Acelyrin Wants to Move LA Biotech Beyond the 'Innovate and Exit' Model

Keerthi Vedantam

Keerthi Vedantam is a bioscience reporter at dot.LA. She cut her teeth covering everything from cloud computing to 5G in San Francisco and Seattle. Before she covered tech, Keerthi reported on tribal lands and congressional policy in Washington, D.C. Connect with her on Twitter, Clubhouse (@keerthivedantam) or Signal at 408-470-0776.

Acelyrin Wants to Move LA Biotech Beyond the 'Innovate and Exit' Model

The reality for most bioscience startups developing drugs is that, if they don't fail, they will be swallowed up by a pharmaceutical giant.

After a decade in the pharmaceutical industry and being involved in developing several high-profile drugs including Humira, Shao-Lee Lin wasn't interested in creating another company for big pharma. She wanted to create the next Amgen.


She created Acelyrin with biotech veteran Bob Carey last year to develop immunological drugs. They announced their first drug in development is izokibep; a high-potency, small molecular drug that aims to target several autoimmune diseases like axial spondyloarthritis, an arthritis that affects the spine; and hidradenitis suppurativa, a painful chronic disease. More than 300 patients have been dosed with it.

"We're not looking to be the typical startup company that ultimately will incubate something for a number of years and flip and exit and then cycle back and do it again," she said.

Lin moved from Chicago to Southern California after getting the backing of Westlake Village BioPartners, a venture firm co-founded by ex-Amgen executives Sean Harper and Beth Seidenberg.

"Part of our mission was to build the L.A. biotech hub," Lin said. "I was living in the Chicago area at the time and I agreed to relocate here and to headquarter Acelyrin here as part of [Westlake Village BioPartners] efforts to continue to build the L.A. biotech hub."

Now, the company has announced $250 million in Series B funding led by AyurMaya, Surveyor Capital and Westlake Village BioPartners. Acelyrin's $250 million raise will go towards further developing izokibep to get it in the hands of patients, and creating new drugs.

"It's this $250 million Series B that just makes it that much more real, tangible and vibrant for us, that enables us to continue to attract innovators and talent in the area, as well as enhance the opportunities of all of those people who are already in the area."

Westlake Village BioPartners launched in 2018 with several million dollars to invest in Southern California bioscience startups on the frontier of drug development. It opened a 130,000 square foot campus next to Amgen's headquarters to house many of the startups they invest in.

Lin spent more than a decade at biopharma giants like Amgen, Gilead and Abbvie and had a hand in several drugs like Humira and Enbrel.

"We really are after building a long-term sustainable biopharma company that ultimately has fully integrated R&D as well as commercialization," Lin said.

https://twitter.com/KeerthiVedantam
keerthi@dot.la

Subscribe to our newsletter to catch every headline.

Cadence

Genies Wants To Help Creators Build ‘Avatar Ecosystems’

Christian Hetrick

Christian Hetrick is dot.LA's Entertainment Tech Reporter. He was formerly a business reporter for the Philadelphia Inquirer and reported on New Jersey politics for the Observer and the Press of Atlantic City.

Genies Wants To Help Creators Build ‘Avatar Ecosystems’

When avatar startup Genies raised $150 million in April, the company released an unusual message to the public: “Farewell.”

The Marina del Rey-based unicorn, which makes cartoon-like avatars for celebrities and aims to “build an avatar for every single person on Earth,” didn’t go under. Rather, Genies announced it would stay quiet for a while to focus on building avatar-creation products.

Genies representatives told dot.LA that the firm is now seeking more creators to try its creation tools for 3D avatars, digital fashion items and virtual experiences. On Thursday, the startup launched a three-week program called DIY Collective, which will mentor and financially support up-and-coming creatives.

Read moreShow less

Here's What To Expect At LA Tech Week

Christian Hetrick

Christian Hetrick is dot.LA's Entertainment Tech Reporter. He was formerly a business reporter for the Philadelphia Inquirer and reported on New Jersey politics for the Observer and the Press of Atlantic City.

Here's What To Expect At LA Tech Week

LA Tech Week—a weeklong showcase of the region’s growing startup ecosystem—is coming this August.

The seven-day series of events, from Aug. 15 through Aug. 21, is a chance for the Los Angeles startup community to network, share insights and pitch themselves to investors. It comes a year after hundreds of people gathered for a similar event that allowed the L.A. tech community—often in the shadow of Silicon Valley—to flex its muscles.

From fireside chats with prominent founders to a panel on aerospace, here are some highlights from the roughly 30 events happening during LA Tech Week, including one hosted by dot.LA.

Read moreShow less
RELATEDEDITOR'S PICKS
LA TECH JOBS
interchangeLA
Trending