Biotech Zyngenia sees growth with MedImmune vets at helm

Zyngenia has graduated from a virtual biotech to a very real R&D operation under the leadership of former MedImmune R&D chief Peter Kiener, who is CEO of the early-stage researcher of antibody-derived treatments. The firm's drugs are supposed to be able to address multiple targets of disease with a single molecule.

Keiner joined the company, whose technology comes from Scripps Institute in La Jolla, CA, back in 2009 when there were only three employees. With some financial backing from venture firm New Enterprise Associates--where former MedImmune CEO and current Zyngenia Chairman David Mott is a partner--the upstart biotech has now grown to 30 employees and resides in a 14,000-square-foot headquarters in Gaithersburg, MD, The Gazette reports today.

The newspaper says that much of the employee growth has come through the start-up's recruitment of folks from Maryland's major biotech shops Human Genome Sciences ($HGSI) and MedImmune, which AstraZeneca bought in 2007 for more than $15 billion. Last year, Zyngenia pulled in a $15 million addition to its Series A, which brought in an initial $10 million back in 2009 from NEA.

"When I joined MedImmune, there were about 50 people in research and development and it grew to more than 1,000 by the time I left," Kiener told The Gazette. "It was a great place to work. Seeing how MedImmune grew made it easy for me to think about starting over again with the kind of people I work with at Zyngenia."

-see the newspaper's profile on Kiener and his start-up