Big Pharma venture groups join $40M Aileron round

Wooed by a new and potentially revolutionary approach to developing drugs, the venture arms of four of the world's biggest pharma companies have joined forces to back Aileron Therapeutics in a $40 million venture round.

SR One, the corporate venture fund of GlaxoSmithKline, and Excel Medical Fund led the Series D round with Novartis Venture Fund, Lilly Ventures and Roche Venture Fund participating in the offering. Apple Tree Partners, which launched the company in 2005 with CEO Joseph A. Yanchik III, also put up part of the round.

"We believe that Stapled Peptides could represent a 'fourth estate' in therapeutics, emerging as a major class akin to small molecules, antibodies and vaccines," said Michael Diem, M.D., Partner at SR One. "The strength of the technology and team at Aileron will ultimately lead to a fundamental paradigm shift in how disease is treated and we are thrilled to be a part of Aileron's future."

Aileron bills itself as a developer of stapled alpha-helical peptides that penetrate cells. The therapeutics are directed at intra-cellular protein-protein interactions that are not influenced by small molecule drugs or biologics.

"This is a completely new way of creating therapeutics," Yanchik told FierceBiotech in an interview in April. "We're taking bad guy cells most guys are dealing with and turning them back into good guys, using the lock and key that nature created." Take insulin as an example: "What if you turn cells back on to produce insulin again?"

- read the press release

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