Ventus Therapeutics announced a $60 million Series A financing led by founding investor Versant Ventures with participation by GV (formerly Google Ventures). Proceeds will be used to advance three pipeline programs and to expand the company’s structural immunology platform to pursue previously intractable drug targets. Ventus’ current pipeline includes programs targeting multiple autoimmune and inflammatory diseases, as well as certain forms of resistant cancers.
Ventus’ structural immunology platform addresses many of the barriers seen to date in drug discovery programs focused on the innate immune system. Drug discovery has been limited by a lack of molecular structures, direct assays and chemical matter. The company’s approach is based on protein engineering capabilities with the necessary know-how to generate and express stable monomers of known targets, including the inflammasomes and nucleic acid sensing targets. This in turn enables the elucidation of protein structures and the implementation of direct biochemical and biophysical assays that previously did not exist.
“The know-how and technologies within Ventus provide the opportunity to develop selective small molecule drugs for innate immunity,” said Marcelo Bigal, M.D., Ph.D., president and CEO of Ventus. “These capabilities have enabled us to tackle several challenging and disease-relevant pathways. With the backing from Versant and GV, we can now translate our progress into innovative medicines for autoimmune diseases and oncology.”
Brendan Bulik-Sullivan, Ph.D., a partner at GV, stated “Ventus is positioned to open up new territory for developing better medicines that target innate immunity pathways behind many important diseases. We are confident in the experienced leadership team and the scientific expertise that is propelling the company’s drug development.”
Ventus will operate across two sites in Montreal, Canada, and in Boston, Massachusetts. This allows the company to deploy an industry-trained drug discovery team equipped with know-how and capabilities in protein engineering and structural biology. With this financing, the company plans to expand its headcount to more than 30 scientists this year and advance three programs into development.