After its $2B Gilead pact, Goldfinch Bio nabs a cool $100M series B

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Still flying high from its major biobucks pact with Gilead Sciences, kidney disease biotech Goldfinch Bio has followed up with a $100 million funding round.

Based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Goldfinch Bio aims to use a precision medicine approach to better treat kidney disease. Its pipeline is based on its Kidney Genome Atlas, a patient registry containing genomic, transcriptomic and proteomic data with thousands of anonymized clinical patient profiles.

It uses the database to identify mutations or sequence genetic variants that occur in patients with kidney disease. Goldfinch’s in-house pipeline includes two programs targeting diabetic kidney disease (DKD) and focal segmental glomerulosclerosis (FSGS), a rare disease with no approved treatments that affects the kidney’s filtering units, called glomeruli.

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Today, it got off an oversubscribed series B financing worth $100 million led by Eventide Asset Management and including new investors Wellington Management Company, Ally Bridge Group, funds and accounts managed by BlackRock, Casdin Capital, LLC and Irving Investors, along with existing investors Gilead, Yonjin Capital, Schroeder Adveq and other “undisclosed institutional investors.”

Goldfinch is now pushing two programs through development: GFB-887, a first-in-class selective inhibitor of transient receptor potential canonical channel 5 (TRPC5), and GFB-024, a peripherally restricted cannabinoid receptor 1 (CB1) inverse agonist.

A phase 2 of GFB-887 in patients with FSGS and diabetic nephropathy (DN), two diseases often driven by overactivation of the TRPC5-Rac1 pathway, are slated for mid-20201, with an IND for GFB-024, licensed from Takeda, to treat CB1-mediated DN on the cards for 2021. The $100 million will go toward these efforts.

In the Gilead deal, penned last May and worth $109 million upfront with $2 billion in biobucks, the Big Pharma turned to Goldfinch Bio to use the latter’s Kidney Genome Atlas to identify and validate targets for DKD and “certain orphan kidney diseases.”

With that Gilead cash, Goldfinch CEO Tony Johnson told Fierce Biotech last year it would expand the database “by an order of tenfold, to tens of thousands of patients. This will allow us to expand it dramatically to include patients with diabetic kidney disease and be able to compare them with patients with diabetes who don’t have kidney disease.”

“By expanding the sample size, this will increase our ability to identify novel causes of diabetic nephropathy, or diabetic kidney disease,” he said.

Goldfinch will also test drugs against those targets in kidney cells and kidney organoids created from human stem cells. Its biology platform also includes in vivo organoids, where researchers implant these organoids under the kidney capsule of animals, Johnson said in a previous interview.

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