Flush with $225 million, stem cell startup BlueRock considers Boston for research site
A biotech startup seeded with $225 million from German drug maker Bayer AG and San Francisco-based venture capital firm Versant Ventures will establish a research site — and possibly its headquarters — in the Boston area, its founders said Monday.
BlueRock Therapeutics, which wants to develop stem cell-based treatments for a range of cardiovascular, neurodegenerative, and other diseases, will have research and development sites in Boston, New York, and Toronto.
But the new company, which is searching for a chief executive, has yet to determine where its headquarters will be located. BlueRock could have 20 to 40 researchers in Boston within the next two years, but the scope of their activity and the identities of their academic collaborators aren’t yet being revealed, said Axel Bouchon, head of the Bayer Lifescience Center in Berlin. He said the company should have more details on its Boston operation early next year.
Bouchon said BlueRock will work in Toronto on treatments to regenerate heart muscle, and base in New York its research into treatments for Parkinson’s and other neurodegenerative disorders. Scientists in the Boston area could also be working in those and other areas, he said.
The founders wouldn’t say how ownership of BlueRock will be split between Bayer and Versant, the lead investor in gene-editing startup Crispr Therapeutics. Crispr has research operations and a joint venture with Bayer in Cambridge. But the investment round should give the startup a significant opportunity to develop experimental medicines, they said.
“We want to make sure the scientists can focus on science for three to four years,” Bouchon said.