The news: Pharmaceutical giant Amgen agreed to acquire Rodeo Therapeutics, a Seattle biotech startup creating small-molecule therapies that help repair and regrow tissues. Its goal is to treat inflammatory diseases, accelerate stem cell reconstitution following bone marrow transplant, and promote liver regeneration.
The terms:Amgen will pay $55 million upfront. The deal includes future contingent payments for up to $666 million.
Company background: Rodeo was started by gastrointestinal cancer expert Dr. Sanford Markowitz; stem cell and drug development specialist Dr. Stanton Gerson; and regenerative medicine expert Dr. Joseph Ready.
Thong Le is the companys CEO; hes also CEO of Seattle-based Accelerator Life Science Partners, one of Rodeos investors that helped launch the startup. Other backers include AbbVie, Lilly, Arch Venture Partners and Johnson & Johnson. The company had raised more than $14 million, according to PitchBook.
Seattle roots:Amgen previously had hundreds of employees at a sprawling waterfront campus near downtown Seattle but closed the space in 2014. The campus is now occupied by Expedia. Amgen more recently partnered with Seattle biotech giant Adaptive Biotechnologies on COVID-related drug development.