Based: Waltham, MA
The Scoop: "With cash and a keen understanding of the virtual model for biotech start-ups, Syndax is helping demonstrate how a fledgling company can swiftly vault ahead."
What makes it Fierce: With 5 employees and a fresh round of $40 million in venture capital, Syndax fits the bill of a new generation of virtual biotech companies--outsourcing just about everything involved in drug discovery.
Back in April, Syndax took two key steps in its development: It brought in $40 million in venture capital and then in-licensed an oncology drug from Bayer Schering that's ready to begin a mid-stage trial. That selective histone deacetylase inhibitor (HDACi) has already shown clinical activity in Phase I and it has demonstrated promise in combination with other approved cancer therapies--a well-established development strategy in the oncology world.
Top that off with an ongoing collaboration with the National Cancer Institute, and you find a company that has smart leadership, an advanced lead candidate and a strategy to seek accelerated approval for certain indications while looking further down the road to combinational therapies.
"We thought this was really exciting IP," says CEO Joanna Horobin, MD. "Weâ€™re talking about combinations to treat cancer in the future." As the ex-COO of CombinatoRx, Horobin has developed some keen insights into combination therapies. It's also demonstrated that cash and an exciting IP can swiftly ignite a start-up, a growth model that others are following as well.
What to look for: Horobin says the company would in-license another promising product if they can afford it. Meanwhile, there's enough money in the bank to get through Phase II (which get underway later this year), and a partnership for Phase III would be likely.