New Biopharma Company Acelyrin Is on the Hunt for Immunotherapy Drugs

Breanna De Vera

Breanna de Vera is dot.LA's editorial intern. She is currently a senior at the University of Southern California, studying journalism and English literature. She previously reported for the campus publications The Daily Trojan and Annenberg Media.

New Biopharma Company Acelyrin Is on the Hunt for Immunotherapy Drugs
Photo by Jaron Nix on Unsplash

A new biopharmaceutical startup, ACELYRIN, that launched this week is on the hunt for new immunological therapies that it can bring to market.

The company just closed a round backed by Westlake Village BioPartners, a two-year-old venture capital fund that recently raised $500 million.

Flush with an undisclosed amount of cash, ACELYRIN is looking to fund research done in academia or by smaller companies that will lead to the commercialization of new drugs.

"At the end of the day, what we really want to do together is we want to build a long-term, sustainable biopharma company, with initial focus on immunology, that ultimately has a pipeline with the potential to be really meaningful to patients with serious diseases," said co-founder and chief executive Shao-Lee Lin. "Our ultimate goal is to have a fully integrated biopharma company with broad research, development and commercialization capabilities."

Lin created the company with Bob Carey, whom she met at Horizon Therapeutics, a biopharmaceutical company based in Lake Forest, Illinois, that focuses on rare diseases, rheumatology and primary care.

Carey was Horizon's chief business officer when Lin joined as its first chief scientific officer as well as the head of research and development. They worked on developing drugs like Tepezza, a thyroid eye disease medicine and Krystexxa, a gout medication. Carey will serve as ACELYRIN's chief operating officer.

Bob Carey is co-founder and. chief operating officer at ACELYRIN.

Shao-Lee Lin

Shao-Lee Lin is co-founder and chief executive at ACELYRIN.

"[Carey] contributed tremendously to the transformation of [Horizon] from sort of a specialty pharma company to a rare-disease-focused, and then ultimately to a development-stage organization, which is when I joined — when it started to think about having an R&D organization," said Lin.

They want to take ACELYRIN in a similar direction, to become a company that has arms in research and development, as well as one that commercializes its medicines. They plan to partner with big pharmaceutical companies to take on projects that may have been sidelined.

It's a common model among smaller and newer companies, according to Karen Van Nuys, a professor at the USC Price Price School of Public Policy and in the Schaeffer Center for Health Policy and Economics.

"[These companies] often focus on initial discovery and early development phases, but then partner with a larger, more established pharmaceutical company when the time comes to conduct large-scale trials and go through the formal drug approval process," said Van Nuys.

ACELYRIN hopes to eventually be able to keep all steps of projects within their company. For now, they are searching for partners in big pharma and academia while they grow.

If successful, Lin and Carey think they will build on Los Angeles' status as California's third biotech hub, after San Diego and San Francisco. Last year, L.A. County received over $1.1 billion from the government for life science research and development, according to a recent report by Biocom.

Subscribe to our newsletter to catch every headline.


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

Motional Links With Uber to Make Robotaxis a Reality

Samson Amore

Samson Amore is a reporter for dot.LA. He holds a degree in journalism from Emerson College and previously covered technology and entertainment for TheWrap and reported on the SoCal startup scene for the Los Angeles Business Journal. Send tips or pitches to and find him on Twitter @Samsonamore.

Image courtesy of Motional

Motional, a self-driving taxi startup backed by Hyundai, will partner with Uber to bring its robotic taxis to cities throughout the United States within the next decade as part of its push to get people more comfortable with the concept of taking a ride in a driverless electric vehicle.

Read moreShow less