Monte Rosa Secures $96 Million to Advance Small-Molecule Drug Discovery Platform
Precision medicine company Monte Rosa Therapeutics announced Thursday the closing of a Series B financing round which garnered the Boston-based biotech a hefty sum of $96 million to advance its small molecule-based protein degradation platform. This second round of funding for Monte Rosa follows an initial financing round earlier this year which secured the company $32.5 million.
The more than $128 million in funding will support Monte Rosa’s integrated drug discovery platform, which combines diverse chemical libraries of small-molecule protein degraders with proteomics and structural biology capabilities. With help from investors, Monte Rosa expects the chemical libraries to comprise more than 10,000 structures designed for ubiquitin ligase reprogramming, a unique approach to destroy cancer-causing proteins that are not targetable by currently available therapies.
Ridgeline, Versant’s Discovery engine, publicly launched the company early this year in collaboration with protein degradation experts from The Institute of Cancer Research (ICR) in London. During this time, the company has made significant advancements in small-molecule compounds. MRT-048, for instance, is one of Monte Rosa’s leading small-molecule compounds which has since shown potential as a new breast cancer therapy.
Aisling Capital, in league with founding investor Versant Ventures and existing investor New Enterprise Associates, led the round of Series B financing. Monte Rosa has also attracted a new set of investors who contributed to the latest financing rounds: Amzak Health, Cambridge Asset Management, Casdin Capital, Cormorant Asset Management, GV, HBM Healthcare Investments and Sixty Degree Capital.
“We are pleased to have the support of this strong group of investors who share our vision for driving a next-generation drug discovery approach that captures the promise of expanding the field of protein degradation into a broader array of diseases,” said Monte Rosa CEO Markus Warmuth, M.D., in a statement. “With this financing, we are now well positioned to broadly develop our integrated drug discovery platform and advance multiple new therapies toward clinical development.”
“Monte Rosa has built one of the largest and highly focused libraries of small molecule protein degraders that target critical disease drivers,” added Alex Mayweg, Ph.D., managing director of Versant Ventures. “The company is now poised to bring forward multiple drug candidates for some of the most difficult-to-treat cancers and other diseases.”
Following the announcement of the closing of this financing round, Monte Rosa also announced new appointments to its Board of Directors: Andrew Schiff, M.D., of Aisling Capital, and Chandra P. Leo, M.D., of HBM Partners. Members currently residing on the board include Dr. Warmuth; Brad Bolzon, Ph.D., and Dr. Mayweg, Ph.D., of Versant; Ali Behbahani, M.D., of NEA; and Kim Blackwell, M.D., of Tempus Labs, Inc.
“Many approved drugs have been developed to inhibit a protein’s function. Monte Rosa’s goal is to eliminate the protein altogether,” said Dr. Schiff. “This investment will continue to support the experienced team led by Markus and will enable the company to target known drivers of cancers and other diseases that are currently unaddressed with conventional methods.”