Amgen and Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers (KPCB) have founded a new drug development firm, Atara Biotherapeutics, focused on chronic diseases in therapeutic areas including nephrology and oncology. Atara will start out with licenses to six of Amgen’s preclinical and early-clinical programs.
The new firm will initially be financed by KPCB, and headed by former KPCB partner, Isaac Ciechanover, M.D. Amgen will retain a minority equity interest in Atara.
“Amgen is excited to partner with KPCB to help advance molecules in Amgen’s pipeline that have the potential to treat serious illnesses,” comments Sean E. Harper, M.D., Amgen’s executive vp for R&D. With facilities in both the Bay Area and near Amgen’s Thousand Oaks campus, Atara Biotherapeutics will provide the opportunity to further foster biotechnology innovation in Amgen’s communities.