multibillion-dollar categories."
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MIT's Robert Langer turned out to be a pretty mellow guy