Third Rock Ventures Launches Cedilla Therapeutics with $56 Million Investment to Target Protein Stability Using Small Molecule Therapeutics
Company is targeting upstream aspects of native protein degradation pathways to develop new therapies for cancer
CAMBRIDGE, Mass., April 24, 2018 – Cedilla Therapeutics, a new biotechnology company broadening the reach of small molecule therapeutics by discovering and exploiting unique insights into protein stability, launched today with $56.2 million in Series A funding from Third Rock Ventures.
Cedilla is leveraging a growing understanding of the principles that dictate protein stability and applying those principles to target proteins that drive cancer and other diseases. Cedilla’s integrated product engine includes target-centric and unbiased approaches and is designed to produce small molecule therapeutics that degrade protein targets. Although degradation by small molecules has been observed serendipitously, degradation as a mechanism of action has not been pursued systematically in small molecule drug discovery.
Led by a veteran team with extensive drug discovery experience, Cedilla harnesses existing protein stability mechanisms that are upstream of ubiquitination and do not rely upon engineered recruitment of the cell’s degradation machinery.
“We are launching Cedilla at a time of rapidly growing insight into the mechanisms underlying protein stability,” said Alexandra Glucksmann, Ph.D., Cedilla’s president and chief executive officer. “We have designed a systematic approach to discover the rules that govern protein stability, which we will apply to find new points of therapeutic intervention. Our integrated product engine allows us to prosecute any protein of interest and to deliver precisely targeted therapeutics to patients in need.”
Cedilla’s small molecule drug discovery focuses on the transitions between stable and susceptible protein states to develop targeted therapies. Cedilla is building an integrated and multi-faceted product engine to enhance endogenous degradation pathways. Approaches include:
- Direct ligand-induced degradation triggered by the binding of small molecules to target proteins
- Identification and disruption of stabilizing protein-protein interactions
- Discovery of upstream regulators that modulate the stability of target proteins
- Implementation of large-scale proteomics to map protein susceptibility
“We are initially focused on oncology targets. We also believe our small molecule approach is broadly applicable, for example to access targets in the central nervous system,” said Brian Jones, Ph.D., Cedilla’s chief scientific officer.
The Cedilla management team includes recognized leaders in discovery chemistry, translational oncology research, molecular and cellular biology and company building. CEO Alexandra Glucksmann was a founding scientist at Millennium Pharmaceuticals and Cerulean Pharma and founding employee and chief operating officer at gene editing company Editas Medicine, Inc. Brian Jones, Cedilla’s chief scientific officer, has led the molecular discovery behind more than 20 investigational new drug (IND) applications across several therapeutic areas, and most recently served as head of discovery chemistry at Novartis Institutes for BioMedical Research in Cambridge. Other company leaders include Andres Tellez, Ph.D., senior director of business and strategy; and Dale Porter, Ph.D., vice president and head of biology.
Cedilla’s scientific founders are distinguished academics recognized for expertise in regulation of protein stability, cancer biology, proteomics and protein structure and dynamics. They include:
- Alan D’Andrea, M.D., a professor at Harvard Medical School and director of the Center for DNA Damage and Repair at Dana-Faber Cancer Institute
- Steve Gygi, Ph.D., a professor of cell biology at Harvard Medical School
- Matthew Jacobson, Ph.D., a professor at the University of California, San Francisco School of Pharmacy
- William Kaelin, Jr., M.D., a professor at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Harvard Medical School and investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute
- Jack Taunton, Ph.D., a professor at the University of California, San Francisco School of Medicine
About Cedilla Therapeutics
Cedilla Therapeutics is discovering and exploiting unique insights into protein stability. Cedilla’s integrated, multi-faceted approach has the potential to broaden the reach of small molecules by generating therapeutics that degrade protein targets as their primary mechanism of action. The approach harnesses intrinsic degradation pathways that are upstream of ubiquitination. Cedilla is focused on destabilizing oncoprotein targets using a product engine that is also applicable to targets outside of oncology. Cedilla was launched in 2018 by Third Rock Ventures and is based in Cambridge, Mass. For more information, please visit www.cedillatx.com.
About Third Rock Ventures
Third Rock Ventures is a leading health care venture firm focused on disruptive areas of science and medicine to discover, launch and build companies that make a dramatic difference in people’s lives. By combining the team’s scientific vision, strategic leadership, operational expertise and innovative deal-making capabilities, Third Rock Ventures nurtures bold ideas that translate into successful business enterprises. Recognizing that the best way to create value for investors is to create value for patients, Third Rock companies are built on a solid foundation of science, medicine, people and business strategy. For more information, please visit www.thirdrockventures.com.
Ten Bridge Communications