Kosan Biosciences

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Kosan Biosciences, Inc. (stock symbol: KOSN), is a pharmaceutical company which deals with cancer therapeutics medications. The company is currently working on advancing two new classes of anticancer agents through clinical development: heat shock protein 90 (Hsp90) inhibitors and epothilones.

Their technology platform is based on manipulation of the genetic instructions of microbes for making natural product polyketides. Rearranging the modular units in natural polyketide synthases, combining modules from different enzymes, and incorporating novel synthetic chemical starter units enables them to produce a wide variety of novel polyketides that would be difficult to obtain via organic synthesis alone.[1]

Founded in 1995, Kosan is headquartered in Hayward, California and currently has approximately 90 employees. Kosan was funded in part as a venture capital start-up with funds from Sofinnova Ventures of California.

On June 26, 2008, Kosan Biosciences was acquired by Bristol-Myers Squibb.


Discodermolide is a recently discovered polyketide natural product found to be a potent inhibitor of tumor cell growth. Kosan has been working in conjunction with the Amos B. Smith research group on a preclinical drug development program.


Helen S. Kim is the President & CEO of Kosan Biosciences. One member of the Board of Directors, Dr. Jean Deleage, was one of the founders and managing partners of Burr, Egan, Deleage & Co., a private venture capital firm which invested in information technology, communications, and healthcare/biotechnology companies.


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