Kolltan Pharma Raises $35 Million

Kolltan Pharmaceuticals Inc., a New Haven, Conn.-based developer of oncology therapeutics, has raised over $35 million in Series A funding. No investor information was disclosed. The company also named Michael Schmertzler, founder of Morgan Stanley’s biotech I-banking business, as CEO. 



Kolltan Pharmaceuticals, Inc. announced today that the Company has raised over $35 million in its Series A preferred stock financing. Kolltan is a next-generation oncology therapeutics company applying expertise in novel receptor tyrosine kinase (RTK) targets based on recent discoveries in the laboratory of Dr. Joseph Schlessinger, William H. Prusoff Professor and Chairman of the Department of Pharmacology at Yale University School of Medicine. The proceeds of the Series A financing will be used to advance Kolltan’s therapeutic development pipeline.


Kolltan also reported in a separate press announcement today expansion of the Company’s senior management team with the appointments of Michael Schmertzler as Chief Executive Officer and Director, and Yaron Hadari, Ph.D., as Vice President of Research.


Mr. Schmertzler and Arthur Altschul, Co-Founder and Chairman of the Kolltan Board, commented, “We are proud to announce the closing of this financing with an excellent group of experienced investors, including Purdue Pharma, L.P., HBM Capital Partners, the Pritzker/Vlock family, as well as other substantial private life science investors. We look forward to working with them to develop and commercialize Dr. Joseph Schlessinger’s important discoveries licensed from Yale University by Kolltan.”


E. Jonathan Soderstrom, Managing Director, Yale University Office of Cooperative Research, stated, “We are excited to work with the Kolltan team to translate Dr. Schlessinger’s discoveries into important new therapeutics for treating life-threatening diseases.”


Dr. Schlessinger is Co-Founder, Chief Scientist and a Director of Kolltan. He is also Co-Founder and Chairman of Plexxikon and in 1991 co-founded SUGEN which developed an RTK oncology therapeutic now marketed by Pfizer. Prior to joining Yale, from 1998-2001, Dr. Schlessinger was the Director of the Skirball Institute for Biomolecular Medicine at New York University (NYU) Medical Center and, from 1990-2001, the Milton and Helen Kimmelman Professor and Chairman of the Department of Pharmacology at NYU Medical School. Dr. Schlessinger has received many prizes and awards and is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies, among other organizations.


Dr. Schlessinger stated, “We have formed Kolltan to translate important new insights concerning the mechanism of RTK-related disease into therapeutics that address the limitations of first generation drugs now in the clinic. We expect Kolltan to build on the advanced research that we have completed and move expeditiously toward the development of products and clinical trials.”


Arthur G. Altschul, Jr., is Co-Founder and Chairman of Kolltan. He founded Diaz and Altschul Capital Management, a private investment advisory firm, and has worked in investment banking, venture capital and as a member of senior management of SUGEN, prior to that company’s acquisition by Pharmacia & Upjohn, Inc. Previously, Mr. Altschul worked at Goldman, Sachs & Co. and Morgan Stanley & Company. Mr. Altschul serves on the Board of Directors of General American Investors, Medicis Pharmaceutical Corporation and Diversified Natural Products, Inc., and is Chairman of Medrium, Inc. He is a director of The Overbrook Foundation, and a trustee of The Neurosciences Research Foundation and of the National Public Radio Foundation (NPR).


About Kolltan Pharmaceuticals


Kolltan is a development-stage company advancing therapeutics that target well-defined and validated molecular mechanisms of disease in areas of critical clinical need. Kolltan is developing a new generation of monoclonal antibody oncology therapeutics based on recent, seminal discoveries made in the laboratory of Dr. Joseph Schlessinger, Chairman of the Department of Pharmacology at Yale University. These proprietary discoveries elucidate novel molecular mechanisms underlying the activation of receptor tyrosine kinases, which regulate key cell processes and play a pivotal role in oncogenesis.