WALTHAM, Mass. & MONTREAL, QC, February 9, 2022 – Ventus Therapeutics, Inc., a biopharmaceutical company utilizing structural biology and computational tools to identify and develop small molecule therapeutics across a broad range of disease indications, announced today the closing of a $140 million Series C financing. The Series C is co-led by SoftBank Vision Fund 2 and RA Capital Management with participation from Qatar Investment Authority, Andreessen Horowitz, BVF Partners L.P., Casdin Capital, Cormorant Asset Management, Fonds de solidarité FTQ, Alexandria Venture Investments, GV (formerly Google Ventures), and founding investor Versant Ventures. Concurrent with this financing, John Cassidy, Ph.D., of SoftBank Investment Advisers will join the Ventus Board of Directors.
“We believe this funding from leading investors will help us scale up our ReSOLVE platform while simultaneously driving towards planned investigational new drug (IND) submissions for our three lead programs in 2023,” said Marcelo Bigal, M.D., Ph.D., president and CEO of Ventus.
The Series C financing is expected to allow Ventus to accelerate the scaling of its ReSOLVE platform to address targets previously considered undruggable and enhance its performance by automating processes, expanding machine learning capabilities, and constructing larger proprietary virtual libraries. The company also plans to continue to advance its lead drug programs that target key modulators in the innate immune system, including NLRP3 (NLR pyrin domain-containing 3) and cGAS (cyclic GMP-AMP synthase), that have been extensively implicated in human disease. In addition, Ventus intends to expand its research and development staff to support additional pipeline programs, providing potential opportunities for both partnerships and internal growth.
Ventus’ lead drug program, VENT-01, is a peripherally restricted small molecule inhibitor compound targeting NLRP3. NLRP3 is a key mediator of pro-inflammatory cytokines IL-1b and IL-18 and is a biologically validated target for many diseases where inflammation is the key driver of pathology. The company has a second drug program, which is a brain-penetrant NLRP3 inhibitor. Ventus’ third drug program targets cGAS, a key regulator of the cGAS/stimulator of interferon genes (STING) pathway.
“We believe Ventus’ proprietary computational drug discovery platform makes it quicker and more cost-effective to identify molecular targets from an almost infinite library of compounds,” commented John Cassidy, Ph.D., investor for SoftBank Investment Advisers. “We’re pleased to be partnering with the team as they move to clinical testing and unlock novel approaches to curing a wide range of diseases.”
Ventus’ ReSOLVE platform combines the company’s structural biology and protein science expertise with its proprietary computational chemistry capabilities to address the current limitations of small molecule drug discovery. Ventus leverages its ReSOLVE platform to discover and characterize previously unknown or poorly understood pockets on the surface of proteins, and identify small molecules that can bind to those pockets with optimal affinity. Without requiring existing chemical matter, ReSOLVE is designed to virtually screen libraries comprised of several billion compounds by using structural information about a protein to infer multiple protein conformational states and the solvation structure of each conformation.
“Ventus has distinguished itself as a leader in structure-based drug design, opening up new opportunities for reaching compelling drug targets,” said Josh Resnick, M.D., Managing Director at RA Capital Management. “We are excited to be working with the talented Ventus leadership and scientific teams as they continue to expand ReSOLVE and pursue therapeutic targets once thought to be undruggable with small molecules.”
About Ventus Therapeutics
Ventus Therapeutics is a biopharmaceutical company utilizing structural biology and computational tools to identify and develop small molecule therapeutics across a broad range of disease indications, with an initial focus on immunology, inflammation and neurology. We have developed a proprietary drug discovery platform, called ReSOLVE, which is built upon our structural biology and protein science expertise and our proprietary computational chemistry capabilities, to address the current limitations of small molecule drug discovery. We are leveraging our ReSOLVE platform to discover and characterize previously unknown or poorly understood pockets on the surface of proteins and identify small molecules that can bind to those pockets with optimal affinity. We are focused on high-value targets that have been extensively implicated in human diseases that were previously considered undruggable or where we believe there is a significant opportunity to improve upon existing therapies. Our lead programs target key innate immune modulators, including NLRP3 and cGAS. For more information, please visit www.ventustx.com and engage with us on Twitter @Ventus_Tx or on LinkedIn.
About RA Capital Management
RA Capital Management is a multi-stage investment manager dedicated to evidence-based investing in public and private healthcare and life science companies that are developing drugs, medical devices, and diagnostics. The flexibility of its strategy allows RA Capital to provide seed funding to startups and to lead private, IPO, and follow-on financings for its portfolio companies, both facilitating the crossover process and allowing management teams to drive value creation from inception through commercialization.
This press release contains forward-looking statements about future expectations, plans and prospects, including, but not limited to, statements related to our business strategy, current programs, and timing of planned preclinical and clinical activities and future results of operations and financial position. These forward-looking statements are based on our current expectations and inherently involve significant risks and uncertainties. Actual results and the timing of events could differ materially from those anticipated in such forward-looking statements as a result of these risks and uncertainties, which include, without limitation, the timing, progress and results of preclinical and clinical studies involving our development programs; the results of our earlier studies not being predictive of future results; our ability to enhance the ReSOLVE platform; our ability to continue to obtain funding for our operations and implement our business strategy; the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on our business and our efforts to address its impact on our business; anticipated developments related to our competitors and our industry; the performance of third-party service providers, including suppliers and manufacturers; and our ability to obtain, maintain and protect our intellectual property. Any forward-looking statements contained in this press release speak only as of the date hereof, and we undertake no duty or obligation to update any forward-looking statements as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.