Wednesday, Jan 15, 1992
Menlo Park, Calif. -- January 15, 1992 --A new biopharmaceutical start-up, Tularik Inc., has been formed by Mayfield Fund to develop novel human therapeutic products based on a unique biopharmaceutical approach -- transcription factors. Transcription factors are proteins that regulate the expression of genes into ribonucleic acid (RNA), which then serves as the template for protein production.
Mayfield Fund is the major equity investor in the new company. Genentech, Inc. also has an equity investment. Financial terms of the initial funding have not been disclosed.
Tularik is the first venture-backed biopharmaceutical company exclusively established to pursue transcription factor-based therapeutics. This new strategy is expected to have potentially broad applications in human disease through the regulation of specific protein production. Areas of interest include viral, cardiovascular and inflammatory diseases, as well as cancer.
The scientific founders of Tularik are: David Goeddel, Ph.D., Genentech Fellow and Genentech's Director of Molecular Biology; Steve McKnight, Ph.D., Carnegie Institute and a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator; and Robert Tjian, Ph.D., Department of Molecular and Cell Biology, U.C. Berkeley, Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator and a member of the National Academy of Sciences. Drs. Tjian and McKnight are world leaders in the field of transcription factor biochemistry. Mark Levin, General Partner and Co-Head of the Life Sciences Group at Mayfield Fund, will serve as Tularik's initial Chief Executive Officer.Independent Collaboration with Genentech
Levin said Tularik's business will operate entirely independent of Genentech, but the companies may be involved in various research collaborations. Genentech also will supply research materials to Tularik that relate to Tularik's business.
"Genentech is not directly involved in Tularik's technology," said Levin. "But the relationship, particularly Dr. Goeddel's close affiliation, gives them a liaison, and a window on the technology, and ultimately an opportunity for commercial development."
Tularik expects to open offices in the Bay Area in late January.
Mayfield Fund is a private venture capital partnership based in Menlo Park, California. Since its founding in 1969, Mayfield has had more than $370 million of capital under management and has invested in more than 175 companies that today represent a total market value of over $25 billion.
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