Keros Therapeutics, a Lexington, MA-based company dedicated to the discovery and development of novel therapeutics for neuromuscular diseases, raised $23m in Series B financing.
The round, which brings the company’s total venture funding to $34m to date, included participation from existing investors Pontifax, Arkin Bio Ventures, Partners Innovation Fund, and Medison Pharma, and added Global Health Sciences Fund (GHS) as a new investor.
In addition to the Series B financing announcement, Dr. Zafrira Avnur joined Keros’ Board of Directors. Dr. Avnur has been Chief Scientific Officer at Quark Venture Inc. since October 2016. Prior to Quark, she was the Global Head of Academic Innovation for Roche Partnering, responsible for creating relationships with the world’s leading academic institutions and world class innovators, where she created nine start-up companies.
Proceeds from this financing will be used to advance Keros’ two lead programs from preclinical validation through clinical proof-of-concept. The first program is focused on the inhibition of activin receptor-like kinase-2 (ALK2), a human protein that is the genetic driver for the orphan disease fibrodysplasia ossificans progressiva (FOP), while Keros’ second program is focused on therapeutics for other rare neuromuscular diseases. Funding will allow Keros to develop both programs through Phase II clinical trials.
Led by Jasbir S. Seehra, Ph.D., President and CEO, Keros Therapeutics discovers and develops novel proprietary therapeutics for neuromuscular diseases. The team is exploring approaches to treating some of the most intractable neuromuscular diseases, such as fibrodysplasia ossificans progressiva (FOP). The innovative work Keros Therapeutics is pursuing could bring relief to those who suffer from rare and ultra-rare neuromuscular diseases.
Keros’ first program is focused on the inhibition of activin receptor-like kinase-2 (ALK2), a human protein that is the genetic driver for FOP. The Keros small-molecule ALK2 program, licensed from Massachusetts General Hospital and the National Institutes of Health’s National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences, has advanced through preclinical safety studies. Specifically, heterotopic ossification (FOP) treatment using small-molecule ALK2 inhibitors is projected to enter Phase 1 SAD/MAD studies in humans in H1 2019. The ALK2 program has an estimated healthcare valuation of greater than $1 billion, with potential treatments for FOP, heterotopic ossification in other settings (burns, trauma and surgery), various anemias, and oncology (including multiple osteochondromas).