Amazon.com’s Jeff Bezos and Venrock back Juno Therapeutics

Juno Therapeutics, a Seattle-based biotech company focused on developing immunotherapies for cancer, has raised an additional $56 million in Series A funding, closing the round at $176 million. The investors included Bezos Expeditions, the personal investment firm of Amazon.com CEO Jeff Bezos and Venrock. Also, Juno has named Dr. Mark W. Frohlich as executive vice president of R&D and Barney Cassidy as general counsel.

PRESS RELEASE

SEATTLE, April 24, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Juno Therapeutics, a biotechnology company focused on bringing forward novel immunotherapies for cancer, today announced the close of its Series A round with $176M in fully committed funds.
Juno’s initial funding of $120 million came predominantly from leading technology venture capital firm ARCH Venture Partners and the Alaska Permanent Fund, through a partnership managed by Crestline Investors. The completion of the A round includes expansions from founding investors as well as investments from Bezos Expeditions, the personal investment company of Jeff Bezos, and Venrock, amongst others.
“Juno’s Series A round provides significant resources to support truly transformative science,” said Hans Bishop, CEO of Juno. “Juno’s approach to cancer immunotherapy brings together world-class clinical, business and regulatory skills necessary to make a game changing impact on cancer treatment. We couldn’t be more thankful for the enthusiasm and support Juno is generating.”
In addition, Juno announced two major appointments to its leadership team.
Mark W. Frohlich, M.D., has been appointed to be Executive Vice President of R&D. In this role he will oversee the company’s scientific, clinical and regulatory activities.
Barney Cassidy will serve as General Counsel. He will lead Juno’s legal affairs including corporate, intellectual property, litigation and compliance matters.
“These appointments come at an exciting time for Juno,” said Bishop. “I am delighted to have the benefit of Mark and Barney’s capable leadership.”
Dr. Frohlich stated, “Immunotherapy is transforming the practice of oncology. I am incredibly excited to join the outstanding team at Juno to advance its pipeline of highly promising cellular therapies for cancer.”
“I admire both the scientific breakthroughs of Juno’s investigators and the compelling vision of Juno’s founders,” said Barney Cassidy. “I’m really looking forward to working with the entire team to develop, commercialize, and make widely available cancer therapies that emerge from these extraordinary breakthroughs.”
BIOS
Dr. Mark W. Frohlich, M.D. has more than two decades of experience in the field of immuno-oncology. He recently served as the Executive Vice President of R&D and Chief Medical Officer of Dendreon Corp., where he led teams responsible for the U.S. and European approval of Provenge, the first FDA licensed active cellular immunotherapy for cancer. Prior to joining Dendreon, he served as Vice President of Xcyte Therapies, where he pursued the development of an autologous T-cell therapy for cancer. Dr. Frohlich is a board-certified medical oncologist. He received his M.D. from Harvard Medical School and did his post-doctoral training in Internal Medicine and Oncology at the University of California, San Francisco. He subsequently served on the faculty there, where he was active in translational and clinical research. He has a B.S. from Yale University in Electrical Engineering and Economics.
Bernard J. “Barney” Cassidy received his J.D. from Harvard Law School, where he was an editor of the Harvard Law Review and a research assistant to Professor Arthur R. Miller, focusing on Federal Practice and Procedure. After law school Mr. Cassidy clerked for the Honorable John T. Noonan, Jr. of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. He later practiced law at both Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom and at Wilson, Sonsini, Goodrich & Rosati, where on a pro bono basis he led the medical and mental health elements of a class action on behalf of Pelican Bay State Prison inmates that successfully challenged the constitutionality of prison conditions and practices in the landmark case of Madrid v. Gomez, 889 F.Supp. 1146 (N.D. Cal. 1996). Mr. Cassidy later served as general counsel of two public companies, Tumbleweed Communications Corp., a provider of secure messaging and secure file transfer solutions, and Tessera Technologies, Inc., a semiconductor technology licensing company, where he was President of Tessera Intellectual Property Corp. He is a nationally recognized expert on patent licensing and patent policy, having testified twice on these topics before Congress, and is frequently invited to speak about the perspective of inventors within our innovation economy, at, for example, the joint workshop on patent and competition policy held by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission, U.S. Department of Justice, and the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office, and most recently at the 2014 Judicial Conference of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.
About Juno
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. 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 have the potential to reduce longer-term toxicities associated with current chemotherapeutics. 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.

 

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