Karyopharm collects $20M in first funding round

November 4, 2010

Stealthy pharmaceutical startup Karyopharm Therapeutics Inc., born out of the ashes of Epix Pharmaceuticals, has raised a $20 million Series A financing round from unnamed backers, officials said.

The Newton-based company is focusing on the new field of nuclear transport modulators, a broad-reaching mechanism that regulates many of the molecules associated with many diseases in both humans and animals. Specifically, they are looking to stop the mechanism that allows nucleus material to be exported out of a diseased cell, which happens when viruses replicate, or tumors grow. Keeping the diseased cell from exporting its nuclear material will cause it to die, without affecting nearby healthy cells, officials said.

Karyopharm co-founder and acting president Sharon Shacham was senior vice president of drug development at Epix from 2000 until April of 2009, the same month then-bankrupt Epix announced the sale of the U.S., Australian and Canadian rights of its vascular imaging agent Vasovist to Lantheus Medical Imaging Inc. for $28 million to help clear up debt owed to partner Bayer Schering Pharma.  In July, Epix announced it had to liquidate all assets.

Also serving as a board member and clinical advisor at Karyopharm is Michael Kauffman, former CEO at Epix. The other co-founder of Karyopharm is Harvard Medical School professor and director of the Belfer Institute for Applied Cancer Science at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Ronald DePinho, one of the founders of Aveo Pharmaceuticals Inc. of Cambridge.

Karyopharm was founded in 2009 by Shacham, DePinho, Kauffman and DePinho’s fellow Belfer Institute researcher Giulio Draetta.


Article from MassHighTech: http://www.masshightech.com/stories/2010/11/01/daily26-Karyopharm-collects-20M-in-first-funding-round.html


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