Bristol Myers Squibb Company (NYSE:BMY) today announced five innovative biotech startups as winners of the company’s 2021 Golden Ticket Contests. The winners are: RADD Pharmaceuticals and Rubik Therapeutics (LabCentral, Cambridge, MA), Waypoint Bio (BioLabs@NYULangone, New York, NY) and Altay Therapeutics and VastBiome (MBC BioLabs, San Francisco Bay Area, CA).
“These Golden Tickets are an important way for us to foster growth of life science startup companies and bolster the communities in which we work and live,” said Kristen Hege, M.D., Senior Vice President, Early Clinical Development, Hematology/Oncology and Cell Therapy and San Francisco site head. “A core part of our philosophy is to encourage interdisciplinary collaborations and novel approaches. Our goal is that BMS’ general support of the three incubators and our specific contribution to companies within them will help spur the next wave of scientific breakthroughs that lead to development of new medicines that improve the lives of people with serious diseases.”
Bristol Myers Squibb has annually held the Golden Ticket contest since it began in Cambridge in 2016 for promising biotech start-ups pursuing research in novel target identification, drug delivery, discovery technology platforms or translational R&D in a variety of therapeutic research fields. The Golden Ticket contest provides recipient companies with one year of fully equipped, permitted and supported lab space for biomedical research, plus programming and networking opportunities through these incubators to help advance their science and build their companies.
About This Year’s Winning Companies
Altay Therapeutics, founded by Ali Rayet Ozes, Ph.D., and Osman Nidai Ozes, Ph.D., in 2019, is a preclinical-stage drug discovery company that is working to develop therapies by targeting disease-causing transcription factors (TFs).
The company’s platform technology enables discovery of small molecule binding sites within intrinsically disordered domains. The company has completed proof-of-concept studies by developing first-in-class inhibitors targeting previously undruggable TFs for the treatment of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF), Ewing’s Sarcoma, prostate cancer and facioscapulohumeral muscular dystrophy (FSHD). Altay Therapeutics now is testing the efficacy of its compounds by collaborating with world-class experts at Georgetown University, Saint Louis University School of Medicine and University of California San Francisco. Based on insights gained from its platform, the company is targeting numerous other disease-causing TFs to develop more specific therapies and improve the quality of life for larger patient populations.
RADD Pharmaceuticals is focused on previously undrugged cancer targets. The startup is backed by the early-stage venture capital firm Canaan.
Rubik Therapeutics, co-founded by Murray Robinson, Ph.D., in 2021, is on a mission to develop best-in-class engineered cell therapies for solid tumors by leveraging its data-driven discovery platforms. The company is backed by Illumina Accelerator.
VastBiome, founded by Kareem Barghouti, MBA, Kovi Bessoff, M.D., Ph.D., Peter McCaffrey, M.D., and Ayin Vala, M.S., in 2019, is a DNA-first drug discovery company mapping the human gut microbiome to make medicines. The company accesses small molecules produced from the gut and uncovers their function. VastBiome is using proprietary methods in genomic sequencing, artificial intelligence and synthetic biology to discover biomarkers and novel therapeutics for the most challenging immunologic disorders. The company’s collaborators include a number of leading institutions such as the Cleveland Clinic, Moffitt Cancer Center and Baylor College of Medicine.
Waypoint Bio, founded by David Phizicky, Ph.D., and Xinchen Wang, Ph.D., in 2021, is a startup working to develop novel approaches to treat dosage-sensitive diseases such as haploinsufficiencies. Waypoint is building a genomics and machine-learning platform for high-throughput screening that can extract high-dimensional multiplexed cellular features. Their platform enables profiling of cellular processes linked to gene dosage that are unobservable by other screening approaches.
About Bristol Myers Squibb
Bristol Myers Squibb is a global biopharmaceutical company whose mission is to discover, develop and deliver innovative medicines that help patients prevail over serious diseases. For more information about Bristol Myers Squibb, visit us at BMS.com or follow us on LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube, Facebook and Instagram.
Celgene and Juno Therapeutics are wholly owned subsidiaries of Bristol-Myers Squibb Company. In certain countries outside the U.S., due to local laws, Celgene and Juno Therapeutics are referred to as, Celgene, a Bristol Myers Squibb company and Juno Therapeutics, a Bristol Myers Squibb company.
About LabCentral (Cambridge, MA)
A private, non-profit institution, LabCentral was founded in 2013 as a launchpad for high potential life-sciences and biotech startups. Operating a total of 150,000 square-feet in the heart of Kendall Square in Cambridge, Mass., LabCentral offers fully permitted laboratory and office space for as many as 70 startups comprising approximately 500 scientists and entrepreneurs. For more information, visit www.labcentral.org or Twitter.
About BioLabs@NYULangone (New York, NY)
BioLabs New York has partnered with NYU Langone Health to build a unique biotech co-working facility in Manhattan to attract the best companies in early-stage life sciences and help them scale in a fraction of the time it would take a company working out of a traditional co-working space. This is done by providing a collaborative space, top-of-the-line research equipment, business support and acceleration programming. BioLabs@NYULangone helps its residents forge the connections that can take business and science goals to the next level. Its roster of diverse resident companies reap the benefits of an unparalleled location in the heart of Soho and Hudson Square, experienced technical support, a collaborative community and Startup NY Tax free zone.
About MBC BioLabs (San Francisco, CA)
MBC BioLabs is dedicated to helping life-science startups succeed. By renting space as small as a single bench and providing these entrepreneurial scientists with access to millions of dollars of equipment, MBC BioLabs allows companies to be fast, focused, and frugal. It has three sites: one in the Dogpatch neighborhood in San Francisco and two campuses in San Carlos, Calif. Each site has a complete molecular biology core facility that allows companies to do experiments on day one. MBC BioLabs has partnerships with leading pharmaceutical and life-science companies as well as a built-in venture capital firm, Mission BioCapital. These partnerships provide entrepreneurs with valuable insights about where to focus their efforts and accelerates the innovation pipeline. Since opening in 2013, MBC BioLabs has helped launch and grow 230 companies. These companies have brought 54 programs to the clinic, produced 13 approved diagnostics, and raised over $10 billion.