Rheos Medicines, Inc., a Cambridge, Mass.-based is a biopharmaceutical company developing novel medicines that modulate metabolic pathways in immune cells to treat disease, raised $60m in Series A financing.
The round was led by Third Rock Ventures.
Led by Abbie Celniker, PhD, Chief Executive Officer, and Larry Turka, MD, Chief Scientific Officer and co-founder, Rheos is developing a biomarker and drug discovery engine to address disease biology and patient variability by ‘tuning’ immune cells in select patient populations with precision medicines.
By simultaneously identifying new drug targets and characterizing biomarkers of disease, the product engine enables a precision medicine approach to treatment of immune-mediated diseases. Using DNA sequencing, transcriptional and metabolomic profiling along with incorporating primary patient samples, the engine is an integrated immune cell metabolism and physiology platform.
Central to this product engine is a proprietary Immune Cell Encyclopedia (ICE), which maps the metabolic pathways used by different types of immune cells to regulate their fate and function in disease and in health.
The initial focus is on therapeutics that target CD4 and CD8 T cell subtypes, which are involved in diseases such as inflammatory bowel disease, psoriasis, vitiligo and in immuno-oncology applications. These immune cell subtypes are critical to disease pathogenesis, and Rheos’s product engine is providing insight into how these cells drive immune response in disease.
Company leaders include:
– Abbie Celniker, PhD, interim Chief Executive Officer;
– Cary Pfeffer, MD, interim Chief Business Officer;
– Laurence Turka, MD, Chief Scientific Officer;
– Edward Driggers, PhD, Chief Technology Officer;
– Ryan Cohlhepp, PharmD, Senior Vice President, R&D Strategy and Operations;
– Brian Albrecht, PhD, Vice President, Drug Discovery; and
– Hozefa Bandukwala, PhD, Senior Director, Head of Discovery Biology.
The company’s scientific founders are:
– Richard Flavell, PhD, Sterling Professor of Immunobiology, Yale University; Investigator, Howard Hughes Medical Institute. Dr. Flavell is a world-renowned immunologist who pioneered the use of transgenic mouse models to study autoimmune and inflammatory diseases. Richard is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Medicine (USA), and a Fellow of the Royal Society.
– Edward Pearce, PhD, Senior Group Leader, Max Planck Institute of Immunobiology and Epigenetics; Faculty of Biology, University of Freiburg. Dr. Edward Pearce is a pioneer in understanding how macrophage and dendritic cell metabolism influences the function of those cells.
– Erika Pearce, PhD, Director, Max Planck Institute of Immunobiology and Epigenetics. Dr.Erika Pearce is a world leader in T cell metabolism and understanding how different metabolic pathways tune T cell function and fitness.
– Ken Smith, MD, PhD, Professor of Medicine and Head of the Department of Medicine, University of Cambridge. Dr. Smith is an international expert in identifying biomarkers which predict prognosis in patients with autoimmune disease.
– E. William St. Clair, MD, Professor of Medicine and Immunology, Duke University Medical Center. Dr. St. Clair is a former President of the American College of Rheumatology, he has extensive experience in translational immunology and the design and implementation of trials in autoimmune diseases.
– Laurence Turka, MD, CSO, Rheos Medicines. Dr. Turka is former President of the American Society of Transplantation, a leader in the fields of T cell costimulation and regulatory T cell biology. Prior to joining Rheos, Laurence was the Harold and Ellen Danser Professor of Surgery and Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital.