CAMBRIDGE, Mass.--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- Blueprint Medicines, a company harnessing the understanding of the molecular blueprint of cancer to develop personalized, highly-selective cancer therapies, today announced the closing of a $40 million Series A financing led by Third Rock Ventures. Nicholas Lydon, Ph.D., and Brian Druker, M.D., co-founded the company along with biotech entrepreneurs Chris Varma, Ph.D., and David Armistead, Ph.D., and Third Rock Ventures. Drs. Lydon and Druker are recipients of the 2009 Lasker-DeBakey Award for Clinical Medical Research for their role in the development of Gleevec® (imatinib mesylate), a targeted kinase inhibitor that transformed chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) from a fatal cancer into a manageable disease. Proceeds from the financing will be used to develop new cancer therapies - using the company’s proprietary compound library and Insights-to-Validation™ Platform - that target the driver molecular aberrations of cancer and emerging resistance mechanisms unique to certain cancer patients. Dr. Varma is Blueprint Medicines’ founding president and chief executive officer, and Dr. Armistead is the founding chief scientific officer.
“Over the past decade, targeted kinase inhibitors have been successfully designed, advanced into clinical trials and delivered to patients, forever changing the way cancer is treated,” said Dr. Lydon. “We are now at a crossroads where innovative drug discovery and development could again enable a transformative shift in cancer treatment. By leveraging the growing body of molecular and cancer genome data and focusing on patients with clearly defined molecular aberrations, Blueprint Medicines is positioned to develop the selective cancer treatments that will make this transformation possible.”
Blueprint Medicines’ founding advisors are world-renowned experts in cancer genomics, clinical oncology, biochemistry and rational drug development and bring proven ability to translate cancer research breakthroughs into meaningful treatments for patients. These scientific leaders are working collaboratively with Blueprint Medicines’ management team and include Dr. Lydon; Dr. Druker, director of the Oregon Health & Science University Knight Cancer Institute; and Scott Lowe, Ph.D., an investigator at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and deputy director of the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (CSHL) Cancer Center.
The company’s management team and board of directors include proven biotechnology industry veterans. Joining Dr. Varma and Dr. Lydon on the board of directors is Mark Levin, a long-time personalized medicine visionary, partner at Third Rock Ventures and former chief executive officer of Millennium Pharmaceuticals, and Alexis Borisy, partner at Third Rock Ventures and founding chief executive officer of Foundation Medicine and CombinatoRx.
Dr. Varma stated, “For the first time, Blueprint Medicines brings together expert understanding of the molecular blueprint of cancer with a proprietary chemical library for the development of personalized cancer therapies to improve patient outcomes and shift cancer to a manageable condition.” Dr. Armistead added, “Blueprint Medicines’ library of novel and highly-selective compounds serve as both invaluable chemistry tools as well as starting points for pharmaceutical drugs. Our world-class scientific team is using this library as part of our scientific strategy to develop programs powered by the understanding of cancer’s aberrant mechanisms.”
Mr. Levin said, “The promise and potential of personalized cancer treatments has been anticipated for decades, and many have been working diligently to make them a reality. Today, with a veritable ‘revolution’ underway in our understanding of the molecular drivers of cancer, we are better positioned than ever to fully realize that promise. We are extremely excited to bring together this group of pioneers and leaders to form Blueprint Medicines to do just that.”
About Blueprint Medicines
Blueprint Medicines is driving the development of personalized, highly-selective cancer therapies that harness the growing understanding of the molecular blueprint of cancer. Using its powerful Insights-to-Validation™ Platform and proprietary chemical library, Blueprint Medicines is working to develop new therapeutic compounds and combination therapies that target the molecular aberrations that cause cancer and the emerging resistance mechanisms that make it increasingly difficult to treat. Founded in 2011 by a proven team of scientists and entrepreneurs with world-renowned expertise in the development of targeted cancer therapies, cancer genomics, and rational drug development, Blueprint Medicines is poised to realize the promise of the cancer data “revolution”: truly personalized therapies that improve outcomes and shift cancer to a manageable condition. For more information on Blueprint Medicines, please visit the company’s website at www.blueprintmedicines.com.
About Third Rock Ventures
Third Rock Ventures is a venture capital firm founded in 2007 with the mission to launch transformative life sciences companies. With more than $800 million and two funds under management, the firm is focused on working with passionate entrepreneurs to build exceptional companies working in areas of disruptive science that will make a difference in the lives of patients. The firm has assembled a team with deep expertise and a proven track record of building respected and successful life sciences companies. With decades of complementary, cross-functional operational and leadership experience, the Third Rock team actively engages with its portfolio companies to provide hands-on strategy and experience to successfully launch companies with the best vision, science, operations, people and culture. With offices in Boston, MA and San Francisco, CA, Third Rock is well positioned geographically to closely collaborate with its portfolio companies to achieve their goals. To learn more about Third Rock and its portfolio companies, please visit www.thirdrockventures.com.
Gleevec® is a registered trademark of Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation.
Dan Budwick, 973-271-6085