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Originally published November 30, 2007 at 12:00 AM | Page modified November 30, 2007 at 12:34 AM

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$12 million generated for Fate biotech, stem cell drugs

A group of venture capitalists is investing $12 million to launch Fate Therapeutics, a biotech company aiming to develop drugs that spur...

Seattle Times business reporter

A group of venture capitalists is investing $12 million to launch Fate Therapeutics, a biotech company aiming to develop drugs that spur dormant adult stem cells to regenerate damaged tissue.

The budding biotech expects to have a product in early-stage clinical trials by next year. The company's principal backers are ARCH Venture Partners and Polaris Venture Partners, which both have a Seattle presence. OVP Venture Partners, of Kirkland, and Venrock, based in Cambridge, Mass., are also investors.

Fate is operating out of ARCH Venture Partners' Seattle offices, and will remain in the city if it finds a chief executive here, said ARCH founding partner Robert Nelsen. The company plans to open facilities in Massachusetts and California, a statement said.

In Seattle "we're able to attract money to great ideas," Nelsen said. "The hardest thing is finding the right team and the right CEOs."

Fate will work on drugs that cause dormant adult stem cells to rebuild damaged tissue, as well as drugs that reprogram mature adult cells into stem cells that can repair ailing organs.

The therapies could help treat Down syndrome, Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases, as well as repair tissue after heart attacks, infections or transplants. Stem cells could also help fight certain types of cancer.

Fate's founders include Randall Moon, a stem-cell expert at the University of Washington; scientists from Stanford University, the Scripps Research Institute and Harvard University; and Alex Rives, of ARCH Venture Partners.

The company's executive vice president, Tom St. John, was formerly the head of Icos' therapeutic development programs.

Ángel González: 206-515-5644 or agonzalez@seattletimes.com

Copyright © 2007 The Seattle Times Company

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