Semafore Pharmaceuticals Inc.
This article was originally published in Start Up
Semafore Pharmaceuticals Inc. (formerly ComChem Technologies) didn't start with a breakthrough scientific discovery. But the firm's founders encountered a unique opportunity along the way-through the work of Donald Durden, MD, PhD, at the Indiana University School of Medicine-and took advantage of it. Now Semafore is discovering and developing novel small molecules to treat cancer by targeting what the founders believe is the primary, non-redundant cell-signaling pathway for controlling cell survival and cell death.
You may also be interested in...
Every venture capitalist is anxious to use the latest IPO window to get his companies liquid. But some firms are more successful than others. At the top of the list there were few surprises--JP Morgan Partners and Alta Partners, with six biotech IPOs each, and MPM Capital with five. But the next group down contained some newer names.
What makes a health care VC stand out in the minds of entrepreneurs? According to a first-of-its-kind survey by Windhover, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Wilson Sonsini, and Applied Information Networks, the answer is value-added services. Entrepreneurs prize VCs who assist them, pre-financing, with constructive feedback and sharing of due diligence results. VCs do pretty well here. But they do less well on the more important post-financing criteria: helping their portfolio companies secure additional financing and recruit customers, partners, and employees.
Cardiokine Inc. is one of a new breed of biotechs jumpstarting its pipeline. Its lead program, and the basis for its first round of VC funding, came not from one of its own compounds, but from a compound abandoned by Big Pharma.