Seattle-based biotech upstart Kineta announced a new investment partnership with RLB Holdings, a Connecticut-based investment firm that partially owns the New York Yankees and is managed by a former Glencore international oil trader.

Actual numbers weren’t released, but RLB invested in two of Kineta’s clinical stage drug programs: Kineta One LLC and Kineta Two LLC. Between Kineta Inc., Kineta One, LLC and Kineta Two, LLC, the company has raised more than $40 million since launch in 2008. 

“We believe this investment is a powerful symbol that validates Kineta’s success in advancing great programs and forging a new business model for early stage drug development,” said Meg O’Conor, Investor Relations Director at Kineta.

Ray Bartoszek, co-founder of RLB Holdings.

Founded by former Illunigen Biosciences executives Charles Magness and Shawn Iadonato, Kineta has also partnered with the University of Washington to develop drugs and vaccine boosters called adjuvants.

Two of Kineta’s five drug programs were just featured in National Geographic this month. Last May, along with the UW and the University of Texas, Kineta received an $8.1 million grant from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases to develop drugs to combat Ebola, Marburg, Japanese encephalitis and other deadly diseases. 

RLB Holdings was founded in 2011 by Ray and Lydia Bartoszek, both who serve as managing directors. They have investments with the New York Yankees, Glencore International, Solutionpoint International, Horseheads Sand & Transloading Terminal, Crunch Gyms, Simple Wishes and now, Kineta. Bartoszek made headlines in September 2011 when he turned down an investment in the New York Mets and instead went with the Yankees.

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