(UPDATED: See below.)
5AM Ventures has invested $3.3 million in an immunology startup so far known only as ImmunoNewco. Andy Schwab, a co-founder of 5AM, confirmed the investment but declined to provide further details, saying only that “we’re still putting ImmunoNewco together.”
ImmunoNewco — a name that will change once the startup takes shape — is currently based in Menlo Park, Calif., which also happens to be where 5AM is located. The company will focus on immunology and research into immune-based diseases, according to our information. Schwab said 5AM is the sole investor in the new company.
There are interesting clues that ImmunoNewco may be using technology developed by Borean Pharma, a Danish biotech that’s working on protein-based drugs against autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis and Crohn’s disease. According to this LinkedIn profile, Borean’s director of protein chemistry started a new job with ImmunoNewco in December, where he holds the same position and is heading up “technology transfer of all projects in Borean Pharma ApS to american investor, CA.”
I haven’t been able to reach the profile’s owner to verify this information — I’m working on that — but it’s certainly intriguing, as all the pieces seem to fit. Borean hasn’t put out a press release since last October, and there’s no indication on their site that they’re undergoing a change of ownership or selling off assets, so take this for what it’s worth at the moment. I’ve emailed the Borean CEO as well.
UPDATE: The mysterious Mikkel Andersen, author of the LinkedIn profile in question, remains reclusive; he declined an InMail (through LinkedIn) seeking comment, and I just noticed that he’s finally edited his LinkedIn page to eliminate the above-quoted reference to his current work for ImmunoNewco. Good thing, then, that I snapped a screenshot of his page before he changed it; see below. I should also note that 5AM’s Andy Schwab didn’t reply to an email asking specifically about Mikkel Andersen and Borean Pharma, although he had answered other queries prior to that one. The current CEO of Borean, Johanna Holldack, also didn’t reply to an email seeking comment.
Here’s Andersen’s old LinkedIn page. Click the image to see a full-sized version: