The 2013 Fierce 15 biotech execs take a bow

Our annual Fierce 15 report on a top class of up-and-coming private biotechs came out today and I wanted to highlight the responses from many of the companies which are on the list.

Acetylon: "We are delighted to be selected as part of this year's 'Fierce 15', an award that honors our employees, founders, and academic and clinical collaborators for the tremendous work they have done in realizing the immense therapeutic potential for next-generation, selective HDAC inhibitors, including our lead drug candidate ACY-1215 for the treatment of hematological malignancies including multiple myeloma," commented Walter Ogier, president and CEO of Acetylon. "It is a testament to their hard work and the promise of these candidates that we have been able to secure a strategic collaboration with Celgene that includes an option for future acquisition of Acetylon." Release

AnaptysBio: "We are delighted to have been selected for this prestigious award and would like to thank the expert editorial team at FierceBiotech for their thoughtful review," said Hamza Suria, president and CEO of AnaptysBio. "Our team continues to succeed in the rapid development of potent antibodies against emerging therapeutic targets. Coupling our antibody discovery engine with novel target biology has enabled AnaptysBio to develop a strong preclinical pipeline in cancer immunotherapy, pustular psoriasis, atopic dermatitis, fibrosis and other unmet medical needs." Release

CytomX: "We are honored to join this prestigious group of innovative companies as part of the Fierce 15 class of 2013," said Sean McCarthy, CEO of CytomX. "Our Probody Platform represents a disruptive approach to discovering and developing the next generation of antibody therapeutics, and this has been a year of significant progress and growth for the company. With our world-class team, strong investor support and breakthrough approach, we are continuing to move rapidly toward the clinic and are well-positioned to achieve our vision of transforming lives with safer, more effective therapies." Release

Immunocore: James Noble, CEO of Immunocore, commented: "We are delighted to receive this prestigious award from FierceBiotech and be ranked among the top private biotech firms globally. This award recognizes 14 years of work to develop our technology and create a robust and reproducible platform, which has been validated through our two significant partnership deals, enabling our ImmTACs to be deployed as the basis of breakthrough treatments for cancers where there is a large unmet medical need." Release (PDF)

Jounce: "It is an honor to be recognized in the Fierce 15 class of 2013 for our transformational approach to cancer therapy," said Dr. Cary Pfeffer, interim chief executive officer of Jounce. "With the recent advances in the field, this is an exciting time for the discovery and development of breakthrough cancer immunotherapies. Jounce's world-leading team and proprietary approach positions us at the forefront of the space as we rapidly advance our pipeline and work toward achieving our goal of developing new cancer treatments that significantly improve patients' long-term survival." Release

Kala Pharmaceuticals: "There is a clear need for breakthrough therapeutic solutions to address the significant and rapidly growing ocular disease market," said Guillaume Pfefer, president and chief executive officer of Kala Pharmaceuticals. "Inclusion in the Fierce 15 is an honor that highlights the strength of Kala's scientific approach to developing improved treatments for both front and back of the eye disease." Release

Moderna: "We are honored to be selected as a Fierce 15 company and recognized for our vision in the field of messenger RNA therapeutics™," said Stéphane Bancel, president and founding CEO of Moderna. "This award comes at an exciting time for us, as we recently published our first proof of concept study in Nature Biotechnology, providing important validation of our platform's potential to treat many diseases that cannot be addressed today. We are thrilled to be moving forward quickly and safely to translate our technology into treatment for patients in need." Release

Nimbus Discovery: "Nimbus is successfully solving hard chemistry problems for the most sought-after disease targets in an effort to deliver breakthrough medicines," said Dr. Rosana Kapeller, chief scientific officer of Nimbus. "We believe that achieving this goal requires a fundamentally deeper understanding of drug pharmacology. Our progress to date has been enabled through cutting-edge technology and the insights of our industry-leading team, Scientific Advisory Board, Board of Directors and drug-discovery collaborators." Release

Presage Biosciences: "We are honored to be recognized as one of the "Fierce 15‟ by FierceBiotech," said Dr. Jim Olson, founder and chairman of the Board of Directors of Presage. "At Presage, we are dedicated to improving cancer drug development so that patients can receive the most effective treatment possible." Release (PDF)

Scioderm: "We are proud to join this prestigious group of innovative companies and for our team's recognition as a Fierce 15 Company," said Robert Ryan, president and CEO of Scioderm. "There is a tremendous need for novel treatment options for treating the debilitating skin effects in patients with Epidermolysis Bullosa. The Scioderm team is working passionately to provide patients a new therapeutic alternative, in a disease with no currently effective treatments." Release

UniQure: "Joining the ranks of Fierce 15 companies is an honor and welcome recognition of all the hard work by our dedicated employees," adds Jörn Aldag, CEO of uniQure. "Our goals remain to advance our pipeline of treatments toward commercialization and to expand the potential of gene therapy." Release

Visterra: "We are honored to be recognized as one of the innovative companies selected for this year's 'Fierce 15'," said Dr. Brian Pereira, CEO of Visterra. "There is a critical need for better approaches to address infectious diseases, and Visterra's proprietary antibody engineering platform offers improved ways to discover and develop treatments for a range of difficult-to-treat infectious diseases. The prospect of developing game-changing medicines that can significantly impact the lives of patients around the world truly motivates our team, and we look forward to building our company around Visterra's exciting technology." Release

Check out the full report here. -- John Carroll, editor-in-chief, FierceBiotech. Follow me on Twitter and LinkedIn.

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