Discovering Biotech Startups: A map for Selling to Deciduous Therapeutics


Written by:
David Wilkerson

We hope that you’re still enjoying the new branch of our Sponsor Atlas series, which focuses on young pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies that are in early stages or stealth mode. In the third edition of Sponsor Atlas: Discovering Biotech Startups, we’re looking at Deciduous Therapeutics, exploring the current affairs and future orientation of this emerging San Francisco - based stealth biotech company. To accomplish this, we will give a business overview of their current operations, summarize their outsourcing needs, map out their development goals and decision-makers, and highlight their current strategies for capturing innovation. If you haven’t already read our other blogs on new biotech startups, be sure to check them out here.

Deciduous Therapeutics is an early-stage biotech company and developer of a novel class of immunomodulatory therapies intended to support a healthy lifespan. Specifically, the company engages in developing therapies to activate the endogenous immune cell population that normally carries out immune surveillance and clearance of senescent cells, enabling the healthcare industry to eliminate the damage to healthy cells from traditional approaches to aging. [1

Business Overview

Deciduous Therapeutics is another stealth company with no public-facing website, so we had to do some fact-finding missions to gather more information about the company. Deciduous’ principal place of business, as noted on the SEC Form D, is also the location of an accelerator facility known as MBC Biolabs, located at 953 Indiana Street, San Francisco, CA 94107, with an additional location listed as a resident with the University of California’s QB3 accelerator facility. 

The business was established in Delaware as a C-Corp on 10/10/2018, and it was registered on 01/02/2019, with a registered agent address through CORP2000 in Sacramento. Deciduous raised $5.85M in private equity on 7/10/2019 from a group of 10 angel investors. Another interesting note is their connection with Longevity Fund and the Age1 accelerator facility also located in San Francisco. Longevity Fund, a venture capital firm focused on seed and Series A funding of companies focused on developing therapeutics for aging-related diseases, has raised $37 million from the likes of tech entrepreneur and investor Marc Andreessen, early Google employee Aydin Senkut's Felicis Ventures and others. [2] In 2018, Longevity Fund started the Age1 accelerator for early-stage businesses with a track that spans over four months to help get early startups to proof of concept or beyond. One of the companies they are currently working with is Deciduous Therapeutics. 

Outsourcing History

While the information on the outsourcing needs of Deciduous Therapeutics is few and far between, their recent seed venture financing is a good sign they have a lot of capital to play around with for drug discovery and for outsourcing development work. The company is very early in the development stage and they will be working through the usual steps for a while before reaching the IND stage with potential products. Their prospective pipeline will consist of therapies to activate the endogenous immune cell population, which functions to typically hunt down pathogens and clear out senescent cells that have stopped dividing. Any experience in these technologies would be of tremendous benefit to Deciduous at this point in time. 

We think outsourcing partners in the realms of large molecule CMOs, biomarker R&D companies, preclinical CROs and bioanalytical service providers with experience in FACS should definitely have Deciduous Therapeutics on their radar over the next few years. 

Deciduous’ Pipeline and R&D Focus

Deciduous’ potential pipeline consists of developing a novel class of immunomodulatory therapies to promote a long and healthy lifespan and to treat different indications of aging. It is already known that senescent cells accumulate and play a central role in the pathogenesis of a number of age-related diseases. So the company’s main operating premise is that accumulation of senescent cells is due to a failure of the immune system to properly eliminate them, and in order to solve this problem, Deciduous is developing therapies to activate the endogenous immune cell population that normally carries out immune surveillance and clearance of senescent cells. [3]

There isn't much information about Deciduous’ research and product pipeline, but some of the ways business development teams could initially connect would be from providing support in the following areas: Bioanalytical method development and method validation, costimulatory immunotherapy research, cellular activation and receptor technologies, research on biomarkers of cellular senescence, as well as in vitro skin senescence and possibly immunosenescence studies. If your teams are experienced with any of these specific capabilities and services, it would be a huge plus for Deciduous at this point in time. 

