Earlier this year, Ohio State singled out Professor Dehua Pei for the commercial promise he’d demonstrated for his work, praising his work involving the “discovery of a family of small cyclic peptides that are exceptionally potent in cell-penetrating, capable of delivering all major drug modalities — from small molecules to large nucleic acids — into the cell with unprecedented efficiencies.”
Today, Ohio State will be able to celebrate another milestone in Pei’s commercial career. A group of venture investors led by 5AM and MPM Capital are unveiling a $59 million launch round to make Pei’s work a clinical reality.
Roche Venture Fund, MRL Ventures Fund and Agent Capital also joined in the round.
Seeded by 5AM, Dipal Doshi is taking the lead as CEO of the team at Entrada, which will now steer toward the clinic with a new technology designed to get right at previously undruggable intracellular targets. And they can do it by pulling cargo into a cell, says the CEO, while escaping the destruction that usually confronts peptides.
5AM’s Kush Parmar played a big role in getting the company started and bringing Doshi in as CEO last year. Entrada “spent 2017 trying to figure out what to do with this platform,” says the CEO, “because there are so many different ways to go.”
The original goal is to develop an enzyme replacement therapy for mitochondrial disease, which currently doesn’t exist, says Doshi. And the small team — of less than 10 — has enough cash to get into the clinic, though Doshi isn’t offering any timelines around that.
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