Congruence pulls in $50M series A to build a team of 'drug hunters' to go after rare disease targets

A new biotech called Congruence Therapeutics snagged $50 million to build a new team of "drug hunters" focused on protein misfolding to go after rare diseases.

Congruence Therapeutics just completed a round of series A funding led by Fonds de solidarité FTQ and Amplitude Ventures. This is the second series A Amplitude has backed in as many weeks, the first being Gandeeva, another company using protein identification for disease treatments. Other participants in the funding round included Lumira Ventures, OrbiMed Advisors, Investissement Quebec and Driehaus Capital Management.

The funding is intended to help Congruence build up a new team of so-called drug hunters, according to founder and CEO Clarissa Desjardins, Ph.D. The biotech will develop novel small molecules to treat rare diseases with a high unmet medical need. That will be done through Congruence's computational platform Revenir, which is designed to find and create treatments for diseases caused by protein misfolding using a combination of machine learning, physics and mathematical modeling to correct protein defects.

Congruence has yet to identify the diseases on which it plans to focus.

This is not Desjardins’ first trip to the biotech C-suite. She was the founder and CEO of Clementia Pharmaceuticals, which was acquired by Ipsen in 2019 for $1.3 billion. One of the more notable treatments Ipsen took charge of in the acquisition was palovarotene, a rare bone disorder treatment that was recently given the green light in Canada as Sohonos after a series of regulatory hiccups.  

RELATED: Ipsen strikes $1.3B Clementia buyout to boost rare disease unit

Joining Desjardins on the executive leadership team for Congruence as chief scientific officer is Kenneth Valenzano, Ph.D., another biotech veteran with experience in drug discovery. Valenzano has spent recent years working on finding treatments for genetic diseases with Amicus Therapeutics and helped it launch Galafold, an oral treatment for Fabry disease approved in 2018.