Yale’s Crews honored as Connecticut’s Entrepreneur of the Year

Yale researcher Craig M. Crews has been named CURE Entrepreneur of the Year for founding two biotechnology startups in Connecticut based on discoveries made in his laboratories at Yale, the state bioscience organization announced Dec. 3.

Crews, the Lewis B. Cullman Professor of Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology and professor of chemistry and pharmacology, and executive director of the Yale Center for Molecular Discovery core at West Campus, most recently founded New Haven biotechnology startup Arvinas, which is developing new drugs to treat a variety of diseases including cancer, and pro-inflammatory, autoimmune, and rare diseases.  Arvinas leverages the same technology that led to the development of the multiple myeloma drug Kyprolis by Crews’ first startup Proteolix, which was founded in 2003.  The company was sold in 2009 for $851 million.

Working with the Yale Office of Cooperative Research to secure intellectual property protection, Arvinas has raised $15 million in Series A funds and $4.25 million in financial support. The support includes $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 company is located at 5 Science Park in New Haven and already employs 15 people.

“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,” said Crews, who lives in the city with his wife and two daughters.

The first annual CURE Entrepreneur of the Year Award was sponsored by the law firm of Shipman & Goodwin LLP and was presented at the CURE Holiday Party, which has become an important networking event for the Connecticut bioscience community.

CURE (Connecticut United for Research Excellence) is comprised of a diverse network of small and large life and health care sciences companies, universities, scientists, educators, students, entrepreneurs, mentors, business experts, service providers, and investors.