Leading Cancer Immunotherapy Biotech Startup Announces New Investments, Leadership Appointments

Jan 13, 2014, 15:49 ET from Juno Therapeutics Inc.

Juno CEO Hans Bishop to Address JP Morgan's 32nd Annual Healthcare Conference

SEATTLE, Jan. 13, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Juno Therapeutics, a new biotechnology company focused on bringing forward novel immunotherapies for cancer, announced today an expanded Series A including Bezos Expeditions, the personal investment company of Jeff Bezos, and leading venture capital firm Venrock. The total Series A will exceed $145M.

(Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20140113/DC45426LOGO)

Juno also announced new leadership appointments today. Marc Tessier-Lavigne, Ph.D., Anthony B. Evnin, Ph.D., and Howard H. Pien will join the company's Board of Directors. José Baselga, M.D., Ph.D. will serve as chairman of Juno's Clinical Advisory Board. 

"This is an exciting time for Juno," said Hans Bishop, CEO. "The investments from Bezos Expeditions and Venrock will help accelerate our growth as we work to transform how we treat cancer."

Bishop continued, "We are delighted that Marc, Tony, Howard and José have agreed to lend their experience and expertise to Juno. Their leadership in the biotech and pharmaceutical sectors will serve Juno well in the years ahead."

Bishop will address the audience of global health care and investment leaders at the JP Morgan Annual Healthcare Conference on Tuesday, January 14 at 9 a.m. in Elizabethan D at the Westin St. Francis Hotel in San Francisco.

Marc Tessier-Lavigne, Ph.D., is President of The Rockefeller University in New York City, which he joined in 2011.  Previously, he served as Executive Vice President and Chief Scientific Officer at Genentech, Inc., after holding faculty positions at Stanford University and the University of California, San Francisco.  A Rhodes Scholar, Dr. Tessier-Lavigne is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and its Institute of Medicine and a fellow of the Royal Societies of the United Kingdom and Canada. He is currently a Director of Agios Pharmaceuticals, Inc., Pfizer, Inc., and Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, Inc.

Anthony B. Evnin, Ph.D., is a Partner of Venrock, a venture capital firm, which he joined in 1974. He is currently a Director of Acceleron Pharma, Inc., AVEO Pharmaceuticals, Inc. and Infinity Pharmaceuticals, Inc. as well as Constellation Pharmaceuticals, Inc., a private company.  He serves as a Trustee of The Rockefeller University, as a Trustee of The Jackson Laboratory, as a Member of the Boards of Overseers and Managers of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, as a Member of the Board of Directors of the New York Genome Center, as a Member of the Board of Directors of the Albert and Mary Lasker Foundation, and as a Trustee Emeritus of Princeton University. 

Howard H. Pien has worked in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries for more than 30 years. From 2007 to 2009 he was the Chairman and CEO of Medarex Inc., until it was acquired by BMS and was Chairman and CEO of Chiron from 2003-2006. He currently serves as a Director on the Boards of Viropharma (as Lead Independent Director), Vanda (as Non-Executive Chairman), Immunogen, and Ikaria. He is also an advisor to the Life Sciences Practice of Warburg Pincus.

Dr. Tessier-Lavigne, Dr. Evnin and Mr. Pien join Juno business co-founders Larry Corey, M.D., president and director of Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Richard Klausner, M.D., Senior Vice President and Chief Medical Officer of Illumina Corporation, Robert Nelsen, co-founder and a Managing Director of ARCH Venture Partners, and Hans Bishop, CEO, Juno Therapeutics on the board of directors.

José Baselga, M.D., Ph.D., is Physician-in-Chief at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. Dr. Baselga was previously Chief of Medical Oncology at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts (USA), Associate Chief of the Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center and Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School. Prior to that he was Chairman and Professor of Medicine of Medical Oncology Service at the Vall d'Hebron University Hospital in Barcelona, Spain. He is a prominent member of the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) and has published over 250 publications in major peer reviewed journals.

The Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center (Fred Hutch) and Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC), along with pediatric partner Seattle Children's Research Institute, joined forces to launch Juno Therapeutics in December 2013. Juno launched with an initial investment of $120M, making it one of the largest Series A biotech startups in history. For more information please visit www.junotherapeutics.com.

About Juno 
Juno is a clinical stage company that brings together three of the world's leading cancer centers – Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center and Seattle Children's Research Institute – in unique partnership to advance a broad pipeline of potential curative immunotherapy treatments. With one of the largest ever Series A investments for a biotech startup, Juno will build on breakthroughs in the design of novel immunotherapies to develop two distinct and complementary platforms – chimeric antigen receptors (CARs) and T-cell receptors (TCRs). The CAR technology is designed to target cell surface antigens that are expressed on cancer cells. In addition, the high-affinity TCR technology can also detect alterations in intracellular proteins present in tumor cells. These treatments reduce longer-term toxicities associated with current chemotherapeutics and provide the potential for curative therapy even for patients with widespread disease. Juno's goal is to drive multiple product candidates in select hematologic and solid tumor cancers to FDA licensure. Each candidate has the potential to treat a variety of high-risk cancers.

SOURCE Juno Therapeutics Inc.