On April 8, 2021 Ventus Therapeutics, Inc., a biotechnology company utilizing rational structure-based drug design to discover small-molecule medicines for high value and elusive targets, reported a $100 million Series B financing led by RA Capital Management with participation from a select syndicate including BVF Partners L.P., Casdin Capital, Cormorant Asset Management, Fonds de solidarité FTQ, and Alexandria Venture Investments (Press release, Ventus Therapeutics, APR 8, 2021, View Source [SID1234577718]). Founding investor Versant Ventures also participated in the round, as did existing investor GV (formerly Google Ventures).
"This support from strong crossover investors will enable the next stage of evolution for Ventus as we build the resources to leverage the full potential of our platforms and product pipeline," said Marcelo Bigal, M.D., Ph.D., president and CEO of Ventus. "We have made rapid and substantial progress over the last twelve months, including the emergence of the ReSOLVE platform and expansion of our pipeline. Ventus is on an exciting growth trajectory, as we continue to unlock high-value targets that have been elusive in the past and advance our lead products for patients with devastating diseases."
Ventus’ drug discovery platforms combine computational technologies with leading-edge structural biology, protein engineering, biophysics and chemistry. Using two proprietary platforms, Ventus expands the set of drug targets accessible to small-molecule medicines by discovering and validating novel binding sites invisible to other approaches.
Proceeds from the Series B will be used to advance Ventus’ pipeline of novel medicines to treat diseases in multiple therapeutic areas and expand platform capabilities. The company’s most advanced programs are focused on critical targets of the innate immune system. Additional programs in autoimmune, inflammation, oncology and neurology indications create a diversified pipeline with opportunities for both partnerships and internal growth.
While the targets of Ventus’ lead program and other pipeline programs are undisclosed, the company’s second most advanced molecule targets NLRP3, a key mediator of pro-inflammatory cytokines IL-1b and IL-18. NLRP3 is implicated in many autoimmune diseases and other conditions characterized by aberrant inflammation. Ventus’ platforms enabled the stable expression of inactive subunits of NLRP3 and determination of the precise dynamic solvation structure of NLRP3’s binding pocket. Based on these breakthroughs, Ventus identified and optimized novel and differentiated NLRP3 inhibitors, including high potency and quality brain-penetrant molecules as well as peripherally restricted compounds.
Concurrent with this financing, Josh Resnick, M.D., managing director at RA Capital Management, will join the Ventus Board of Directors.
"Ventus is at the forefront of advances in structure-based drug design," said Dr. Resnick. "We are excited that the company has proven its ability to drug challenging targets and look forward to continued progress by Ventus’ pipeline as the company seeks to bring new options to patients."