Arena BioWorks has launched as a biomedical research institute with a stated mission to uncover mechanisms of disease by engaging in basic biological research that will be translated into lifesaving biotech therapeutics.
Arena BioWorks describes itself as a dual-purpose entity aimed at achieving social good and creating long-term sustainable impact through the formation of for-profit biotechnology companies.
It is located in the Kendall Square biotech hub in Cambridge, MA and will rely solely on private funding.
Arena’s management committee comprises chemical biologist Stuart Schreiber as Chief Executive Officer, former Co-Chair of Bain Capital and award-winning philanthropist, Steve Pagliuca as Executive Chair, and Founder and Managing Partner of the life science venture capital firm Newpath Partners, Tom Cahill as Institute Representative.
Schreiber said: “Arena’s single source of funding frees our scientists from the typical short-term cycles of grant and venture capital funding. Our aim is to accelerate progression from deep mechanistic human biology to biotech-enabled drug development.”
A self-sustaining business model
Arena plans to reach broadly across indications with the greatest unmet medical needs and for which there is a deep understanding of human pathobiology. These indications include areas of brain health, oncology, immunology, and ageing, among others.
The company aims to advance platform technologies including chemoproteomics, molecular glue and covalent drug discovery, high-throughput screening, protein and antibody engineering, gene and epigenetic editing, gene and cell therapies, drug delivery, and data science.
“Arena aims to complement existing institutions,” said Pagliuca. “We are combining and building on the best practices from universities, institutes, and venture capital firms to create a new model that will speed the development of life-saving medicines for patients. In addition, by reinvesting a portion of the profits returned from discoveries and resulting therapies, Arena will be a self-sustaining centre of excellence focused on improving human health in perpetuity.”