Fast Track Initiative (CEO: Hiromichi Kimura; headquarters: Tokyo, Japan; hereinafter referred to as ‘FTI’) is pleased to announce the appointment of Koji Yasuda as Principal at its US branch in Boston, MA effective of July 17, 2023. Koji will contribute to FTI’s ongoing success as the company strives to achieve new milestones in its overseas investment endeavors.
After contributing to the establishment of Senda Biosciences (formerly known as Kintai Therapeutics), a company founded by Flagship Pioneering, Koji was involved in early clinical development within translational research teams at Takeda and in Boston. As the newly appointed Principal, Koji will partner with FTI Partner, Tai Harada, who has been spearheading FTI’s overseas investments in Boston since 2019, to further strengthen its investment activities both domestically and internationally. Drawing upon their extensive scientific knowledge and vast network of world-class academic scientists, clinicians, and entrepreneurs, a part of the US team’s effort will be dedicated in company creation, based on breakthrough discoveries made in universities and other research institutions.
“By leveraging my experience in building a successful startup and drug development at pharma, I am thrilled to contribute to the development of new ventures, supporting portfolio companies, learning from colleagues from all backgrounds, and expand FTI’s global presence.”
-Koji Yasuda, FTI, Principal
“I am delighted to have Koji to our team, as he brings an impressive track record of success in the global top-tier biotech VC community and global pharmaceutical companies. His addition further reinforces FTI’s global strategy, marking a significant milestone for us and also an opportunity to accelerate the growth of FTI and its portfolio companies on a global scale.”
– Tai Harada, FTI, Partner
About Koji Yasuda
Dr. Koji Yasuda brings a unique background encompassing VC-backed biotech startups and global pharmaceutical companies. Notably, Dr. Yasuda was among the founding members of Kintai Therapeutics (now Senda Biosciences), a NewCo originating from Flagship Pioneering, the Venture Capital firm behind Moderna. Dr. Yasuda’s seminal PhD research at Harvard formed the basis for Kintai’s original IPs. His instrumental contributions played a key role in securing substantial funding rounds for Kintai, including $50M Series A, followed by $98M Series B and most recently, $123M Series C funding round.
At Takeda, Dr. Yasuda led the Phase 2 clinical biomarker strategy for Fazirsiran (formerly known as TAK-999), a first-in-class investigational RNAi for patients with Alpha-1 Antitrypsin Deficiency Associated Liver Disease. He also oversaw the clinical biomarker development of Modakafusp alpha (formerly known as TAK-573), a first-in-class immune-cytokine for refractory multiple myeloma. Additionally, he has led the development of clinical biomarker strategies for several targeted therapy oncology assets at Pfizer, and is a recipient of Pfizer’s WRDM Breakthrough Innovation Prize.
Dr. Yasuda earned a PhD in Computational Biology from Harvard University, during which he conducted research at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard. Dr. Yasuda also holds a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) and Bachelor of Science degree from Cornell University.
About Fast Track Initiative, Inc.:
Established in 2004, Fast Track Initiative, Inc. (FTI) is a life science venture capital firm focusing its investments on grow seed and early-stage startups with a strong focus on biotech and therapeutics. FTI has a strict mission to make a ground-breaking impact on the quality of our life and human wellness through investments across a broad range of areas in the life science community including diagnostics, digital health, healthcare services, and more. The company provides full, hands-on operational support to its 30+ portfolio companies through business and R&D strategy, investor syndication, and more, including access to their exclusive network of leading industry professionals in Japan. Visit https://us.fasttrackinitiative.com for more details, or follow us on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/fast-track-initiative/
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