Immuno-oncology, Startups

Its underlying biology ‘too complicated’ for further investment, Atlas-seeded Raze signs off

Raze Therapeutics, the Cambridge startup that launched in 2014 with $24 million in support, is calling it quits.

The company was looking to advance a new class of cancer therapeutics that target key metabolic pathways, but it appears the science wasn’t quite ready for prime time.

Bruce Booth

Seeded in part by Atlas Venture, the company was focused on cancer anabolic metabolism, specifically mitochondrial one-carbon energetics. The space has emerged recently as a major driver of cancer proliferation, survival, and biomass accumulation. But apparently the tech was too tough to continue.

“Although it made intriguing progress, the underlying cancer metabolism biology was too complicated to warrant further investment,” wrote Bruce Booth, partner at Atlas, in a recent portfolio update.

Such is life in biotech. Yet a new startup has emerged in its place: Kyn Therapeutics. Backed in part by Atlas (and exploring a similar space), Kyn announced a $49 million Series A round this morning. The company is led by a Raze’s former CSO Mark Manfredi, an Atlas entrepreneur-in-residence.

When asked what happened at Raze, Manfredi said the company still had assets and collaborations, but no longer employed anyone.

Peter Barrett

The company was co-founded and led by Atlas’ Peter Barrett, and its scientific founders included Vamsi Mootha (The Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Massachusetts General Hospital), Josh Rabinowitz (Princeton), and David Sabatini (Whitehead/MIT).

According to Booth, Raze’s scientific assets went back into academia for further exploration.

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