Codiak BioSciences, Inc., announced today (November 17, 2015) the closing of the first portion of a planned $80+ million Series A and B financing. The company also executed license and sponsored research agreements with The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. Leveraging recent advances in the biology of extracellular vesicles (EVs) and their role in intercellular communication, Codiak aims to become the world's leading company in developing exosomes as a new therapeutic and diagnostic modality for the treatment of a wide array of diseases, including cancer. The company is founded in part on technology developed in the laboratories of Raghu Kalluri, Ph.D., Professor and Chairman of the Department of Cancer Biology, MD Anderson. Dr. Kalluri and his colleagues have demonstrated that exosomes derived from normal cells can act as a potent and safe delivery system for multiple therapeutic payloads. Exosomes – small sub-cellular vesicles that leave cells and travel throughout the body – can mediate dramatic effects in animal models of disease. Dr. Kalluri's work with exosomes involves discoveries related to identification of double-stranded genomic DNA, exosome microRNAs and their biogenesis, exosome proteins, identification of cancer-specific exosomes and exosome-mediated therapies. Codiak is co-founded by Eric Lander (photo), Ph.D., President and Founding Director of the Broad Institute of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard University. Dr. Lander is also Professor of Biology at MIT and Professor of Systems Biology at Harvard Medical School. His experience in molecular and computational analysis of the genome will be of great value to Codiak as the company explores the depth and reach of the diagnostic and therapeutic applications of exosomes. Dr. Lander will serve on Codiak's Board of Directors.
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