Based: Rockville, MD
The Scoop: "Once an orphan at Human Genome Sciences, CoGenesys is coming into its own as a promising spin-off with deep scientific talent and a unique business model for capitalizing on biotech's sweet spot."
What makes it Fierce: When a core group of development veterans decided to hive off HGS' early-stage development programs and form a new company, they took an active lab with 70 researchers and a core group of experienced development experts. But instead of looking to replicate the usual biotech company model, they set out to do something completely different.
HGS had already invested millions of dollars and 15 years of effort in that "early stuff," as CEO Steven Mayer calls it. "We can pick and choose from the attic," says Mayer, "finding things that can be moved into the clinic fairly rapidly." Those first five years and $200 million in the average drug discovery trek, he says, had been completed already.
Strategically, CoGenesys is concentrating on the mid-stage of drug development; advancing a group of new therapies in the clinic and gathering supporting data in programs that can then be out-licensed to bigger players. Three programs are in the clinic: Cardeva, Neugranin and Albulin-G. CoGenesys also wants to use its expertise in human serum albumin-fusion technology to develop more stable versions of protein and peptide drugs currently on the market, creating additional revenue from development partnerships.
What to look for: "By the end of this year," says Mayer, "we'll have clinical data on our first three. That will be a very important point. The next step is to look at our first significant collaboration. That will be our next big event."