Ventus Therapeutics, a Waltham, Mass. and Montreal, Canada-based a biopharmaceutical company, raised $60m in Series A financing.
The round was led by founding investor Versant Ventures with participation from GV (formerly Google Ventures).
The company intends to use the funds to expand its headcount to more than 30 scientists this year and advance three pipeline programs and to expand its structural immunology platform to pursue its drug targets.
Led by Marcelo Bigal, M.D., Ph.D., president and CEO, Ventus is a biopharmaceutical company discovering and developing novel small molecule medicines that target the innate immune system to treat autoimmune diseases, inflammatory diseases and cancer. Its structural immunology platform offers insight into mechanisms and molecular structures, combining proprietary protein engineering capabilities that elucidate innate immune mechanisms, and leading-edge rational and structure-based drug design tools. The company has built an emerging pipeline of multiple drug programs addressing key targets in the innate immune system.
During the stealth period, the academic founders and Versant’s Inception Discovery Engine assembled the structural immunology platform, pursued screens against multiple targets, and advanced qualified hits into lead discovery. The company plans to pursue its internal pipeline and also consider discovery-stage partnerships to fully exploit the potential of this approach.
The current pipeline includes programs relevant to multiple autoimmune and inflammatory diseases, as well as certain forms of resistant cancers.
The company’s scientific founders and advisors include:
- Hao Wu, Ph.D., Professor, Department of Biological Chemistry and Molecular Pharmacology at Harvard Medical School; Senior Investigator of Program in Cellular and Molecular Medicine, Boston Children’s Hospital; Member of the National Academy of Sciences.
- Richard Flavell, Ph.D., Sterling Professor of Immunobiology, Yale University; Investigator, Howard Hughes Medical Institute.
- Judy Lieberman, M.D., Ph.D., Endowed Chair in Cellular and Molecular Medicine and Professor of Pediatrics, Harvard Medical School.
- Thomas Tuschl, Ph.D., Professor and head of the laboratory for RNA molecular biology at the Rockefeller University.
- Feng Shao, Ph.D., Investigator and Deputy Director for Academic Affairs, National Institute of Biological Sciences, Beijing.
- Douglas Green, Ph.D., Chair, Immunology and Co-Leader, Cancer Biology Program, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
- Russell Vance, Ph.D., Professor of Immunology and Pathogenesis at the University of California at Berkeley; Investigator, Howard Hughes Medical Institute.