December 3, 2020
Reflecting on Kinnate Biopharma
By Jim Tananbaum
Today is an important day for Foresite Capital and our portfolio company, Kinnate Biopharma. Kinnate began trading today on the NASDAQ (KNTE). I’d like to take a moment to reflect on the incredibly fast journey that we’ve taken with the Kinnate team. We believe that Kinnate is poised to make a significant difference in the lives of patients with difficult-to-treat, genomically defined cancers.
Nima Farzan and the Kinnate team have set a high standard for execution this year. It’s hard to believe he was an entrepreneur in residence with us earlier this year, and joined Kinnate in March. Since joining, he successfully recruited Rob Kania, Mark Meltz, and Richard Williams to the senior management team, raised both a cross-over and public round, and hit virtually every milestone he and founder Steve Kaldor laid out for the company during a global pandemic. Most importantly, I admire the patient centric culture Nima and the team have built and the urgency and focus of the entire team. Kinnate’s call to battle — #patientsarewaiting — sums it all up.
Kinnate was Foresite Capital’s first incubation. Steve Kaldor, Eric Murphy and I got together at JPM in January 2018 and agreed to incubate a company together to treat resistant genomically defined cancers centered around Steve’s prolific chemistry experience and Eric’s deep expertise in precision oncology. Foresite Capital had just started to build out the Foresite Labs incubation platform and we wanted to extend our platform to help entrepreneurs build high quality companies efficiently. I have known Steve for more than 15 years, beginning with another start-up, Amira Pharma (which was bought by BMS) and have had tremendous respect for his laser-like execution skills. I knew he could help develop an ultra efficient incubation platform. From sketching an idea on a napkin to going public – it’s been a whirlwind three year pursuit. Along the way, our team – most notably Michael Rome and Brett Zbar – worked very closely with Steve and the Kinnate team. It takes a village to build these companies, and I would like to extend gratitude to fellow fellow board members Keith Flaherty, Carl Gordon and board observers from NextTech, Vida, and RA Capital. Each contributed significantly to Kinnate’s success.
We look forward to many years of a productive partnership with the entire Kinnate team and are thrilled to be part of their tremendous mission to treat genomically defined cancers.