TULARIK ATTRACTS GENENTECH FUNDING AND FORMER EXECS
TULARIK ATTRACTS GENENTECH FUNDING AND FORMER EXECS to the South San Francisco-based start-up specializing in transcription factor technology. Tularik, founded in January 1992, completed a $3.9 mil. seed financing that includes an investment by the Mayfield Fund as well as a minority stake held by Genentech. The firm is headed by two former Genentech execs and includes a Genentech scientist as one of its three founders. Tularik was founded by: David Goeddel, PhD, who has been Genentech's director of molecular biology since 1980; Stephen McKnight, PhD, a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator at the Carnegie Institution; and Robert Tjian, PhD, a Howard Hughes investigator at the University of California, Berkeley. The three men named the firm after a river in Alaska where they go fishing. McKnight is Tularik's director of research and Tjian is chairman of the firm's scientific advisory board. Tularik's research efforts initially will focus on developing transcription factor-based therapeutics for certain viral diseases. The firm has established three specific viral disease targets but has not disclosed what they are. Tularik expects to move into its 20,000 sq ft research facility and headquarters within the next few weeks. Tularik President and CEO James Gower was previously senior VP at Genentech, where he was responsible for sales, marketing, business development and product planning. Gower was with Genentech from 1981 to 1990, during which time he developed a 350- person sales force and raised $123 mil. through R&D limited partnerships, the Tularik backgrounder states. Another former Genentech exec, Yasunori Kaneko, MD, joined Tularik Aug. 4 as VP-business development. Kaneko spent the past year at Isis Pharmaceuticals where he helped raise $60 mil., including an initial public offering. During his six years at Genentech, Kaneko was the project leader for the firm's human growth hormone program.
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