News briefing: New senescent cell play launches with $12M; Junshi leads Series C+ infusion for Chinese synthetic lethality player
The idea of targeting senescent cells to treat age-related diseases is continuing to gather steam, and Khosla Ventures is helping get the latest play going with a $12 million seed round.
Rubedo Life Sciences is focusing its initial efforts on respiratory diseases such as idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis and obstructive pulmonary disease, with preclinical programs in oncology, neurodegenerative conditions, skeletal muscle disorders and others to follow.
With the money, the goal is to move several compounds into IND-enabling studies in pulmonary diseases starting next year.
“We were attracted to Rubedo by the speed of which the company is advancing multiple lead compounds into IND-enabling studies across different areas of unmet medical need,” Zal Bilimoria, managing director of Refactor Capital, said in a statement. The VC firm joined Longevity Fund, Shanda and others in the financing.
After spending some years at Stanford researching aging and regenerative medicine, CEO Marco Quanta co-founded the company with 5AM Venture Partners entrepreneur-in-residence Mark Gallop and Julian Klein, who also did his graduate work at Stanford. The big idea at Rubedo has to do with a computational drug discovery platform that comes up with small molecule candidates to drug senescent cells.
Junshi leads Series C+ infusion for Chinese synthetic lethality player
Chinese biotech Impact Therapeutics has grabbed $50 million to fuel more work on a slate of drugs that target synthetic lethality, including PARP and other DNA damage response pathways.
Junshi Biosciences — known itself for a slate of antibodies aimed at cancer, autoimmune diseases and more recently, Covid-19 — led the Series C+. Lilly Asia Ventures and China Summit Capital returned for more, flanked by new investors AJ Asset Mgmt, Zhenji Capital, West Fountain Global Fund and Ausun Pharma.
“2021 is expected to be a significant turn point for us, as we are starting a series of clinical trials in the US,” CEO Jun Bao said in a statement. — Amber Tong