Decision Making

  • Robin Mansukhani - CEO of Deciduous Therapeutics, is a successful serial entrepreneur focused on biotech startups. Previously, he co-founded Alzeca Biosciences, a startup that specializes in MRI, Neurodegeneration, and is currently developing novel diagnostic technology for the early detection of Alzheimer’s Disease. Robin is also the founder and former VP of Cense Biosciences, a startup formed specifically to create a minimally invasive, self-regulating delivery technology for insulin. In the academics community, he co-founded BlueStamp Engineering, a hands-on technology program for high school students. He also currently serves as a mentor for the Thiel Fellowship (20 under 20). Prior to his work in start-ups, he served as an associate with The Maple Fund, an early-stage venture capital firm. He has also served as an EIR at NYU’s Stern School of Business, and has a B.S. in Biochemistry from Case Western Reserve University, where he served a term in AmeriCorps, teaching health and literacy to disadvantaged youth. [4]
  • Dr. Anil Bhushan - Director of Deciduous Therapeutics, Anil earned his Ph.D. in Biophysics at UC Davis and was a postdoctoral fellow at the Salk Institute of Biological Studies, where he worked on TGF-beta signaling in the specification and patterning of endoderm. His lab at UCSF specifically focuses on epigenetic changes regulating gene expression involved in reprogramming pancreatic beta cells during organogenesis and islet regeneration. His research is essential for developing therapeutic strategies to combat diabetes. [5]
  • Dylan Morris - Director and Investor at Deciduous Therapeutics, Dylan is an accomplished researcher, startup entrepreneur, and investor with a Degree in Computer Science from Harvard University and an expected Ph.D. from CalTech in Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics. Mr. Morris was previously an investor at Innovation Endeavors, and before that, he co-founded the nanotechnology startup, Integrated Plasmonics. Currently, he’s focusing on bioengineering investments, and is a general partner at the long-standing venture capital & private equity firm, Charles River Ventures, also known as CRV, based in Palo Alto, CA.  

Innovation

Deciduous is a gem of a startup, with significant investment backing, substantial experience in scientific benchwork, and deep technical knowledge from their executives. We believe that they will do very well in their early-stage developments, especially with already having developed a novel concept around immune activation for treating common diseases of aging, such as Alzheimer’s disease. It’s just a matter of time before Deciduous starts pumping out new proof-of-concept packages, pilot studies, and clinical trial materials for further research. 

There are other companies and research foundations doing similar work including the Alzheimer's Drug Discovery Foundation (ADDF). Many traditional therapies used to combat age-related diseases like Alzheimer’s have not completely cured the condition, thus ultimately only partially helping patients in the long run. Dr. Howard Fillit, founding executive director and chief science officer of ADDF said, “The only approved medications for Alzheimer's disease relieve some symptoms but do not halt disease progression. New therapies that prevent, slow, or stop the disease are urgently needed to fight the growing Alzheimer's disease burden in the United States and around the world. And, aging biology provides numerous novel targets for new drug development for Alzheimer's disease.” [6] Deciduous’ new approach aims at targeting the disease at its source and completely removing it from the body by using their immunotherapy approach and new platform technology. 

We think Deciduous Therapeutics is on track to have some major innovations in the areas of aging and autoimmune disorders, but it’s difficult to say exactly when they will actually come out of stealth mode for it. We’re thinking it should be within the next year, so be sure to keep them on your contact list and look out for our next edition in this series coming soon.

How can I find more stealth biotech companies?

If you would like a simple solution for keeping an eye on drug sponsor companies, like Deciduous Therapeutics, without relying on a database and generic lists of leads each week, we at Zymewire are here to help. Reach out today, and stay tuned for the next installment of the Sponsor Atlas: Discovering new Biotechs. If you enjoy these articles, please feel free to give them a share through the social links below!

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