Faze Medicines Launches With $81 Million Series A Financing to Leverage New Biology of Biomolecular Condensates to Treat Disease
Biomolecular condensates are membrane-less clusters of molecules, such as proteins and nucleic acids, that dynamically organize to perform a wide array of cell functions. Research over the past decade, including seminal work by Faze’s founders, has found that disturbances in the behavior of condensates play a causative role in myriad human diseases, including amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and other neurodegenerative disorders. Faze is now poised to deliver medical breakthroughs based on this fundamentally new understanding of cell biology.
“The biology of condensates is the kind of science that will rewrite textbooks — and, we believe, rewrite medicine,” said Cary Pfeffer, M.D., interim chief executive officer of Faze and partner at Third Rock Ventures. “Faze is founded by leading experts who have been integral to this field since its very beginnings. Their insights, coupled with the deep expertise of the team we have assembled, will enable us to realize the enormous potential of this new biology.”
“Cell biology is undergoing a transformation as we come to understand the integral role that biomolecular condensates play within cell processes from DNA repair to intracellular transport,” added Rachel Meyers, Ph.D., chief scientific officer of Faze. “Faze was founded to translate these exciting discoveries out of the lab and into the clinic, where they could make a real difference in treating diseases that have seen very little therapeutic progress.”
The Series A will support Faze’s preclinical research in two initial therapeutic focus areas – ALS and myotonic dystrophy type 1 (DM1) – as well as research to explore condensate biology in other disease areas. In ALS and DM1, a robust body of literature points to a causative role for condensate dysregulation. Leveraging state-of-the-art screening and proteomics techniques, Faze will identify proteins that are key components or regulators of disease-causing condensates, and then employ proprietary assays to discover small molecule drugs targeting these proteins.
Founders and Leadership
Faze is founded by renowned scientific leaders in the field of biomolecular condensates:
- Roy Parker, Ph.D., a pioneer in the study of the class of condensates known as RNP granules with an emphasis on the RNA components and their role in neurodegenerative as well as other diseases. Dr. Parker is the Cech-Leinwand Endowed Chair of Biochemistry at the University of Colorado Boulder and is also a professor of chemistry and biochemistry. Dr. Parker is an investigator at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) and a member of the National Academy of Sciences.
- Mike Rosen, Ph.D., a leading expert in the formation, regulation and functions of biomolecular condensates with an emphasis on the multivalent interactions that are critical to their formation. Dr. Rosen is the chair of the department of biophysics at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, an investigator at the HHMI and a member of the National Academy of Sciences.
- J. Paul Taylor, M.D., Ph.D., a pioneer in the field of liquid-liquid phase transitions who has made seminal discoveries defining how mutations that alter these phase transitions impact neurodegenerative diseases. Dr. Taylor is an investigator at the HHMI and a faculty chair of the cell and molecular biology department at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
- Ron Vale, Ph.D., a leading expert in molecular motor proteins who has recently demonstrated how repeat expansion RNAs can drive disease-causing condensate formation. Dr. Vale is executive director of the HHMI Janelia Research Campus, an HHMI vice president and a recipient of the Lasker Award.
Faze’s leadership team brings together accomplished biotechnology executives with decades of industry experience and deep scientific, drug discovery and drug development knowledge:
- Cary Pfeffer, M.D., interim chief executive officer and board member of Faze; partner at Third Rock Ventures
- Andrea Armstrong, interim chief people officer
- Ed Freedman, J.D., interim chief financial officer
- Jim Hampe, interim chief business officer
- Rene M. Lemieux, Ph.D., SVP, head of drug discovery
- Rachel Meyers, Ph.D., chief scientific officer
Joining Dr. Pfeffer on the company’s inaugural board of directors is:
- Charles Homcy, M.D., industry leader in founding companies discovering and developing novel therapeutic approaches; clinical professor of medicine at the University of California, San Francisco Medical School
- Bob Tepper, M.D., partner at Third Rock Ventures
- Laura Brass, Ph.D., managing director at Novartis Venture Fund
Faze has additionally established a robust group of expert advisors including those in the areas of drug discovery and clinical development.
About Faze Medicines
Faze Medicines is a biotechnology company harnessing the groundbreaking new science of biomolecular condensates to create medical breakthroughs. Faze was founded by renowned scientific leaders in the field of biomolecular condensates and is supported by a world-class syndicate of investors including Third Rock Ventures, Novartis Venture Fund, Eli Lilly and Company, AbbVie Ventures, Invus, Catalio Capital Management, Casdin Capital and Alexandria Venture Investments. For more information, visit fazemed.com.
Ten Bridge Communications
Source: Faze Medicines