For Immediate Release: March 11, 2010
Montgomery County, the State of Maryland and Zyngenia, Inc. today announced the official commencement of the build out of laboratory and office space at Zyngenia’s new 14,000-square-foot headquarters in Gaithersburg, Maryland. County Executive Isiah Leggett was joined by Zyngenia, Inc. Chief Executive Officer Peter Kiener, D.Phil.; New Enterprise Associates (NEA) General Partner, Chair of the Montgomery County Biosciences Task Force and Zyngenia Chairman David Mott; Comptroller of Maryland Peter Franchot; Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development Deputy Secretary Dominick Murray; Mayor of Gaithersburg Sidney Katz; other local and state representatives; and members of the local life sciences community to celebrate this important milestone for Zyngenia, Montgomery County and Maryland.
“The story of Zyngenia is truly one of public-private partnership at its best – significant venture capital funding from NEA, joint investments by the County and State, ideal office and lab space supplied by Scheer Partners and, perhaps most importantly, the teaming of existing scientific and executive expertise found here in Montgomery County – all this combines to fuel Zyngenia’s science, growth and continuing success,” said Leggett.
The formation and planned growth of Zyngenia, a privately held biotherapeutics company headquartered in Montgomery County, was spurred by significant venture capital investments, led by a $10 million Series A investment from NEA in 2009 and a joint $2.5 million investment from Montgomery County and the State of Maryland earlier this year. The company has a current staff of 14 employees and plans to grow to at least 20 by the end of the year.
The strategic public/private partnership is a component of the County’s recently unveiled Bioscience Strategy, which aims to enhance the environment for entrepreneurship and creation of new life science companies in the County by merging increased local venture capital funding with proven biotech entrepreneurs and seasoned industry executives.
“We at Zyngenia feel very fortunate to have had the support and spirit of collaboration from this community,” said Kiener. “It’s clear that the County and State are committed to building a vibrant biotechnology industry and making this region a true leader in biotech growth as witnessed by the investment in the future of Zyngenia that built upon the initial funding we had received from NEA.”
Zyngenia uses proprietary technology to enable the development of singular molecular entities that address two or more targets, by combining the activity of two or more biologic therapies into one protein (known as a Zybody™). In addition, the technology will also be applied to drug targets that previously have not been reachable through the use of traditional, single specificity, monoclonal antibodies. The company is focusing its early research and development in creating therapies for patients who have unmet medical needs in cancer and autoimmune diseases.
“As Chairman of both Zyngenia and the Montgomery County Biosciences Task Force, I’ve been impressed with the speed and lack of bureaucracy that both the County and State have demonstrated in the past few months as Zyngenia was looking for a new corporate home,” said Mott. “With this type of dedication from local leaders, I am confident that we can continue to foster growth of Maryland’s new biotechnology companies as well as attract existing companies to our State.”
In addition to CEO Peter Kiener, Zyngenia’s management team comprises other established local biotech executives, including Joseph Amprey, III., M.D., Ph.D., Zyngenia’s Chief Business Officer who formerly led MedImmune Ventures, Inc., and David Hilbert, Ph.D., Zyngenia’s Vice President and Head of Research who previously had been Vice President of Research at Human Genome Sciences. The founding science for the company was brought in by Carlos Barbas, III., Ph.D., Zyngenia’s Chief Scientific Officer. Dr. Barbas is renowned for his expertise in novel antibody technologies, with his two previous biotech companies both being purchased; one by Pfizer and the other by Alexion. He continues to serve in senior positions with The Scripps Institute in La Jolla, California.
“Maryland’s knowledge economy – one based on science, security, technology and healing – is fueled by innovative companies like Zyngenia,” said Governor Martin O’Malley. “By locating and expanding in Maryland, Zyngenia will have access to our vast community of biopharmaceutical companies, the nation’s largest number of federal facilities and increased opportunities to attract venture capital funding.”
Zyngenia’s expansion and build-out is the latest in a series of other progressive, proactive initiatives by Montgomery County to grow the life sciences industry and bolster the local economy, including:
• The new bioscience strategy recommendation of a first-of-its-kind local biotech tax credit to spur investments in biotech companies;
• Leggett’s Smart Growth Initiative to create quality, high-paying jobs, and provide sufficient and affordable housing near mass transit by relocating certain County facilities, currently located on prime real estate near mass transit and within the Shady Grove Life Sciences Center, to make way for strategic commercial development; and,
• The forthcoming strategies from the County’s Green Economy Task Force to further support and grow this evolving business sector.
“We are extremely pleased that Zyngenia, a company with tremendous technology, a strong management team, and an impressive board of directors, is the lead tenant at 21 Firstfield Road,” said Robert Scheer, founder and president of Rockville-based Scheer Partners, the managing member of the Greater Washington Life Sciences Fund, which owns the building. “Zyngenia being here truly validates this shared-resources concept, and we look forward to welcoming other exciting and promising life sciences companies to this unique accelerator facility.”
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Media Contact: Kristina Ellis, 240-793-9568
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Jamie Lacey-Moreira, 410-299-3310