Mediar Therapeutics Inc., a biotechnology company advancing a portfolio of first-in-class therapies that halt and even reverse the course of fibrosis, has announced a $105 million financing.
This includes a recent $85 million Series A round co-led by Novartis Venture Fund and Sofinnova Partners and with participation from Pfizer Ventures, Mission BioCapital, Gimv, Pureos, Bristol Myers Squibb, Eli Lilly & Company, Ono Venture Investment and Mass General Brigham Ventures.
Mediar Therapeutics was founded on fibrosis research from Mass General and Brigham and Women’s Hospitals in partnership with Mass General Brigham Ventures. The goal is to transform the treatment of fibrotic disease by targeting the myofibroblast, the key cell type driving fibrosis progression.
Mediar Therapeutics’ portfolio
Mediar Therapeutics’ portfolio consists of three novel targets that are readily detectable in blood and correlate to disease severity, enabling a de-risked approach to clinical development. The series A financing will support advancement of the company’s portfolio of first-in-class antibody treatments, which offer unique potential to address fibrosis at varying stages of the disease, with two programs advancing into human studies in 2024.
“We are applying a precision approach to our fibrosis programs to improve the odds of success in human proof-of-concept studies and identify the right patients for each therapy,” said chief executive officer Rahul Ballal.
“The support of this broad syndicate of investors enables us to leverage our deep insights into fibrosis pathology and drive meaningful clinical impact in the treatment landscape.”
“We are particularly excited about our lead WISP-1 program, which is near candidate selection and has advanced largely through investigations in primary human preclinical systems,” said chief scientific officer Paul Yaworsky.
“We are also progressing promising leads from our two other first-in-class portfolio programs into preclinical in-vivo proof-of-concept studies.”
Fibrosis contributes to 45% of deaths in the industrialized world and is among the most complicated chronic pathologies due to an expansive and complex network of interwoven biological pathways.
Current therapeutic approaches mainly focus on the initiators of fibrosis that modulate the underlying immune responses known to drive disease onset. However, the pursuit of these initiators may disrupt related pro-inflammatory pathways that defend the body against illness and can lead to treatment-limiting safety concerns. Mediar Therapeutics is focused on targeting fibrotic mediators that drive disease progression and potentially avoid the limitations of current approaches.
Other companies target fibrosis
Tackling fibrosis through biotech is not new. In 2018, Galapagos and ProQR started a collaboration to target fibrosis.
This uses a technology to treat genetic diseases without permanent changes to the DNA.
In 2017, Belgian startup Confo Therapeutics received a €1.6 million ($1.7 million) grant to support the discovery of drugs against fibrosis.
And in 2020, iOnctura, a spinout from Merck KGaA, raised €15 million ($15.91 million) to take its fibrosis drugs to phase I clinical trials.