Kurome Therapeutics: Rosenbaum’s Leadership Journey to Potentially Deliver Life-Saving Cancer Treatment

Published By :
October 1, 2021
email icon in blackFacebook icon in blacktwitter icon in blackLinkedIn icon in black
gradient colors in orange, pink and purple
Kurome Chief Executive Officer and Chief Scientific Officer Jan Rosenbaum, Ph.D.

Kurome’s targeted approach has the potential to promise radical advancements in the fight against AML and other forms of cancer, even in settings of adaptive resistance to treatment.

Developing more effective cancer treatments with fewer side effects can take years to achieve.

When paired with the right leadership, game-changing technology can greatly improve and save lives. Kurome Therapeutics may very well prove to be that life-changing technology in the fight against cancer. That fight is being led by Chief Executive Officer Jan Rosenbaum, Ph.D., whose uniquely melded expertise in science and business elevated the trajectory of the company.

Kurome Therapeutics is a preclinical stage company developing an unprecedented, targeted approach for treating hematological cancers. The company’s series of IRAK 1/4 and  panFLT3 inhibitors have demonstrated a broad range of efficacy in acute myeloid leukemia (AML) patient-derived cell lines, as well as a synergy with one of the leading chemotherapy medications for treating AML. The approach has the potential to optimize the effect of both drugs while limiting negative side effects.

Kurome’s targeted approach has the potential to promise radical advancements in the fight against AML and other forms of cancer, even in settings of adaptive resistance to treatment.


The target for Kurome’s technology was developed around 2013 by Daniel Starczynowski, PhD, Professor, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center (Cincinnati Children’s). Craig Thomas, PhD at the National Center for Translational Sciences (NCATS) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) joined the project a year later. While their research began to demonstrate incredible potential, Starczynowski and Thomas’s work was funded purely by grants, and stymied by the lack of resources necessary to develop the research into a commercial product. The technology transfer office of the medical center, Cincinnati Children’s Innovation Ventures, identified a key advisor in Rosenbaum, who already had experience working with the team via Airway Therapeutics, a company based on technology from Cincinnati Children’s.


Rosenbaum has more than 25 years of experience in research and development and pharmaceutical technology, managing technical projects for Procter & Gamble Pharmaceuticals and Airway Therapeutics, where she was Chief Scientific Officer. She is on the Therapeutics Development Team advisory panel for University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center’s Harrington Discovery Institute, chairs the Science & Industry Advisory Committee for IRICoR, University of Montréal, Canada, and has taught pharmacology courses at The Ohio State University and University of Cincinnati. In addition, Rosenbaum had also spent five years with CincyTech, blending her technical background with venture development.  The area of molecular pharmacology  is one of Rosenbaum’s core areas of technical expertise.

After reviewing the technology, Rosenbaum determined the weakness in the pitch to investors --the focus on the lead molecule as an inhibitor of FLT3, which is an enzyme that multiple competitors are targeting already. Rosenbaum noticed that the lead molecule was also capable of inhibiting another target, the IRAK 1/4 complex, which is at the lynchpin of a critical signaling node in immune signaling pathways that become over-activated when co-opted in cancer cells to help the cancer cells survive.

Moreover, Starczynowski had previously proven that his inhibitor improved the potency of the popular AML treatment Venetoclax, thereby reducing its required dosage. There was the potential for combination therapy that could limit the negative side effects for patients.  Starczynowski and his lab had also discovered a molecular biomarker that has the potential to be developed into a companion diagnostic for identifying patients whose disease will be more receptive to the Kurome drugs, which would allow the drug to be developed as a targeted therapy.  Rosenbaum combined these features into the technology that formed the core of her business model for Kurome.

“One of the best attractors for investors to Kurome in our eyes is the talent of Jan as its CEO,” said CincyTech Life Sciences Managing Director John Rice, PhD. “She singlehandedly created the value proposition for Kurome, demonstrating why IRAK 1/4 is a good target, overlaying scientific rationale with business rationale. We have lots of inbound interest in the molecule and the company from investors, and Jan has driven all of this.”


Realizing the opportunity for a mutually beneficial partnership, Rosenbaum reached out to her former employer for assistance establishing the new company. Rice had been watching his former colleague’s progress with Kurome closely, and immediately saw the value in it.

As a CincyTech portfolio company, Rosenbaum was able to establish Kurome as a company, license the technology from Cincinnati Children’s, and begin moving through the drug development pathway. Besides providing financing and assistance with starting the company, CincyTech was also able to attract numerous investors, supplying millions in funding.

Within 16 months of its initial Series Seed funding round, Kurome raised $15 million in Series A financing, led by Medicxi and Affinity Asset Advisors.

Today, Kurome is on track to begin its clinical trials in 2024.

Subscribe TO our newsletter

Stay Up To Date With Our News & Insights

Stay informed with current news about our portfolio companies, events and industry insights.
email icon in gradient orange, pink and purple colors
You are subscribed to our newsletters
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.