Kosan Biosciences

Kosan Biosciences

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Kosan Biosciences, Inc. (stock symbol: KOSN), is a pharmaceutical company which deals with cancer
Cancer
Cancer , known medically as a malignant neoplasm, is a large group of different diseases, all involving unregulated cell growth. In cancer, cells divide and grow uncontrollably, forming malignant tumors, and invade nearby parts of the body. The cancer may also spread to more distant parts of the...

 therapeutics medications. The company is currently working on advancing two new classes of anticancer agents through clinical development: heat shock protein
Heat shock protein
Heat shock proteins are a class of functionally related proteins involved in the folding and unfolding of other proteins. Their expression is increased when cells are exposed to elevated temperatures or other stress. This increase in expression is transcriptionally regulated...

 90 (Hsp90
Hsp90
Hsp90 is a molecular chaperone and is one of the most abundant proteins expressed in cells. It is a member of the heat shock protein family, which is upregulated in response to stress...

) inhibitors
Enzyme inhibitor
An enzyme inhibitor is a molecule that binds to enzymes and decreases their activity. Since blocking an enzyme's activity can kill a pathogen or correct a metabolic imbalance, many drugs are enzyme inhibitors. They are also used as herbicides and pesticides...

 and epothilones.

Their technology platform is based on manipulation of the genetic instructions of microbes for making natural product
Natural product
A natural product is a chemical compound or substance produced by a living organism - found in nature that usually has a pharmacological or biological activity for use in pharmaceutical drug discovery and drug design...

 polyketide
Polyketide
Polyketides are secondary metabolites from bacteria, fungi, plants, and animals. Polyketides are usually biosynthesized through the decarboxylative condensation of malonyl-CoA derived extender units in a similar process to fatty acid synthesis...

s. Rearranging the modular units
Protein domain
A protein domain is a part of protein sequence and structure that can evolve, function, and exist independently of the rest of the protein chain. Each domain forms a compact three-dimensional structure and often can be independently stable and folded. Many proteins consist of several structural...

 in natural polyketide synthase
Polyketide synthase
Polyketide synthases are a family of multi-domain enzymes or enzyme complexes that produce polyketides, a large class of secondary metabolites, in bacteria, fungi, plants, and a few animal lineages...

s, combining modules from different enzymes, and incorporating novel synthetic chemical starter units enables them to produce a wide variety of novel polyketides that would be difficult to obtain via organic synthesis alone.

Founded in 1995, Kosan is headquartered in Hayward, California
Hayward, California
Hayward is a city located in the East Bay in Alameda County, California. With a population of 144,186, Hayward is the sixth largest city in the San Francisco Bay Area and the third largest in Alameda County. Hayward was ranked as the 37th most populous municipality in California. It is included in...

 and currently has approximately 90 employees. Kosan was funded in part as a venture capital
Venture capital
Venture capital is financial capital provided to early-stage, high-potential, high risk, growth startup companies. The venture capital fund makes money by owning equity in the companies it invests in, which usually have a novel technology or business model in high technology industries, such as...

 start-up
Startup company
A startup company or startup is a company with a limited operating history. These companies, generally newly created, are in a phase of development and research for markets...

 with funds from Sofinnova Ventures of California.

On June 26, 2008, Kosan Biosciences was acquired by Bristol-Myers Squibb
Bristol-Myers Squibb
Bristol-Myers Squibb , often referred to as BMS, is a pharmaceutical company, headquartered in New York City. The company was formed in 1989, following the merger of its predecessors Bristol-Myers and the Squibb Corporation...

.

Discodermolide


Discodermolide
Discodermolide
-Discodermolide is a recently discovered polyketide natural product found to be a potent inhibitor of tumor cell growth. The molecule's carbon skeleton is made up of eight polypropionate and four acetate units with 13 stereocenters.-History:...

 is a recently discovered polyketide
Polyketide
Polyketides are secondary metabolites from bacteria, fungi, plants, and animals. Polyketides are usually biosynthesized through the decarboxylative condensation of malonyl-CoA derived extender units in a similar process to fatty acid synthesis...

 natural product found to be a potent inhibitor of tumor cell growth. Kosan has been working in conjunction with the Amos B. Smith research group on a preclinical drug development program.

Management


Helen S. Kim is the President & CEO of Kosan Biosciences. One member of the Board of Directors, Dr. Jean Deleage
Jean Deleage
Dr. Jean Deleage, Ph.D. was an early venture capital investor responsible for the founding or co-founding of three notable venture capital firms since 1971: Sofinnova, Burr, Egan, Deleage & Co. and Alta Partners.-Career:...

, was one of the founders and managing partners of Burr, Egan, Deleage & Co.
Burr, Egan, Deleage & Co.
Burr, Egan, Deleage & Co. was a venture capital firm which focused on investments in information technology, communications, and healthcare/biotechnology companies....

, a private venture capital
Venture capital
Venture capital is financial capital provided to early-stage, high-potential, high risk, growth startup companies. The venture capital fund makes money by owning equity in the companies it invests in, which usually have a novel technology or business model in high technology industries, such as...

 firm which invested in information technology
Information technology
Information technology is the acquisition, processing, storage and dissemination of vocal, pictorial, textual and numerical information by a microelectronics-based combination of computing and telecommunications...

, communications, and healthcare/biotechnology
Biotechnology
Biotechnology is a field of applied biology that involves the use of living organisms and bioprocesses in engineering, technology, medicine and other fields requiring bioproducts. Biotechnology also utilizes these products for manufacturing purpose...

companies.

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