MALVERN, Pa., June 28, 2004 (PRIMEZONE) -- Gentara Corporation, an emerging biopharmaceutical company focused on the development of breakthrough pharmaceutical products for treating HIV infection and cancer, today announced that it has relocated from Princeton, New Jersey and established its headquarters and research and development operations in Malvern, Pennsylvania.
"We are proud to become part of a new wave of outstanding biotech companies that have recently emerged in the Greater Philadelphia region. The region has a wealth of resources: leading medical research institutions; premier biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies; experienced investors; and ample scientific and management talent," said John Gill, Gentara's President and Chief Executive Officer. "The state's commitment to life sciences companies combined with the alignment of support from Pennsylvania Bio and other regional support organizations have created significant momentum. There's something good happening here and now we're part of it."
Gentara's products will be based on novel proprietary biology and chemistry. The technologies focus on a common theme of enabling cancer and HIV infected cells to die through the process of programmed cell death. "We have a real head start in our cancer program based on the work of our founding scientists at Princeton University," said Dr. Mark McKinlay, Gentara's Chief Scientific Officer. "The program is exciting because the drugs we develop may be useful for many different types of cancer and we should be able to use a laboratory test to pre-select patients most likely to respond to therapy."
Gentara recently closed an $8 million start-up financing. The financing was led by HealthCare Ventures LLC of Princeton, New Jersey and PA Early Stage of Wayne, Pennsylvania. PA Early Stage is one of the biotech venture capital firms that received tobacco settlement investment dollars to be invested Pennsylvania life sciences companies. The Tobacco Settlement Investment Board is managed by the Technology Investment Office of the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development.
"During the early to mid 1980's the region created two of the nation's biggest biotech company successes - Centocor and Cephalon. A decade later, successful companies like Adolor, 3 Dimensional Pharmaceuticals and others emerged, creating jobs for thousands of Pennsylvanians," said Dennis Yablonsky, Secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development. "Building on its past success, the region is creating an impressive new crop of start-up companies - companies like Gentara, BioRexis, Eximias, Acuity, Nucleonics, Morphotek and others."
Yablonsky went on to note that most managers in these companies have previously worked both in the region's major pharmaceutical companies and biotechnology companies, creating a collaborative environment. "The state expects these new companies to make major contributions to healthcare and to the region's economy and we are pleased to see our efforts and investments paying off," said Yablonsky.
Gentara Corporation was established during 2003 by Drs. George McLendon and Yigong Shi based on their discoveries made at Princeton University. Their initial goal was to develop breakthrough products to diagnose and treat cancer. Through an academic collaboration with Dr. Hartmut Hanauske at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, they expanded their goal to include new treatments for HIV infections. Gentara's team is comprised entirely of experienced people from the region's leading pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies.
About The Life Sciences Industry in Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania is a leading life sciences center and employs nearly 84,000 people in the biopharmaceuticals and related industries. Pennsylvania has established a broad network of resources and funding sources to further support the momentum of the industry. The state supports and works closely with industry and investment organizations such as Pennsylvania Bio, The Ben Franklin Technology Partners, the Life Sciences Greenhouses, the Technology Councils, Innovation Philadelphia, PA Early Stage and Quaker BioVentures.
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Wise Communications, LLC Kori Beer (610) 216-0634