Rodin Nabs $27 Million to Carry HDAC Complex Compound into the Clinic

Published: Sep 21, 2017

Rodin Nabs $27 Million to Carry HDAC Complex Compound into the Clinic September 21, 2017
By Alex Keown, Breaking News Staff

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – A $27 million infusion of cash will allow Rodin Therapeutics to move its histone deacetylases complex inhibitors into the clinic and through Phase Ib trials as the company targets neurological diseases through the boosting of synaptic resilience and targeting HDAC complexes.

The small Bay State biotech expects to be in the clinic by the end of 2018 and see the initial readout of its Phase Ib trial by the end of 2019. That’s good news for the tiny team of eight full time employees.

It’s been two years since Adam Rosenberg took over as chief executive officer Rodin Therapeutics. Under his leadership, the company is developing a novel set of brain-penetrant small molecule drugs designed to boost pathways that play a critical role in synaptic function while minimizing key safety concerns. HDAC inhibitors are believed to improve brain function “by upregulating synaptic genes.” But the use of HDAC inhibitors has had some safety issues. Those concerns particularly relate to toxicities linked to the HDAC inhibition treatment class. Rodin has focused on disassociating those toxicities, which it will test in the clinic.

“With the focus on neurological, it’s so important to disassociate the toxicity. By focusing on the (HDAC) complex, we were able to bleed off that toxicity,” Rosenberg told BioSpace in an exclusive interview.

That was before the therapy enters the clinic. Now the hope is that toxicity disassociation will hold up in the clinic, Rosenberg said.

The first step will be showing safety and the removal of toxicity in the Phase Ia. If the company is able to do that, Rosenberg said it will be a significant milestone. Then it’s on to the Phase Ib, which the current round of funding will cover.

The $27 million the company raised was supported by Atlas Venture, GV (formerly Google Venture), Hatteras Venture Partners, Remeditex Ventures and Third Point Ventures.

If the compound does hold up, Rosenberg said it is relative to many treatment areas in neurological disease. If supportive data is generated, Rosenberg said Rodin could go after multiple targets such as Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, Huntington’s disease and PTSD. If it does hold up, Rosenberg said the company will be looking at the best path forward for the compound – alone or with a partner. All of those diseases share the common root cause of impaired neuronal and synaptic function, Rosenberg said.

Currently, Rodin is moving forward without one of its early partners, Biogen. In 2015, the two companies forged a collaborative deal for neuronal epigenetic research that could have allowed the larger Boston-based Biogen to acquire the smaller company. However, at the end of 2016, Rosenberg said the two companies decided to amicably part ways.

“We thought we were best-positioned to move forward independently so we mutually decided to terminate the deal. Biogen remains a stockholder and we remain on good terms,” Rosenberg said.

He added that with Biogen’s focus on neurodegenerative diseases, including Alzheimer’s, the two companies could easily look at working together again.

Despite the infusion of cash, Rosenberg said he does not anticipate the next few years being a time of tremendous growth for the company. He expects the team to remain largely intact at about eight full-time employees. He did say there could be some additions when it comes time for clinical development, but it was too soon to tell how many would be needed.

“Our focus is getting the best compound into the clinic and giving ourselves the best chance to generate (positive) data,” he said.

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