Latest Samsara BioCapital News
Oct 16, 2021
San Diego biotech veterans launch novel therapeutics firm targeting cancer, other diseases (The San Diego Union-Tribune) Tentarix comes out of stealth mode, raises $50 million in venture funding led by Versant Ventures, Samsara BioCapital Print San Diego’s Tentarix Biotherapeutics emerged from stealth mode this week with $50 million in the bank to pursue precision therapies against cancer and other diseases. Founded by San Diego and Vancouver, B.C., biotech veterans, Tentarix pulled its Series A funding from Versant Ventures and Samsara BioCapital. Versant recently invested in another early stage San Diego biotech company, 858 Therapeutics, which raised $60 million earlier this month. Tentarix’s technology is complicated. But the company has come up with a proprietary, high-volume discovery platform to uncover antibody-like molecules that trigger an immune response against diseased cells while leaving healthy cells alone. Advertisement “It is really more about understanding the precise way that we can activate that subset of T-cells without activating other cells that either could have a negative effect or could diminish (the effectiveness) of cancer-fighting therapeutics that the patient is on,” said Paul Grayson, co-founder and chief executive of Tentarix. The field is knowns as multifunctional biotherapeutics. To this point, it has been someone limited — in part because of difficulties uncovering antibody-like molecules at scale that can trigger an immune response in diseased cells without side effects. Tentarix aims to solve this problem through its platform — which could enable delivery of higher doses of therapeutics to fight cancer cells. “The ability to screen millions of multifunctional molecules for activity and conditionality is a breakthrough,” said Jerel Davis, a managing director at Versant. “We believe the team and technology assembled at Tentarix will enable a pipeline of first-in-class biologics with unique function.” It is still early days. Grayson hopes to have the first therapeutic ready for clinical trials in mid-2023. For now, the company believes its technology is most applicable to tumors associated with breast, lung and pancreatic cancer. Tentarix’s founders have roots in the San Diego biotech scene. Grayson came from Fate Therapeutics, Aurora Biosciences, Senomyx and Bird Rock Bio. The company’s chief science officer, Stephen Demarest, worked at Scripps and then joined IDEC Pharmaceuticals — later Biogen-IDEC. Demarest ended up at Eli Lilly, where he was head of the protein engineering and computational biotherapeutics departments. Tentarix has 17 employees in San Diego and about 15 in Vancouver, which is the company’s co-headquarters. The Vancouver group was part of the early antibody team associated with Amgen, said Grayson. “We have some veterans in San Diego on the discovery and development side, and then Vancouver is really a powerhouse for us on the technology side,” he said.
Samsara BioCapital Team
3 Team Members
Samsara BioCapital has 3 team members, including current Chief Financial Officer, Richard Van Doren.