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Altus: Scene III

Altus Pharmaceuticals Inc. began life in 1993 as Altus Biologics Inc., a service-based subsidiary of Vertex Pharmaceuticals Inc. Eleven years and two venture rounds of $50 million and $51 million later, the company has left that model behind and built one of the larger home-grown clinical pipelines among private biotech companies, focused on metabolic and gastrointestinal (GI) diseases.

In its first incarnation, from inception until around the turn of the century, Altus (Cambridge, Mass.) focused on providing its cross-linked enzyme crystal (CLEC) technology for use in the manufacture of chemicals and chiral pharmaceuticals, devices, and even cosmetics. The company sold several enzyme products used for chemical synthesis, screening and resolution. In addition to its seed funding from VRTX (Cambridge, Mass.), the revenues have allowed the company to run at cash breakeven.

But during

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