Casma Therapeutics, Inc., a Cambridge, Mass.-based biotechnology company, completed a $50m Series B financing.
The round, led by The Column Group (TCG), adds new investors Eventide Asset Management, LLC and Schroder Adveq, as well as other undisclosed institutional investors. Existing investor Third Rock Ventures also participated in the Series B. In connection with the financing, Millie Ray, Ph.D., from The Column Group, will join Casma’s Board of Directors. Finny Kuruvilla, M.D., Ph.D., chief investment officer of Eventide Asset Management, LLC will become a board observer.
The proceeds from the financing will allow the company to advance their TRPML1 agonist program into development for muscular dystrophy, as well as continue to develop the Autophagy Degrader Platform (ADP). TRPML1 regulates the repair of the plasma membrane of muscle cells following damage, addressing the core pathology in multiple forms of muscular dystrophy. ADP is a novel approach for the degradation of multiple disease-causing targets. The autophagy system is able to degrade disease targets substantially larger and more diverse than those that rely on E3 ligase-based or proteasomal degradation approaches.
Led by Keith Dionne, Ph.D., chief executive officer, Casma Therapeutics is harnessing the natural cellular process of autophagy to open vast new target areas for drug discovery and development. The company uses several approaches to intervene at strategic points in the autophagy-lysosome system to improve the cellular process of enhancing membrane repair and clearing out unwanted proteins, aggregates, organelles and invading pathogens. By boosting autophagy, Casma expects to be able to arrest or reverse the progression of lysosomal storage disorders, muscle disorders, cancer, inflammatory disorders and neurodegeneration, among other indications. Casma was launched in 2018 by Third Rock Ventures.