NEW YORK – Biotechnology firm Flare Therapeutics launched on Thursday after having raised $82 million in a Series A financing round, led by Third Rock Ventures.
Other participants in the Series A round included Boxer Capital, Nextech Invest, Casdin Capital, Invus Financial Advisors, and Eventide Asset Management.
The Cambridge, Massachusetts-based firm is targeting transcription factor dysregulation with the undisclosed drug candidates in its pipeline and said in a statement that it plans to use the raised funds to advance its lead precision oncology product toward the clinic. Flare has three products in discovery phase that it plans to develop initially for tumors driven by activating mutations, gene fusions, and amplifications.
The company is specifically targeting dysregulation through transcription factor "switch sites." These sites are newly discovered druggable targets that control transcription factor function and can cause changes in gene expression. According to the company, transcription factor mutations are known to drive a substantial portion of cancers, yet few transcription factors have been successfully targeted by therapeutics. Although the company is initially focusing on advancing cancer treatments, Flare is also looking for druggable targets within transcription factor "switch sites" in neurology, immunology, inflammation, and rare genetic disorders.
"Over the past decade, there has been a constant flow of scientific discoveries showing ever more pointedly how transcription factors play a central role in diseases, notably cancer," Fraydoon Rastinejad, Flare's scientific co-founder and professor of biochemistry and structural biology at University of Oxford, said in a statement. "Yet, transcription factors have continued to be elusive for finding targetable sites for drug discovery, with less than 1 percent of transcription factors successfully targeted for medicines."
Abbie Celniker, a partner at Third Rock Ventures, will serve as Flare's interim CEO. Robert Sims, formerly an entrepreneur-in-residence at Third Rock, will be the firm's CSO.