Jnana Therapeutics Launches With $50 Million Series A Financing to Target the Cell’s Metabolic Gates
Top-tier syndicate backs serial entrepreneur and world-renowned academics Stuart Schreiber and Ramnik Xavier
Boston, Mass., December 14, 2017 – Jnana Therapeutics Inc. today announced a $50 million Series A financing. The company is building the first drug discovery platform dedicated to targeting the solute carrier (SLC) family of transporters, the cell’s metabolic gates. Jnana’s proprietary small molecule platform allows the company to address therapeutic targets rapidly and comprehensively across the SLC transporter family.
“SLC transporters provide cells with knowledge about their environment. These proteins are amongst the oldest in biology, and afford avenues to address virtually all major diseases. After 50 years of drug development, only a handful of SLCs have been harnessed to treat disease, leaving over 400 members unstudied. Our proprietary chemistry and biology platform allows us to systematically advance medicines based on the biology of these ancient information gathering systems,” said Amir Nashat, Ph.D., Managing Partner with Polaris Partners and Chief Executive at Jnana. “We are targeting a broad range of medical conditions with significant unmet need, and we are fortunate to have the support of leaders in medicine and biotechnology.”
Jnana is focusing on immunometabolism, lysosomal function and mucosal defense, important disease pathways where SLC transporters provide novel targets for immuno-oncology, inflammatory disorders and neurological diseases.
Seed funders Polaris Partners and Avalon Ventures were joined in the Series A syndicate by Versant Ventures, AbbVie Ventures, and Pfizer R&D Innovate.
Jnana’s founding team includes recognized leaders at the forefront of chemistry, drug discovery and development, translational medicine and company building. The company’s founders are:
- Stuart Schreiber, Ph.D., Morris Loeb Professor at Harvard University, Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator and Cofounder of Broad Institute and biotech companies including Vertex, Ariad and H3 Biomedicine.
- Ramnik Xavier, M.D., Ph.D., Chief of Gastroenterology at Massachusetts General Hospital, Professor at Harvard Medical School and Institute Member at Broad Institute.
- Joanne Kotz, Ph.D., President at Jnana, previously Director at Broad Institute.
- Joel Barrish, Ph.D., Chief Scientific Officer at Jnana and former VP and Head of Discovery Chemistry at Bristol-Myers Squibb.
Dr. Nashat of Polaris Partners will be joined on Jnana’s board of directors by Kevin Kinsella, founder of Avalon Ventures, and Carlo Rizzuto, Ph.D. Partner at Versant.
Jnana is committed to discovering and developing medicines that will make a transformative difference for patients using the first drug discovery platform dedicated to targeting the solute carrier (SLC) family of transporters. Headquartered in Boston, Massachusetts, Jnana Therapeutics Inc. was launched in 2017 with $50 million in Series A financing from investors including Polaris Partners, Avalon Ventures, Versant Ventures, AbbVie Ventures and Pfizer R&D Innovate. For more information, please visit www.jnanatx.com.
AbbVie is a new biopharmaceutical company with the expertise and financial performance of an established pharmaceutical leader. Through a targeted, patient-centric approach to research & development, AbbVie accelerates new scientific discoveries to address some of the most complex diseases and contribute to the sustainability of health care systems around the world.
About Avalon Ventures
Avalon Ventures is a venture capital firm that has founded and/or funded more than 140 information technology and life sciences companies. The firm is passionate about backing talented entrepreneurs seeking to build market-leading companies. Throughout the firm’s 35-year tenure, Avalon’s long-standing and successful focus has been on seed and early-stage companies. All Avalon partners are seasoned entrepreneurs with experience in company formation, operations and value creation in the life science and tech sectors. A hallmark of Avalon is working closely with our companies on all aspects of its development – ranging from team building to strategy and operations to customer development. For more information, please visit www.avalon-ventures.com.
About Polaris Partners
Polaris Partners invests in exceptional technology and healthcare companies across all stages of their life cycles. With offices in Boston, San Francisco, and Dublin, we partner globally with an unparalleled network of entrepreneurs, top scientists and emerging innovators who are making significant contributions in their fields and improving the way in which we live and work. For more information, visit www.polarispartners.com.
About Versant Ventures
Versant Ventures is a leading global healthcare investment firm committed to helping exceptional entrepreneurs build the next generation of great healthcare companies. The firm invests across the healthcare sector and at all stages of company development, with an emphasis on the discovery and development of novel therapeutics. With $2.3 billion under management and offices in North America and Europe, Versant has built a team with deep investment, operating, and scientific expertise that enables a hands-on approach to company building. Since the firm’s founding in 1999, more than 65 Versant companies have achieved successful acquisitions or IPOs. For more information, please visit www.versantventures.com.
Laura Cruz, TENOR for Jnana Therapeutics