Syndax Pharmaceuticals

Fierce 15 Winner

Based: Waltham, MA
Founded: 2005

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. "We’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.

Syndax Pharmaceuticals

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