-- Scientific and Technology Visionaries Join Senior Team as PureTech Expands its Emphasis on Interdisciplinary Innovation
BOSTON, Oct. 20, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- PureTech, a science and technology development and commercialization company tackling big healthcare problems, announced today the closing of a $55 million growth stage investment round, with participation from Invesco Perpetual, a $120 Billion group of funds. The funding will be used to drive PureTech's existing pipeline forward and to advance new healthcare related products and technologies. "PureTech has the scientific creativity to really go for the big ideas that can be game changers. The team dreams up technologies and then makes them happen," said Dr. Robert Langer, PureTech Co-founder & Institute Professor at MIT. "It's exciting to have additional resources to drive these important products to market."
In conjunction with the funding round, PureTech announced the appointment of three new Senior Partners: Dr. H Robert Horvitz, Nobel Laureate, David H. Koch Professor at MIT, and Investigator, Howard Hughes Medical Institute; Mr. Joi Ito, Director of the MIT Media Lab and board member of Sony, the MacArthur Foundation, The New York Times, the Knight Foundation and Mozilla; and Dr. Raju Kucherlapati, Paul C. Cabot Professor in the Harvard Medical School Department of Genetics, co-founder of Millennium Pharmaceuticals & Abgenix, and Member of President Obama's Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues. The new Senior Partners will join PureTech's existing Senior Partners and Board Members, Dr. Robert Langer, PureTech Co-founder & David H. Koch Institute Professor at MIT, Dr. Ben Shapiro, PureTech Chairman, former EVP of Worldwide Basic & External Research at Merck, Dr. John LaMattina, PureTech Senior Partner and former President of R & D at Pfizer Global Research and Development, and Daphne Zohar, PureTech's Founder & CEO, recognized as a healthcare innovator and leader by the Boston Globe, MIT's Technology Review, Fierce Biotech and BioWorld. Ms. Zohar said of the announcement, "I look forward to working closely with these amazing senior partners in driving forward our existing pipeline, as well as developing several important new ideas that we're excited about."
PureTech plans to further expand its focus on cross disciplinary innovations at the interface between medicine and other disciplines. "There's a revolution underway combining advanced digital technology with breakthroughs in molecular biology and medicine," said new Senior Partner, Joi Ito. "It's a fascinating field, and I'm thrilled to be collaborating with colleagues like Bob Langer in tackling it." One example of PureTech's activities in digital health is Akili Interactive Labs, which is developing the first "electronic medicine" platform for remotely diagnosing and treating cognitive disorders like ADHD, autism spectrum disorders and Alzheimer's disease. Akili has partnerships and collaborations with Pfizer, Shire Pharmaceuticals, and several leading research institutions.
Other examples in PureTech's pipeline include Vedanta Biosciences, developing a novel class of microbiome derived therapies for treating infectious disease, allergies and autoimmune disorders; Gelesis, developing an encapsulated device that swells in the stomach and small intestine to promote weight loss & glycemic control; Entrega, developing a smart pill for delivering nanoparticles and injectable drugs like insulin orally; and Tal Medical, "rebooting" the electrical circuits in the brain for treating depression.
"PureTech's model is to focus on a big problem in healthcare and then tackle it in an unconventional way, working together with the leaders in the field but also bringing an entirely new perspective to the problem," said Dr. Raju Kucherlapati. "I'm excited to be working with this unique group of individuals and believe that we have a real chance to change existing healthcare paradigms."
About PureTech's new Senior Partners
Dr. Robert Horvitz
Dr. Horvitz is a Senior Partner and an Observer of the Board of Directors of PureTech. He received the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine and is the David H. Koch Professor of Biology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, an Investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Neurobiologist (Neurology) at Massachusetts General Hospital, and a member of the M.I.T. McGovern Institute for Brain Research and the M.I.T. Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research. He is cofounder of multiple life science companies including Epizyme (EPZM) and Idun Pharmaceuticals (acquired by Pfizer). Dr. Horvitz is a member of the Board of Trustees of the Massachusetts General Hospital and is Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Society for Science and the Public. He was President of the Genetics Society of America. Dr. Horvitz is a member of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, the U.S. Institute of Medicine and the American Philosophical Society and is a Foreign Member of the Royal Society of London. He is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and of the American Academy of Microbiology. Dr. Horvitz received the U.S. National Academies of Science Award in Molecular Biology; the Charles A. Dana Award for Pioneering Achievements in Health; the Ciba-Drew Award for Biomedical Science; the General Motors Cancer Research Foundation Alfred P. Sloan, Jr. Prize; the Gairdner Foundation International Award; the March of Dimes Prize in Developmental Biology; the Genetics Society of America Medal; the Bristol-Myers Squibb Award for Distinguished Achievement in Neuroscience; the Wiley Prize in the Biomedical Sciences; the Peter Gruber Foundation Genetics Prize; the American Cancer Society Medal of Honor; the Alfred G. Knudson Award of the National Cancer Institute; and the U.K. Genetics Society Mendel Medal.
Mr. Joi Ito
Joi Ito is a Senior Partner and Board Member at PureTech. Mr. Ito, the Director of the MIT Media Lab, is a leading thinker and writer on innovation, global technology policy, and the role of the Internet in transforming society in substantial and positive ways. Mr. Ito sits on the boards of Sony Corporation, Knight Foundation, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, The New York Times Company, and The Mozilla Foundation. In Japan, he was a founder of Digital Garage, and helped establish and later became CEO of the country's first commercial Internet service provider. He was an early investor in numerous companies, including Twitter, Flickr, Six Apart, Last.fm, littleBits, Formlabs, and Kickstarter. Mr. Ito's honors include TIME magazine's "Cyber-Elite" listing in 1997 (at age 31) and selection as one of the "Global Leaders for Tomorrow" by the World Economic Forum (2001). In 2008, BusinessWeek named him one of the "25 Most Influential People on the Web." In 2011, he received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Oxford Internet Institute.
Dr. Raju Kucherlapati
Dr. Kucherlapati is a Senior Partner and member of the Board of Directors of PureTech. He was a founder and formerly a Board member of Abgenix (acquired by Amgen for $2.2B), and Millennium Pharmaceuticals (acquired by Takeda for $8.8 billion), and is currently the Paul C. Cabot Professor of Genetics and a Professor of Medicine and at Harvard Medical School and was the first Scientific Director of the Harvard-Partners Center for Genetics and Genomics. He is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and a member of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences. Dr. Kucherlapati's laboratory at Harvard Medical School is involved in cloning and characterization of human disease genes with a focus on human syndromes with a significant cardiovascular involvement, use of genetic/genomic approaches to understand the biology of cancer and the generation and characterization of genetically modified mouse models for cancer and other human disorders. He served on the editorial board of the New England Journal of Medicine and was Editor in Chief of the journal Genomics.
PureTech develops and commercializes breakthrough technologies aimed at solving major healthcare problems. Based in Boston, PureTech has a stellar team of scientists, engineers and entrepreneurs and is deeply connected to top tier academic institutions. PureTech has a thematic, problem-driven approach to developing its programs, proposing non-obvious solutions rooted in academic research and developing them together with a creative group of cross-disciplinary experts. PureTech concentrates on a handful of major initiative areas at a time, generates and reviews ~800 technologies per year, and drives forward a handful of the most interesting programs. PureTech's programs have attracted several hundred million dollars in outside funding, and PureTech has active strategic partnerships with some of the most forward thinking health and technology companies in the world. PureTech's investors include institutional investors like Invesco Perpetual, strategic investors, endowments and CEOs of major healthcare and technology companies.