Third Rock startup Revolution Medicines is opening a new chapter in its history today with a $56 million venture round aimed at moving its first experimental therapy into the clinic.
The Redwood City, CA-based biotech launched three years ago with a $45 million A round designed to get them started on building a platform tech around a strategy aimed at exploiting “nature’s selection of molecules to bind to targets that couldn’t be bound to synthetically,” as CEO Mark Goldsmith puts it.
An initial focus on an anti-fungal drug, though, has now shifted toward oncology, where Revolution will now push an SHP2 program — focused on their work related to protein tyrosine phosphatase (PTP) inhibitors — into the clinic later in the year.
“We ended up concluding that while an anti-fungal was interesting, a single-target strategy with incremental benefit to patients with fungal disease, there were no legs for deep engagement,” says the CEO.
Rather than staying thin with multiple targets, he adds, they’re going deep into one with a pipeline of cancer programs.
Goldsmith isn’t offering any timelines right now, but he is happy with how far the 60-member team has come since 2015, counting the deepening R&D focus on cancer as a real win for the company. And they’ve been working on a monotherapy approach that has been augmented with a combination strategy using single-agent add-ons.
Revolution has also been recruiting new execs for the top team.
Ryan Martins joined as chief financial officer, suggesting some added attention for capital formation that will likely include fresh strategizing that could lead to an IPO. Xiaolin Wang jumped in as senior vice president, clinical development and Hirdesh Uppal joined as vice president, development sciences. Thilo Schroeder, a partner at cancer specialist Nextech Invest, and Barbara Weber, chief executive officer of Tango Therapeutics, joined the company’s board of directors.
Nextech Invest, an oncology-focused investment firm, led the round with participation from Casdin Capital, Schroder Adveq, The Column Group, Third Rock Ventures and “additional undisclosed institutional investors.”
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