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BlueRock Therapeutics appoints Shane Kovacs as new CFO

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BlueRock Therapeutics
Head
of the Bayer Life Science Centre Dr. Axel Bouchon, and Managing
Director of Versant Ventures, Dr. Jerel Davis at the launch of
BlueRock Therapeutics.

Reuters


  • BlueRock Therapeutics
    , a biotech company looking to create
    cell and gene therapies in the field of regenerative medicine,
    just appointed former investment banker Shane Kovacs as its new
    CFO. 
  • This comes at a time where the market is seeing
    more biotech IPOs than ever before
    . Kovacs said that the
    company is considering going public as early as 2019. 
  • BlueRock is focusing on three areas: Parkinson’s Disease,
    heart failure, and autoimmune disease. 
  • BlueRock is looking to get its new Parkinson’s treatment into
    human trials and is expecting to do so by the end of this
    year. 

BlueRock Therapeutics, a moonshot project from pharma
giant Bayer and Versant Ventures, caught widespread attention
when it launched in 2016. Its goal is to be the leading biotech
company in cell and gene therapy for regenerative medicine. And
it wants to do that by 
regenerating human heart and
brain cells to help patients with Parkinson’s Disease and heart
failure. 

On Thursday, the Cambridge-based company brought on former
investment banker Shane Kovacs as its new CFO, as the company
prepares to raise more funding and to potentially go public in
2019. 

To date, it’s raised $225 million in funding.

BlueRock is hoping to deliver a one-two punch in tackling disease
by combining techniques used in both modern day cell therapy and
gene therapy. To fuel this, they are creating master bank of
universal stem cells – cells that can be made into any type of
cell patients need from heart to brain. 

Using these cells, they can repair damaged cells in the brains of
Parkinson’s patients, and regenerate heart muscles in patients
with heart failure.They can also tweak and correct rare genetic
disorders or mutations while they’re creating these new cells.

So far, the team has set its sights on three areas: neurology,
cardiology, and autoimmune function.

The leading drug in BlueRock’s therapeutic pipeline is its
Parkinson’s Disease therapy. The company recently filed an
application with the FDA in order to start clinical trials on the
treatment. The team expects to start dosing in human patients by
the end of this year. The trial will allow the team to monitor
safety and access effects. 

In the pipeline, BlueRock’s cardiology program for heart failures
is currently being tested in animal models, and its autoimmune
program is set to undergo pre-clinical proof-of-concept
studies.  

“There’s tremendous growth that we’re experiencing and
there’s a ton to do,” Kovacs told Business Insider. For one,
BlueRock has grown from 10 employees a year ago to 70 today, and
they’re expecting to grow into 200 by the end of next year.
BlueRock is also looking to build out its innate manufacturing
capabilities, so it can exert full control over the production
process. 

“Clearly with our plan and where we’re going to take the
business and the platform, we’re going to need access to
additional capital,” said Kovacs. To do this, he floated the idea
of another private fundraising round, as well as the possibility
of taking the company public next year.  

In 2018,
there has been 38 biotech IPOs so far, raising almost $3.9
billion in total which is the highest dollar amount since 2000,
according to Bloomberg. 

 

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