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Biotech Startup Wins $4M

by Thomas MacMillan | Sep 26, 2013 3:40 pm

(1) Comment | Commenting has been closed | E-mail the Author

Posted to: Business/ Economic Development

A New Haven pharmaceutical startup is getting ready to hire 25 new employees, thanks to a big boost from the state.

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy Thursday announced $4.25 million in state aid for New Haven biotech company Arvinas.

Arvinas has developed a new way for drugs to interact with the body, a technology that shows promise for fighting cancer, according to a press release.

The company is based in Science Park and was started by Yale professor Craig Crews and a New Haven native Tim Shannon.

The money from the state comes in the form of loans and equity investment from Connecticut Innovations, the state’s venture capital fund. Loans from the Department of Economic and Community Development are expected to be approved a State Bond Commission meeting on Friday.

Shannon said the money will allow Arvinas to hire 25 more staff. It will help secure more funding and extend the company’s “cash runway,” giving it more time to develop its products.

The money will also allow Arvinas to stay in New Haven, Shannon said.

“This was a very hot technology in the financing arena,” Shannon said. Arvinas attracted “a lot of interest from investors, most of whom were interested in taking the company somewhere else.”

Shannon said Arvinas’ technology all stems from Crews’ research. He explained how it works:

“Most drugs we have now work by inhibiting the action of a protein.” Drugs bind to disease-causing proteins and prevent them from functioning. But it’s hard for the drug to stay bound to the proteins forever.

“This approach is very different,” Shannon said. “Rather than try to inhibit the proteins, our approach is to get rid of them. ... [The drug] tags the protein with a sign that tells the cell it should use its own housecleaning apparatus to get rid of it.”

“This investment is just the latest example of a biomedical or pharmaceutical company choosing to grow jobs in New Haven,” state Sen. Martin Looney said in a press release. “The research and development work that is conducted throughout the city is helping establish New Haven and Connecticut as a world-leading hub for life sciences.”

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posted by: mala on September 27, 2013  10:50am

This would be a wonderful opportunity for scientific job seekers in the New Haven area, if this promise is really true. Two years ago, Connecticut Innovations provided money for Durata Therapeutics to create 85 jobs in the Town of Branford. To the best of my knowledge, there are only 5 people occupying an office in the old Curagen Building on Main Street. Branford is still waiting for 80 more jobs to be created and filled. Who is accountable to make sure this money is spent on job creation and to make sure these jobs are filled in a timely manner?

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