2013 CURE Entrepreneur of the Year :: Dr. Craig M. Crews
Dr. Craig Crews of Arvinas and Yale honored with CURE Entrepreneur of the Year Award
At a ceremony December 3, Dr. Craig M. Crews of Yale University was presented the first annual CURE Entrepreneur of the Year Award, sponsored by the law firm of Shipman & Goodwin LLP, Counselors at Law. The award recognizes Dr. Crews’ longstanding commitment to entrepreneurship and the translation of fundamental basic research to new medicines. Dr. Crews, who holds appointments in Biology, Chemistry, and Pharmacology at Yale, is the founder of two biotech start-ups based on discoveries in his Connecticut laboratories, Proteolix and Arvinas.
“I deeply appreciate this recognition by CURE and the generosity of its sponsors,” Dr. Crews said. “As a resident of Connecticut for the past 18 years, I’m a big supporter of bioscience in the state and I’m happy that my latest venture has found a home here.” Dr. Crews lives in New Haven with his wife and two daughters.
Arvinas is a pharmaceutical company focused on developing novel therapeutics to treat a variety of diseases including cancer, pro-inflammatory, autoimmune and rare diseases. Started earlier this year at 5 Science Park in New Haven, it has already hired 15 employees. The CEO is Tim Shannon, MD, who is also a venture partner at Canaan Partners.
Dr. Crews has collaborated for many years with pharmaceutical companies to help feed their research and development pipelines with novel drug discovery ideas. His own earlier venture Proteolix, founded in 2003, developed Kyprolis™, a drug recently approved by the FDA for the treatment of multiple myeloma. The company was sold in 2009 for $851 million.
David Mack, a partner at the law firm of Shipman and Goodwin LLP, who is sponsoring the award, observed that Connecticut has a proud tradition of developing creative intellectual property and successfully commercializing it. “This spirit is alive and well in the Connecticut bioscience industry, and it is important that as a community we recognize and nurture it with awards such as this,” Mr. Mack said.
Dr. Crews is the Lewis B. Cullman Professor of Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology and professor of Chemistry and Pharmacology at Yale University. Central to Arvinas’ proprietary approach is the targeting of disease-causing proteins for degradation, resulting in their elimination from the body. Arvinas worked with the Yale Office of Cooperative Research to secure intellectual property protection.
Last September Arvinas announced it had raised $15 million in Series A funds and $4.25 million in financial support, $1 million in the form of equity, from the Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development and Connecticut Innovations. Investors in the Series A round include co-leads Canaan Partners and 5AM Ventures along with Connecticut Innovations and Elm Street Ventures.
The award presentation was made at the annual CURE Holiday Party, which has become an important networking event for the Connecticut bioscience community, thanks to the generosity of its sponsors. This year’s sponsors included Winstanley Enterprises, Aon Risk Services of Connecticut, the EDC of New Haven, Elm Street Ventures, and Wiggin and Dana.
In her introductory remarks, Dr. Susan Froshauer, president and CEO of CURE, praised the Connecticut community for its willingness to work together and continue to cultivate and develop life and healthcare sciences. “Entrepreneurship and collaboration – these are the key factors making Connecticut successful in the bioscience arena,” she said.