Entact Bio has raised $81 million in series A financing to advance its proprietary Encompass platform for developing enhancement-targeting chimeric (ENTAC) molecules.
The round was co-led by Qiming Venture Partners USA and venBio Partners, with participation by new investors Abingworth, Brandon Capital, Janus Henderson Investors, Logos Capital, Surveyor Capital (a Citadel company), and WEHI (Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research), and founding investors 4BIO Capital and Arkin Bio Ventures.
“Our aim is to provide new options for patients by developing precision medicines that enhance the function of beneficial proteins rather than eliminating or blocking proteins that contribute to disease,” said Victoria Richon, CEO of Entact Bio.
“To transform this vision into reality, we have built Encompass, a proprietary platform for creating therapeutics that harness the cell’s mechanism for enhancing protein function. These ENTAC medicines will make an important difference for patients whose needs aren’t adequately met by today’s treatments.”
With broad utility across disease types, ENTACs have significant potential to expand the druggable space and address unmet medical needs. Many diseases occur when there is a functional problem with a beneficial protein that is critical to cell health. These illnesses are challenging to treat with conventional small molecules, which are typically designed to inhibit proteins that are contributing to disease rather than to enhance the function of beneficial proteins.
ENTACs boost protein function by harnessing the power of enzymes called deubiquitinases, or DUBs, which are key regulators of proteins in the cell. Acting as molecular matchmakers, ENTACs bring together beneficial target proteins with DUBs. The DUBs, in turn, selectively shorten or remove chains of a molecule called ubiquitin that are attached to the target protein.
Ubiquitin plays a broad role in protein function, so tailored removal of ubiquitin can enhance the function of the target protein. Whether the target protein is in short supply, is in the wrong place within the cell, or has suboptimal activity, an ENTAC can be engineered to recruit a DUB to fix the problem. By introducing each target to the right DUB, ENTACs enhance the function of these crucial proteins, ultimately restoring the cell’s health.
Entact’s proprietary end-to-end Encompass platform integrates biological, chemical, and computational tools to identify disease targets amenable to ENTAC intervention, select an optimal DUB to address the specific target, and create specific ENTACs optimized to each specific target-DUB pair.