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Monday, Apr 22, 2024

Mirador Launches to ‘Finish the Mission’

BIOTECH: Prometheus Team Reunites, Lands $400M Series A

LA JOLLA – The executive team behind Prometheus Biosciences – acquired by pharma giant Merck & Co. last summer for $10.8 billion – has reassembled to tackle some “unfinished business” with a new company launched late last month.

Mirador Therapeutics emerged from stealth March 21, announcing a $400 million Series A led by ARCH Venture Partners, with early investments from OrbiMed and Fairmount and joined by other top life science investors Fidelity Management & Research Company, Point72, Farallon Capital Management, Boxer Capital, TCGX, Invus, Logos Capital, Moore Strategic Ventures, Blue Owl Healthcare Opportunities, Sanofi Ventures, Woodline Partners LP, Venrock Healthcare Capital Partners, RTW Investments and Alexandria Venture Investments.

The massive early funding demonstrates investor confidence in the Mirador team, which is stacked with “folks that have been there, done that,” said Mirador CEO Mark McKenna, who himself has been there, done that as CEO of Prometheus.

In addition to McKenna, Mirador’s C-Suite includes Prometheus alumni Chief Scientific Officer Olivier Laurent, Ph.D., Chief Medical Officer Allison Luo, M.D., Chief Financial Officer Vika Brough, Chief Business Officer Jordan Zwick, Chief Legal Officer Tim Andrews and Chief People Officer Nori Ebersole. Joining the former Prometheus team as chief strategy officer is William J. Sandborn, M.D, who most recently served as president and chief medical officer of Ventyx Biosciences.

Following the acquisition by Merck, McKenna said he and his team took several months off to” figure out what to do next.”

Mark McKenna
Founder, Chairman & CEO
Mirador Therapeutics
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“I think we all came to the same conclusion that working together was the best part of the journey,” he said. “The idea here is that we’re going to finish the mission. We felt that at Prometheus there was a lot of unfinished business. The outcome [of the acquisition] was fantastic for patients, our shareholders and employees, but there are more ideas than we could possibly ever prosecute, and we think that now is the right time to put this approach on steroids and bring precision medicine into immunology, really for the first time.”

An Advanced Technology, Data-Rich ‘Rosetta Stone’

Mirador’s “on steroids” approach is a drug discovery engine platform called Mirador 360 that utilizes more than a million patients’ worth of molecular data.

“This data set leverages the latest techniques in terms of combining data sets that are publicly available as well as proprietary data sets at key academic centers all over the world,” McKenna said. “I think this is the best approach – leverage what’s available in the open-source arena along with proprietary data to give us a unique insight – a Rosetta Stone, if you will – into the immune system and the disease biology.”

The new engine is “completely different” from the one developed at Prometheus, McKenna said, not only because it will go after different targets than the TL1A targets Prometheus sold to Merck, but also that the new engine looks at where science will be “three to five years down the road, not where it is today.

“Our thesis is that you need to have a genetic association to the disease; you need to have some known biology. We want to go after mechanisms that work in multiple disease areas, and we want to be best or first,” he added.

Mirador has set its initial sights on immunology and inflammation (I&I) diseases affecting lung, skin and gastrointestinal as initial target areas to address and has already started to advance multiple therapeutics into preclinical development, and the company expects to produce multiple INDs (investigational new drugs) over next 12 to 18 months.

“The I&I field is in need of better, novel therapeutics as well as new R&D approaches that target enriched patient populations for improved probability of success in the clinic,” said Kristina Burow, Mirador board member and managing director of ARCH Venture Partners. “The Mirador team has an outstanding track record of success in precision immunology, and we are well on our way to building a company that will make a lasting impact on the lives of millions of patients suffering from a broad range of immune-mediated inflammatory and fibrotic diseases.”

Building on Lessons Learned from Past Success

Mirador is currently working in a lab space in Torrey Pines, “not too far” from Prometheus’ headquarters, McKenna said, but has plans to move into a larger lab sometime in 2025. The company is also looking to quickly expand its headcount to 50 to 60 by the end of the year.

In building Mirador, McKenna said he will apply lessons learned at Prometheus, such as having a big vision and small focus.

Kristina Burow
Managing Director
ARCH Venture Partners

“We were thinking about building a company that could be the next Regeneron, the next Vertex,” he said of Prometheus’ approach. “It wasn’t about building a company to sell but having a big vision for creating a real valuable I&I company – and we also were sweating the details, the execution point.”

Another valuable lesson, he said, is having a portfolio that is moderated from a risk perspective and making sure to be thoughtful in deploying capital, “knowing that development is expensive and take a long time.

“Speed is the new currency in biotech,” he continued. “Our belief is that through this precision approach we can move things much faster and do it more effectively and bring better benefits to patients by bringing the right drug to the right patient.”

Mirador Therapeutics
CEO: Mark McKenna
HEADQUARTERS: La Jolla, Torrey Pines
BUSINESS: precision medicine company focused on immunology and inflammation
FUNDING: $400 million (Series A)
WEBSITE: www.miradortx.com
NOTABLE: Mirador is founded by the executive team of Prometheus Biosciences, which sold to Merck in 2023 for $10.8 billion.


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