Cellective Therapeutics was founded with technology created by Dr. Tom Tedder, a recognized world leader in B-cell biology and Chairman of the Department of Immunology at Duke University. Dr. Tedder’s team focused on research done in B cells, cells that form an important component of the normal immune system and are hyperactive in people with autoimmune disorders. This hyperactivity of B cells can cause tissue inflammation and organ system dysfunction.
With autoimmune diseases like lupus, multiple sclerosis and rheumatoid arthritis, the body actually rejects itself, as if organs were transplanted from someone else.
Cellective’s research focuses on monoclonal antibodies, which, with the company’s technology, can be developed so specifically that they block the root causes of autoimmunity without interfering with the body’s normal response to infections.
In the summer of 2003, Intersouth worked with Dr. Tedder to found the company based on this technology. Intersouth provided seed funding to help the company develop its business plan and to finalize licensing agreements with Duke University and the Dana Farber Cancer Institute.
As a seed investor, Intersouth supported Cellective through its first year. Intersouth partners served as early-stage mentors for the company, bringing broad management and market perspective to the team’s scientific focus. In 2004, the company recruited a CEO, board of directors and scientific advisory board and completed its Series A financing October, raising $27.5 million, one of the largest-ever Series A transactions in the southeast.
Just one year later, the company’s assets were interesting enough that MedImmune acquired the company.