Based: Monrovia, CA
Why It's Fierce: Xencor has reengineered proteins to make them more effective as treatments. The beauty of their work is that it focuses on the constant region of an antibody, redesigning a segment that helps it bind more effectively to a target and make it more potent. And it's tremendously versatile. Their modular designs can work on a host of different therapies, which has allowed Xencor to sign up a who's who of research collaborators: Genentech, Roche and Lilly, to name a few. It also provides cash to fund operations while Xencor develops its own drug candidates, which are in preclinical development.
What to look for: Xencor's lead candidate should hit the clinic in late 2006, with another drug following six to seven months later. CEO Bassil Dahayit tells FierceBiotech that the company has just signed its fifth collaboration and expects a couple of more deals by the end of the year.