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Biotech Vet Gerngross Dishes Out More Details On Latest VC-Backed Startup Arsanis

Jul 29, 2011   |   by Ryan McBride   |   Xconomy

Our immune systems churn out antibodies to fight infections, so perhaps it’s about time that some biotech companies started getting in on the action. Arsanis, co-founded late last year by successful biotech entrepreneur Tillman Gerngross, is using the antibody discovery technology from another of Gerngross’s startups, Lebanon, NH-based Adimab, to find antibody drugs that might provide a new alternative to antibiotics for bacterial infections.

Adimab doesn’t develop drugs. Rather, large pharmaceutical companies—such as Merck & Co. (NYSE:MRK), Pfizer (NYSE:PFE), and Roche—have hired the startup to use its yeast-based system to discover antibodies for those companies to develop. Now it’s got a new way to commercialize its technology—via Arsanis, which Adimab spun out to focus exclusively on applying the technology to the infectious diseases field. And three of Adimab’s previous backers—Obimed Advisors, Polaris Venture Partners, and SV Life Sciences—are investing in Arsanis. The new startup—whose $9.6 million financing I reported last week—has now raised about $10 million, according to Gerngross.

“When we find people who really know what they are doing, and we think the Adimab value can make a difference, we are interested in starting companies around that,” says Gerngross, who is CEO of Adimab and president of Arsanis.

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