Gate Bioscience Emerges from Stealth and Introduces Molecular Gates, a New Class of Small Molecule Therapeutics
Company Backed by $60M Series A Financing from Versant Ventures, a16z Bio + Health, ARCH Venture Partners, and GV
BRISBANE, Calif., Nov. 1, 2023 /PRNewswire/ -- Gate Bioscience, a biotechnology company creating a new class of medicines called Molecular Gates, today unveiled the company and its scientific platform. Founded in 2021, Gate is emerging from stealth with a novel scientific platform; a world-class management and advisory team with a significant track record of success; and $60M in Series A funding led by Versant Ventures and a16z Bio + Health, with participation from ARCH Venture Partners and GV.
Molecular Gates are small molecules that eliminate disease-causing extracellular proteins. Extracellular proteins are drivers of many human diseases, ranging from inflammatory conditions to neurodegenerative disease to several cancers. Gate's novel approach targets a ubiquitous mechanism in human biology: the way in which these proteins are secreted and emerge from cells.
Human cells make over 4,000 different extracellular proteins, including secreted and membrane proteins, which, as they are produced, must cross a membrane to move from inside a cell to the outside. The vast majority of these proteins make that journey through a single channel in the endoplasmic reticulum called the secretory translocon. This channel is the only gateway for both beneficial and disease-causing proteins to exit the cell and act in the body. Molecular Gates drug this channel to stop disease-causing proteins at their source: inside the cell.
"More than 1,000 extracellular proteins are implicated in a wide range of diseases, yet all of these conditions have one mechanism in common: the secretion of a disease-causing protein through the secretory translocon," said Jordi Mata-Fink, Ph.D., Co-Founder and CEO of Gate. "Gate's chemistry, platform, and expertise are laser-focused on this molecular process. For diseases caused by extracellular proteins, our aim is to restore the harmful proteins to normal levels or even, in the case of some conditions, to eliminate the disease-causing proteins entirely. We are inventing a new class of medicines that can bring hope to patients with devastating diseases that are not treatable, or not well treated, today."
Inventing a New Class of Medicines
Gate has the capability to selectively block specific proteins from passing through the secretory translocon. Molecular Gate medicines bind to the secretory translocon and set up a "gate" that recognizes and stops a specific, disease-causing protein from exiting. Other, non-targeted proteins are able to move through the secretory translocon normally. With nowhere to go, the blocked protein is redirected to be degraded instead of secreted.
"Molecular Gates are unique since they harness the power of small molecules, enabling them to be taken orally and to access the whole body, including the brain," said Clare Ozawa, Ph.D., Managing Director at Versant Ventures and a Gate board member. "By blocking disease-causing proteins at their source rather than tackling them in a complex extracellular environment, Gate's approach is both straightforward and powerful."
Gate's novel approach is fueled by the company's proprietary Molecular Gate Discovery Platform™, which combines a privileged library of Molecular Gates; a suite of bespoke, secretion-focused assays and technologies; and deep insights into the biology and structural biology of the secretory pathway. This platform enables high-throughput screening of small molecule libraries alongside comprehensive, quantitative profiling of the entire secreted protein universe in order to develop selective therapies.
"The next generation of small molecule therapeutics is expanding into new and diverse biochemical functions. Molecular Gate medicines have the potential to change how we treat important diseases by adding an entirely new mechanism of action to our arsenal," said Vineeta Agarwala, M.D., Ph.D., General Partner at a16z Bio + Health and a Gate board member. "With its powerful discovery engine, cutting-edge technologies, and leading team, Gate is poised to realize the potential of this new modality."
A World-Class Team of Company Builders and Drug Developers
Gate is led and supported by an experienced team of company builders and drug developers with an extensive track record of creating innovative new medicines in pharma and biotech. Collectively, Gate's leadership team has been at the vanguard of drug development in multiple important modalities, including molecular glues, PROTACs, splice modulators, and covalent inhibitors.
Gate is led by:
- Jordi Mata-Fink, Ph.D., Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer
- Pat Sharp, Ph.D., Scientific Co-Founder and Vice President of Discovery Science
- Raman Talwar, Co-Founder and Chief Technology Officer
- Brian Cathers, Ph.D., Chief Scientific Officer
Gate's Board of Directors includes:
- Tom Daniel, M.D., Chairman of the Board for Gate and former President of Global Research and Early Development at Celgene
- Clare Ozawa, Ph.D., Managing Director at Versant Ventures
- Vineeta Agarwala, M.D., Ph.D., General Partner at a16z Bio + Health
Gate's management team is complemented by highly accomplished advisors in the fields of drug development, new chemical modalities, and protein secretion. Key advisors include Scott Biller, Ph.D., Executive Venture Partner at GV (Gate board observer); Jay Parrish, Ph.D., Venture Partner at ARCH Venture Partners (Gate board observer); and James Winkler, Ph.D. (Chief Scientific Advisor), among others. Please visit Gate's website for additional information on the company's scientific advisors.
"I've been involved with the advancement of many modalities throughout my career, and I am truly impressed with the broad potential offered by Gate's approach," said Dr. Daniel. "Molecular Gates remind me of the early days of molecular glues, where we combined new chemistry, the right technology, and deep mechanistic focus to create a whole new type of medicine. This team and platform are uniquely enabled to unlock this novel therapeutic class."
About Gate Bioscience
Gate Bioscience is a venture-backed, preclinical biotech company creating a new class of medicines called Molecular Gates. Our therapeutics are small molecules that aim to cure diseases by selectively eliminating harmful extracellular proteins at their origin: inside the cell. Every extracellular protein—of which there are more than 4,000—must pass through a single channel in the cell before it can be secreted into the body. Molecular Gates bind to this channel, setting up a "gate" that recognizes and blocks a specific, disease-causing protein from exiting. With nowhere to go, the protein is redirected to be degraded by the cell's natural cleanup mechanism instead of being secreted. By eliminating the harmful protein at the source, Gate aims to eliminate the disease for patients. Founded in 2021, Gate's mission to create this new class of medicines is backed by Versant Ventures, a16z Bio + Health, ARCH Venture Partners, and GV. Learn more at www.gatebio.com.
About Versant Ventures
Versant Ventures is a leading healthcare venture capital firm committed to helping exceptional entrepreneurs build the next generation of great companies. The firm's emphasis is on biotechnology companies that are discovering and developing novel therapeutics. With $5.4 billion under management and offices in the U.S., Canada and Europe, Versant has built a team with deep investment, operating and R&D expertise that enables a hands-on approach to company building. Since the firm's founding in 1999, more than 95 Versant companies have achieved successful acquisitions or IPOs. For more information, please visit www.versantventures.com.
About Andreessen Horowitz
Founded in Silicon Valley in 2009 by Marc Andreessen and Ben Horowitz, Andreessen Horowitz (known as "a16z") is a venture capital firm that backs bold entrepreneurs building the future through technology. We are stage agnostic: We invest in seed to venture to late-stage technology companies, across bio + healthcare, consumer, crypto, enterprise, fintech, games, and companies building toward American dynamism.
SOURCE Gate Bioscience