Ionis finds new partner in a young biotech and its hopeful founder
ENDPOINTS NEWS—Omri Gottesman came to the US from the UK 10 years ago, wide-eyed like many others.
The human genome project was long-complete and, with great fanfare, researchers were beginning to try and leverage those insights into treatments. Mount Sinai School of Medicine offered him a fellowship focused on just that: genomic medicine.
“At the time, there was a lot of hope and hype that we had solved health, and would be able to discover and prevent everything and treat everyone,” Gottesman told Endpoints News. “It was the reason I came to Mount Sinai.”
Over the ensuing decade, human biology proved much more elusive than they imagined. Genetics was more complicated than A-T and C-G. There were no easy hacks. Still, the field advanced and after 4 years at Mount Sinai and a stint at Regeneron, Gottesman decided he wanted to advance it on his own and build a new platform around the original mission: Analyze genetic information to home in on ideal drug targets. He called the new company Empirico and soon raised $30 million.
It’s not a unique concept, but it’s one Gottesman pulled off well enough to today score a three-year partnership with Ionis Pharmaceuticals, one of the oldest and more successful genetics-based drug developers…