Launched in 2015 with $45 Million, Bay Area Revolution Medicines Scores $25 Million

Launched in 2015 with $45 Million, Bay Area Revolution Medicines Scores $25 Million December 20, 2016
By Mark Terry, Breaking News Staff

Redwood City, Calif. – Revolution Medicines announced today that it has raised $25 million in a Series A extension financing. The Column Group joined the company’s founding investor, Third Rock Ventures, in the financing round.

Revolution Medicines was founded in 2015 with $45 million from Third Rock Ventures. The company’s description, “focused on frontier cancer targets and drug discovery inspired by nature’s lessons,” doesn’t say much about what the company is actually doing. However, it was built on the research of Martin Burke, a chemistry professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Its technology platform and approach is loosely based on improving evolution. Which is to say, identify possible therapeutic molecules, create multiple copies, and then remove the parts of the molecules that cause toxicity or interfere with targeting—pretty much what every biotech and pharmaceutical company does—and then let evolutionary processes take place.

The company’s platform is called Revblocks. It is described on the company website as “a rapid, standardized and powerful process for conducting advanced medicinal chemistry by assembling simple ‘chemical building blocks’ into refined structures that have significant potential as best-in-class drug candidates.”

It also has a Reveal platform that “is a knowledge-driven informatics system designed to recognize advantageous structural and functional properties of scaffolds that can be exploited to engage protein targets.” This is apparently where the evolutionary mimicry takes place.

In addition to the Series A financing, Larry Lasky, a partner at The Column Group, joined Revolution’s board of directors. Lasky was a partner at US Venture Partners from 2008 to 2014, a general partner at Latterell Venture Partners from 2002 to 2008. Prior to that, he spent 20 years as a scientist at Genentech , where he was involved in vaccinology, immunology, stem cell biology, cellular signaling mechanisms and monoclonal antibody therapy of tumors.

“This financing brings a second top-tier group to Revolution Medicines and reflects the excellent progress the company has made in advancing multiple oncology drug discovery programs,” said Mark Goldsmith, Revolution’s president and chief executive officer, in a statement. “I am excited that Dr. Lasky has joined our board of directors and look forward to working with him. His extensive background and track record in oncology drug discovery, coupled with the recent expansion of our founder and senior advisor groups that contributes additional oncology expertise, mark our deepening commitment to bringing innovative drugs forward for cancer patients.”

The company has two announced programs. One is SHP2, which is focused on the discovery and development of protein tyrosine phosphatase (PTP) inhibitors. PTP SHP2 (PTPN11) is closely associated with hematologic cancers. It also is believed to be involved in immune checkpoint regulators, such as PD-1/PD-L1. The company is working on a collection of inhibitors for this cancer target.

The other program is mTOR. In the majority of cancers, the PI3K-AKT-PTEN-mTOR signaling pathway is inappropriate activated. The company is working to develop a class of inhibitors that preserve the tumor suppressor function of 4E-BP1 through selective inhibition of mTORC1.

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