You can add Kymera Therapeutics to the list of biotechs attracting attention from an international set of investors.
The biotech is taking the lid off a $65 million round that’s been put together to help steer the discovery-stage company toward the clinic — a landmark affair for Kymera that isn’t going to arrive ahead of 2020.
Incubated by Atlas and blessed with a $30 million launch round a year ago — after starting up with seed funding in LabCentral in Cambridge, MA — Kymera now has the cash to grow the team and the pipeline of preclinical programs. Like others in the field, their scientists are focused on hijacking the body’s ubiquitin-proteasome system to dispose of proteins, binding to proteins and marking them for destruction.
But they’re doing it with a platform built on a complex approach using informatics-driven target identification coupled to predictive modeling, new degradation tools as well as novel E3 ligases and ligands.
“It’s a pretty hot field,” Nello Mainolfi, the chief tech officer and co-founder, tells me. And the money gives them a chance to shine more of a light on the tech they’re using at a time that the “potential of degradation is just scratching the surface now.”
The cash also gives the company, which isn’t saying much now about its lead programs, a chance to keep on adding talent, says CEO Laurent Audoly.
Protein degradation R&D isn’t new. Jay Bradner launched C4 Therapeutics to blaze the protein degradation approach just before he took the helm at the Novartis Institute of Biomedical Research, then recently formed a discovery alliance with UC Berkeley with the same basic approach in mind. Arvinas also has centered on protein degradation, building on the lab work of Yale’s Craig Crews.
6 Dimensions Capital out of China joined Bessemer Venture Partners and Pfizer Ventures in co-leading the deal, with participation by MRL Ventures Fund, Sanofi Ventures, Hatteras Venture Partners, and Aju IB Investment, in addition to Kymera’s Series A investors. Wei Li of 6 Dimensions Capital, Andrew Hedin of Bessemer Venture Partners, and Elaine Jones of Pfizer Ventures will join Kymera Therapeutics’ board.
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