Atara Biotherapeutics Gets Funding From Amgen, KPCB

Thousand Oaks-based Amgen and venture firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers have put their backing behind a new, Westlake Village based drug development firm, Atara Biotherapeutics, in an unusual spinout of technology from the biotech giant. According to Amgen and KPCB, Atara Biotherapeutics will have licenses to six Amgen assets, in various stages of development, ranging from preclinical to Phase 1. Financial details of the funding were not announced. The move is unusual in that Amgen--unlike many of its biotech competitors in other regions--for holding its technology close to the vest, and not spinning out technology from the company. Atara will have facilities both near Amgen's Thousand oaks campus, in addition to operations in the Bay Area. Amgen and KPCB said Atara will focus on treatments for patients with chronic diseases in therapeutic areas including nephrology and oncology. The new company will be headed by Isaac Ciechanover, M.D., a former partner at KPCB. More information »