Kala Pharmaceuticals, Stealthy New Company Tied to MIT’s Bob Langer, Gets $2M

Xconomy Boston — 

MIT’s famously inventive bioengineering professor, Bob Langer, is lending his expertise to yet another fledgling biotech company. Boston-based Kala Pharmaceuticals, which lists Langer on its board of directors, has secured a $2 million equity financing, according to a regulatory filing.

Kala doesn’t have a website, and I haven’t been able to find any public statements that offer clues on what it is aiming to accomplish. But the filing lists three directors: Robert Paull of New York-based Lux Capital; Justin Hanes, a professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering at Johns Hopkins University; and Langer. The head office is at the Boston law firm of Mintz Levin Cohn Ferris Glovsky & Popeo, according to the filing. There are 10 investors in the company so far, although they aren’t named in the filing. Paull is the founding CEO, and an investor, according to his LinkedIn profile.

“We appreciate the interest and very prompt outreach. We’re not disclosing anything about the company yet,” Paull said in an e-mail when I asked him for comment about the company.

While I can’t say for sure what Kala is all about, the connections between these founders are clear. Hanes goes a long way back with Langer. Hanes got his doctorate in chemical engineering from MIT in 1996, and he co-authored a number of scientific papers with the famous professor in the mid-to-late 1990s, according to his curriculum vitae. Hanes lists his research interests as gene therapy, cancer immunotherapy, pulmonary lung delivery, and hydrogel BIOMEMS devices.

New York-based Lux Capital, where Paull is a co-founder and managing partner, has made connections with some of the more intriguing biotechs in the Boston area, including Cambridge, MA-based Genocea Biosciences, a vaccine developer, and Cambridge, MA-based Cerulean Pharma, a drug developer. Langer serves on the board of Cerulean, while Paull is a board observer.

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