Biotech start-up Repare Therapeutics of Montreal, fresh from 18 months of incubation at Versant Ventures, has secured US$68 million in Series A financing from several big names in the industry.
Founding investor San Francisco-based Versant Ventures co-led the round with MPM Capital. They were also joined by other syndicate investors including Fonds de solidarité FTQ, Celgene Switzerland, an affiliate of Celgene Corporation, and BDC Capital’s Healthcare Venture Fund.
Repare is developing precision oncology drugs aimed at cancer tumours. The company is led by Lloyd Segal and founded by Dr. Daniel Durocher, senior scientist at the Lunenfeld-Tanenbaum Research Institute in Toronto; Dr. Frank Sicheri, Ph.D., a professor in the departments of biochemistry and molecular genetics at the University of Toronto; and Dr. Agnel Sfeir, assistant professor in the department of cell biology, at the Skirball Institute, New York University, School of Medicine.
Repare has just come out from Versant’s Discovery Engines after an 18month stealth period during. During this period the company advanced its leading CRISPR-enabled synthetic lethality drug discovery platform. It identified several promising oncology targets and moved multiple programs into preclinical development.
“Versant’s commitment to and confidence in Repare’s distinct science has enabled the company to build the team, operations, and initial programs away from the spotlight,” said Segal. “With the added leadership of MPM and this syndicate, we are financed to achieve our goal of testing our multiple new, precision oncology therapeutics in a clinical setting.”
Repare has developed new methods for discovered additional drug targets which may induce “synthetic lethality.”
The core concept of synthetic lethality is that while a tumor can tolerate individual defects in its DNA, there exist combinations of defects that lead to the malignancy’s destruction.
The recent approvals of several PARP inhibitors provide clear proof-of-principle for the approach of inducing synthetic lethality.
Repare and its founders have developed largescale and novel methods for discovering additional drug targets that, when inhibited, may induce synthetic lethality.
New drugs directed at these targets hold promise to improve cancer treatment both as single therapies and in combination with existing drugs and treatments.
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