WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) announced on Wednesday that Kleo Pharmaceuticals, an immuno-oncology company, has been named “Innovator of the Month.” The company focuses on developing innovative bispecific compounds designed to emulate or enhance the activity of biologics to directly engage a patient’s immune system to target and destroy harmful cells. This work to translate small molecule immunotherapies into next-generation clinical treatments developed through Chief Scientific Advisor and co-founder David Spiegel’s research while at Yale University.

Earlier today, joined by Connecticut Innovation and BioCT, Kleo Pharmaceuticals announced its new office space and expansion in New Haven. The 18-person company has seen significant growth over the last four years, with plans for a 30 percent increase in staff. Kleo is advancing several drug candidates based on its proprietary technology platforms. They recently announced in partnership with Tokyo-based biopharmaceutical company PeptiDream, Inc., a proprietary immune-oncology product to treat multiple myeloma. This will be the first clinical candidate in their collaborative agreement. Kleo expects to commence human studies in 2020.

“Kleo Pharmaceuticals is proof that Connecticut is a major hub for innovation. Their cutting-edge research and approach is being used to create products that will make a difference in the lives of people suffering from cancer. I’m happy to recognize Kleo as my ‘Innovator of the Month’ for their amazing work and commitment to Connecticut,” said Murphy.  

“Kleo is pleased to accept Senator Murphy’s award, and we are committed to the New Haven community and to helping grow Connecticut’s biopharmaceutical sector,” said Douglas Manion, MD, CEO of Kleo. “Our company has come a long way, and we are honored to be recognized for our accomplishments along with other emerging companies in Connecticut. In the last several months, we have worked diligently to redesign our office and labs, remodel our website and push forward our development of next-generation immuno-oncology drugs.” 

Murphy believes entrepreneurship and innovation are the building blocks for a strong economy. In the U.S. Senate, he has introduced two bipartisan pieces of legislation to incentivize angel investors to put more money into startup companies – the Angel Tax Credit Act and the Helping Angels Lead Our Startups (HALOS) Act. Startup companies create an average of 2 million jobs each year.