25 Aug Caden Biosciences closes its doors, but why?
Madison, Wis. – Caden Biosciences, a venture-backed biotechnology company that was relocated to Madison amid much fanfare, has closed its Fitchburg doors but executive leaders tell WTN they are not yet in a position to explain why.
Chief Operating Officer Randy Bolger confirmed that Caden ceased operations on May 1 of this year, several months after the company moved to the Madison area and secured almost $6 million in financing.
Bolger did not comment further on the closure, but Caden founder and Chief Science Officer Annette Gilchrist confirmed in an e-mail that the company was in the process of shutting down and liquidating its intellectual property.
Caden announced in September of 2006 that it was moving from laboratories at Northwestern University to the Madison area. At that time, Caden had just completed a Series A Preferred Stock financing for $5.85 million that was led by Baird Venture Partners, Madison’s Venture Investors, and IllinoisVentures, a Chicago firm that uses both public and private money to fund early-stage technology companies.
Caden is no longer listed as a portfolio company on the Baird website, although it remains listed on Venture Investor’s website.
Caden officials have yet to disclose the reason for the company’s demise. Peter Shagory, a partner with Baird and Caden board member, also confirmed the closure and acknowledged that legalities prevented him from commenting on why the company is folding.
“I can’t say much while we’re still going through the closing process,” he said.
In an e-mail, Paul Weiss, a partner with Venture Investors and a Caden board member, said that Caden was in “wind-down mode” and that he might be able to further comment this fall.
The State of Wisconsin Investment Board also contributed $500,000 to the company’s financing. Board officials said only that they are still working out the details of “what is happening in the [Caden] portfolio.”
When it moved to the Madison area, the company was seeking to validate a proprietary assay for measuring G-protein coupled receptor (GPRC) activity in cells. There are around 800 known GPCRs, making them the largest gene family in the human genome, and they regulate countless biological processes, including appetite, vision, smell, heartbeat, allergic responses, and brain function. About half of these 800 are known or potential drug targets.
Today, nearly half of the drugs that are sold target a GPCR and are used to treat diseases as diverse as schizophrenia, AIDS, high blood pressure, diabetes, heart failure, and others. Hundreds of these receptors remain as viable targets for drugs that have not yet been discovered.
Caden’s technology was designed to simplify and accelerate the search for novel GPCR drugs.