Following potential billion-dollar J&J deal, RNA processing biotech Remix returns with fresh financing
A few months ago, Remix Therapeutics penned a deal with Johnson & Johnson that could end up being worth more than $1 billion dollars down the line.
Now, Remix is back with $70 million in new financing as it continues to develop its RNA processing technology, the company announced this morning. The Cambridge, MA-based biotech houses a discovery platform aimed at drugging RNA processing, the unsung (difficult) middle child in a pharma world that has largely paid more heed to protein targets and DNA therapies until recently.
Remix was born in 2019 when CEO Peter Smith was an entrepreneur-in-residence at Atlas. Unlike RNA-based products, such as the Pfizer and Moderna Covid vaccines, which send RNA strands into the body, Remix’s theoretical drugs would target the RNA already in the body as it’s being re-outfitted for translation. By doing so, they could up- or down-regulate — or even eliminate — the amount of protein made.
“Drug discovery has primarily centered on targeting proteins but many genetically validated disease mechanisms and targets remain unaddressed. Alternate approaches to building new medicines are needed, so we are thrilled to support Remix’s mission to create a new set of tools to not only treat disease in new ways, but to treat diseases more effectively,” Michael Rome, managing director at Foresite Capital, one of Remix’s investors, said in a statement.
While the platform could be used for drug discovery across fields, Remix has primarily been focusing on “high value targets in oncology and neuroscience right now,” Smith told Endpoints News.
Remix is one of the newer players in a line of Big Pharma-partnered biotechs trying to drug RNA. In January, Arrakis, which launched back in 2015, agreed to a “several billion dollars” biobuck deal with Amgen. Since emerging from stealth in 2018, Skyhawk has amassed a laundry list of partners — Takeda, Merck (which went back for a second deal), Biogen, Roche, Vertex, and Bristol Myers Squibb.
In February, Remix inked a deal with J&J for up to three candidates that paid $45 million up front, but promised much more in downstream milestones. While details surrounding the deal were sparse, Smith did note that the two were working on some “really tough targets” together.
With this most recent round of financing, Remix also hopes to get in the clinic, Smith said.
“We’re still refining what the clinical development plans need to look like for the lead programs,” he said. “I think as the year progresses, we’ll be starting to talk more and more publicly about targets and therapeutic areas, and how we’re looking to develop these programs into drugs for patients.”
In this latest round of financing, Remix gained one new investor, Surveyor, that joined its existing ship of Foresite Capital, Atlas Venture, and The Column Group, among others.