Paul Grayson has been named president and CEO of Fate Therapeutics, a Seattle-based stem cell biotech company focused on cell fate control. He previously was a managing director of Sanderling Ventures. Fate also named former Adnexus CEO John Mendlein as its executive chairman. The company has raised $15 million in VC funding from ARCH Venture Partners, Polaris Venture Partners, Venrock and OVP.
Paul A. Grayson and John Mendlein have joined Fate Therapeutics as president and CEO and executive chairman, respectively. Grayson and Mendlein join a team of internationally recognized stem cell scientists, clinicians and investors dedicated to creating best-in-class therapeutics based on a new and proprietary understanding of the role of adult stem cells in human physiology and disease. Both are seasoned executives with successful track records of translating revolutionary science discoveries into innovative drug opportunities and building world-class biotechnology teams and organizations.
Fate Therapeutics is a pioneer the emerging field of renewal therapies. Company scientists are redirecting the fate of the body's adult stem cells to enable Fate's therapies to intervene in human disease, aberrant physiology or damaged tissue with “renewed” cellular health. Fate's ground-breaking and proprietary therapeutic reprogramming engine is focused on understanding and guiding the fundamental biological mechanisms that determine the fate of cells to create new drugs that can advance and reverse the development of adult stem cells to restore the balance of cell fate between regeneration and decline. The company's renewal therapies have the potential to offer new hope to patients afflicted with some of the most difficult to treat conditions including degenerative diseases such as diabetes, Parkinson's and Alzheimer's Disease, ALS, heart failure, stroke and paralysis; developmental disorders including Down syndrome; and metastatic cancers. Fate's approach is designed to therapeutically use or redirect normal adult or somatic cells inside the human body and does not require embryonic stem cells from humans or any other animal.
“Fate continues to build momentum as a global scientific force and will soon emerge as a coordinated commercial effort to develop innovative therapies for patients afflicted with diseases from genetic maladies to cancer to neuromuscular and metabolic disorders,” said Grayson, Fate's new president and CEO. “The opportunity to build an entirely new model for a biotechnology company is tremendously exciting, and we have the people, vision and backing to do it.”
“At Fate we see a new field of medicines emerging with our proprietary therapeutic engine – renewal therapies,” said Dr. Mendlein, executive chairman of Fate Therapeutics. “We aim to leverage our strong scientific foundation to accelerate our fundamental understanding of cellular fate in multiple disease and physiological settings to generate innovative therapeutics for those in need. We are in the throes of making revolutionary connections between the molecular basis of cell fate, human medical conditions and important medicines of the future. Our fresh insights into cell fate give us optimism that our drugs will potentially interact with human physiology in a better, safer fashion.”
Paul Grayson was previously managing director of Sanderling Ventures. Over the last ten years he has completed both private and public capital fundraising, delivering over $200 million for emerging companies. Transactions completed under Grayson's watch produced over $150 million in recognizable revenue with an announceable value in excess of $1 billion dollars, and included agreements with BMS, Lilly, Warner Lambert, Merck, F. Hoffmann La Roche, Pharmacia Upjohn, Kraft Foods, Campbell's Soup, Nestle and the Coca Cola Company. Grayson was a founding member of the management team of Aurora Biosciences and the founding chairman, CEO and president of Senomyx, Inc. He was previously chairman of the board of directors for Naviscan PET Systems and CalciMedica, and active on the board of directors for Taligen Therapeutics and REN Pharmaceuticals. Grayson received his MBA from the University of California, Irvine and his B.A. in Computer Science and Biochemistry from the University of California, Los Angeles.
Dr. John Mendlein recently served as CEO of Adnexus Therapeutics (a developer of a new class of protein therapeutics) from May 2005 until October 2007, at which time the privately-held, Boston based biotechnology company was purchased by Bristol-Myers Squibb Company (BMY) in a transaction valued at more than $505 million. Previously, Mendlein served as chairman and CEO at Affinium Pharmaceuticals, Inc., a privately-held biotechnology company focused on developing a new anti-infective class; and served in a variety of roles, including board member, general counsel and chief knowledge officer, at Aurora Biosciences Corporation (now Vertex Pharmaceuticals, VRTX,) a publicly-traded biotechnology company focused on discovering drugs for kinases, g-protein coupled receptors and ion channels. He has worked as an attorney at Cooley GodwardKronish LLP, a law firm, in its life sciences and technology litigation practice groups; at Smith Kline & French Laboratories, Ltd., now GlaxoSmithKline plc (GSK), a publicly-traded pharmaceutical company, in the Department of Molecular Biology and Protein Expression; and served as a member of the board of directors of Monogram Biosciences (MGRM), Inc., a publicly-traded biotechnology company; and the advisory board of Genesys Capital, a venture capital firm. He is the author or inventor of over 40 publications and patents. Mendlein earned his Ph.D. in physiology and biophysics from the University of California, Los Angeles, a J.D. from the University of California Hastings School of Law and a B.S. in biology from the University of Miami.
Formed in early 2007, Fate Therapeutics raised $15 million in its Series A financing from leading venture capital firms ARCH Venture Partners, Polaris Venture Partners, Venrock and OVP, all of which have built some of the world's leading life sciences companies, and additional investors. The company's board of directors includes Amir Nashat, general partner, Polaris Venture Partners; Robert Nelsen, co-founder and managing director, ARCH Venture Partners; and Bryan Roberts, managing general partner, Venrock. Nelsen and Roberts were named to the Forbes 2008 Midas List of the top 100 tech deal makers in the world.
“Fate has brought together the best minds in science with the top business minds in biotech,” said Alex Rives, founding president of Fate. “Paul Grayson and John Mendlein are respected biotechnology executives with a history of developing breakthrough pharmaceuticals and innovative business strategies. Their leadership is the next step in creating an entirely new therapeutic paradigm for non-embryonic or adult stem cell medicine.”
About Fate Therapeutics
Fate Therapeutics is a privately held biopharmaceutical company pioneering the field of renewal therapies, a newly emerging area of research and drug development. Founded by a world-class collaborative team of luminaries in the science of adult stem cell biology, management with a proven track record in translating new science into innovative drug and business opportunities, and an investor syndicate with an unparalleled history of establishing and advancing revolutionary biotechnology companies, Fate is working to launch a new era of medicine with the potential to offer new hope to patients afflicted with some of the most difficult to treat conditions, including degenerative diseases such as diabetes, Parkinson's and Alzheimer's Disease, ALS, heart failure, stroke and paralysis; developmental disorders including Down syndrome; and metastatic cancers.