Odyssey starts journey with $218M for 7 assets across cancer, inflammation with IFM, Scorpion founder at the helm

Nine months young and five months since hiring its first employee, Odyssey Therapeutics has secured $218 million to bankroll seven programs across cancer and inflammation. Its first study in humans will be in late 2023 or early 2024. 

At the helm is Gary Glick, Ph.D., fresh off securing Scorpion Therapeutics $270 million across two rounds in 2020. Now, in his fifth biotech venture, Glick has built a 100-employee team to advance a slate of in-house assets. That team, consisting of scientists mainly from Big Pharma, is managed by executives with more than 20 approved drugs to their names.

This time around, Glick is leading a group of people he's never worked with before, save for a few. Also new? The biotech is focused on building in-house capabilities rather than relying on external collaborators. 

"The amount of work going on today in biotech—and the number of new companies and the amount of capital—external partners are stretched very thin, so we just felt it important to bring in a number of things in-house to be able to maintain timelines and be able to service the programs as we need them," Glick said in an interview with Fierce Biotech. 

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The ex-Scorpion and IFM Therapeutics CEO was mum on details of the programs, other than saying the initial targets are aimed at "upstream signaling nodes." The first clinical test of Odyssey's therapeutics will take place in late 2023 or early 2024, he said. 

The small-molecule and protein therapeutics biotech has a huge horde of capital to take on those seven programs and potentially consume other biotechs along the way, Glick said. With a hefty amount in the bank, Odyssey can assess the capital markets for future financing needs. 

“Most of the folks in the syndicate are sort of traditionally later-stage investors, some crossover funds; they don’t typically get involved in company creation so it’s a deep-pocketed group," Glick said. 

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Glick originated the idea of Odyssey through conversations with OrbiMed's Carl Gordon, Ph.D., in March of this year. Gordon is a member of the biotech's board alongside Glick, SR One Capital Partner Jill Carroll, Mirati Therapeutics President Charles Baum, M.D., Ph.D., and Silverback Therapeutics President Valerie Odegard, Ph.D.

Rounding out the management team are former senior leaders from Pfizer, Novartis, Merck and Vividion Therapeutics, which inked a $1.5 billion exit to Bayer in August.