Yale entrepreneur Rothberg rounds up $40M for a biotech upstart

Entrepreneur Jonathan Rothberg--Courtesy of Butterfly Network

LAM Therapeutics, a biotech co-founded by Yale University entrepreneur Jonathan Rothberg, raised $40 million to fund its work on an early-stage pipeline of treatments for rare diseases and cancer.

The company, born out of Rothberg's Connecticut-headquartered accelerator 4Catalyzer, is working through Phase I with an inhalable treatment called LAM-001 in hopes of treating lymphangioleimyomatosis, a rare lung disease that often proves fatal. LAM is also running a first human trial with LAM-002, a kinase inhibitor with potential in non-Hodgkin lymphoma, the company said.

Rothberg, who made his name at the gene sequencing companies 454 Life Sciences and Ion Torrent, said LAM is integrating computer science in its drug development programs, hoping to accelerate the process by implementing computational biology.

"We built LAM Therapeutics from the ground up to transform the way we develop medicines," Rothberg said in a statement. "We are at an inflection point; DNA sequencing and computer science have both advanced over a million fold since our first attempts to create true genomics-based medicines."

Henri Lichenstein, who served stints in drug development at Amgen ($AMGN) and Topotarget, is on board as LAM's president and chief scientific officer. And the company's scientific advisory board includes Yale geneticist Tian Xu, former Schering-Plough Chief Medical Officer Robert Spiegel and Harvard University professor Brendan Manning.

Rothberg founded 4Catalyzer after selling 454 to Roche ($RHHBY) and Ion Torrent to Life Technologies. The incubator's most advanced company is Butterfly Network, an imaging-focused startup that raised $100 million in 2014. The firm's portfolio also includes Hyperfine, a medical device firm. Launched in 2014, 4Catalyzer has raised more than $250 million to support its startups, according to Rothberg.

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