Omega Raises $126 Million to Unlock Potential of Epigenomic Controller Candidate
Backed by Flagship Pioneering, Omega Therapeutics secured $126 million in a Series C financing round that will be used to advance the company’s lead epigenomic controller candidate, OTX-2002, a potential treatment for hepatocellular carcinoma, as well as other next-generation pipeline assets.
Omega Therapeutics unveiled OTX-2002 in January. The company said it is its first epigenomic controller development candidate and the industry's first programmable epigenetic medicine. OTX-2002 is engineered to specifically control c-myc (MYC) oncogene expression. In preclinical models of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), OTX-2002 potently downregulated MYC expression, a result that has historically eluded many prior attempts and therapeutic approaches.
According to Omega, its platform interrogates the three-dimensional architecture of the human genome to identify DNA targets that reflect druggable areas of distinct and conserved structures called Insulated Genomic Domains (IGDs). The company then design proteins, dubbed Omega Epigenomic Controllers, which drug these DNA targets to control the epigenetic state of a specific gene or genes in the human genome. Omega deploys its epigenomic controllers using mRNA and lipid nanoparticles (LNPs) and then deliver them via intravenous, subcutaneous, topical and other routes.
Omega Chief Executive Officer Mahesh Karande said the financing will allow the company to advance OTX-2002 into Investigational New Drug (IND)-enabling studies. Although no hard timeline was provided, Karande said the company expects to enter the clinic shortly after filing the IND. The funding will also allow the company to unlock the potential of its Omega Epigenomic Programming platform, Karande said.
He added the company also intends to use the financing to unveil additional drug candidates addressing a wide range of high unmet need diseases throughout 2021. Some of those other targets include inflammatory diseases, acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) associated with COVID-19, alopecia, neutrophilic dermatoses, non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), and others.
In addition to Flagship Pioneering, the Series C financing round was supported by Invus, Fidelity Management & Research Company, funds and accounts managed by BlackRock, Cowen, Point72, Logos Capital, Mirae Asset Capital and other undisclosed companies. The funding round brings the company's total to $210 million in financing since its founding in 2017.
Roger Sawhney, chief financial officer of Omega Therapeutics, said the company is at a pivotal stage as it prepares to debut new pipeline assets and advance them toward the clinic. He thanked the investors for supporting the company’s work.
Earlier this month, Karande participated in BioSpace’s panel on Fostering Diversity & Inclusion in the Workplace. He touted the company’s hiring policy that has allowed Omega to create an environment that allows employees to be who they are. He said most people spend their “living lives” at work and it’s important for them to be comfortable and respected.
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