Proceeds from the financing will be used to advance the development of a new class of therapeutics that fight cancer by targeting mitochondrial one-carbon (1C) metabolism – fundamental metabolic pathways necessary for tumors to grow and survive. Investors in the Series A financing include Atlas Venture, MPM Capital Management, MS Ventures, Partners Innovation Fund, Astellas Venture Management, and Novartis. Peter Barrett, PhD, of Atlas Venture, who co-founded the company as part of Atlas' seed financing strategy, is Chairman of the board of directors. Raze's board includes Ansbert Gadicke, MD, of MPM Capital Management, Nilesh Kumar, PhD, of MS Ventures, and Reza Halse, PhD, of Partners Innovation Fund. Jason Rhodes, an Atlas partner, has also joined the board and is acting Chief Executive Officer of Raze.
"Aberrant growth and the accumulation of biomass are hallmarks of cancer. Raze targets newly identified pathways that are essential to this anabolic metabolism and tumor survival. We have created a powerful drug discovery platform and are rapidly advancing programs directed to solid tumors and hematological malignancies," said Jason Rhodes.
Raze targets essential anabolic pathways that are fundamental to tumor biology including proliferation, survival and biomass accumulation. Leveraging new biological insights from its scientific founders, Raze has developed a proprietary drug discovery platform to create therapeutics that selectively starve cancer cells of essential biomass precursors. The company's drug development programs focus on 1C metabolic pathways to treat solid and hematologic cancers.
Leading Scientific Founders and Advisers
Raze's proprietary platform is based on discoveries by its scientific founders, Vamsi Mootha, MD, of Massachusetts General Hospital, Joshua Rabinowitz, MD, PhD, of Princeton and David Sabatini, MD, PhD, of the Whitehead Institute.
The formation of Raze brought these scientific leaders together, each of whom had independently elucidated critical aspects of the essential role of 1C anabolic metabolism in cancer growth. Dr. Mootha, an Investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, studies mitochondria and utilizes mass spectrometry, computational approaches, and biochemistry to characterize the mitochondrial proteome, which serves as a molecular blueprint for clinical and systematic studies of mitochondria. Dr. Rabinowitz studies metabolism from a systems biology perspective and has developed methods that combine mass spectrometry, isotope tracers, and mathematical modeling to quantitate metabolic flux and understand basic principles of metabolic flux control. Dr. Sabatini, an Investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, and his lab at the Whitehead Institute study the basic mechanisms that regulate cell growth, the process whereby cells and organisms accumulate biomass and increase in size.
Raze's Scientific Advisory Board includes our three scientific founders, Keith Flaherty, MD and Michael Gilman, PhD. Dr. Flaherty is the director of the Henri and Belinda Termeer Center for Targeted Therapies at the Massachusetts General Cancer Center and Associate Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School. His research and clinical focus is on therapies for melanoma, with a particular expertise in targeted therapies. Dr. Gilman is a scientist, biotech executive, and entrepreneur, currently serving as a Venture Partner at Atlas Venture and Chief Executive Officer of Padlock Therapeutics. He was instrumental to Raze's formation. Additionally, Adam Friedman, MD, PhD, an Atlas EIR and a Raze co-Founder, is joining Raze as Director of Corporate Development.
About Mitochondrial One-Carbon (1C) Metabolism
The function of mitochondrial one-carbon (1C) metabolism is to drive rapid biomass accumulation. Through selective aberrant expression or genetic mutations, cancer cells activate these pathways to form aggressive tumors. Prior to newly elucidated discoveries about 1C metabolism by Raze's founders, the central role of these pathways in cancer growth was unappreciated, and 1C metabolism was not specifically targeted for cancer drug development. The new insights by Raze's founders have led to the identification of targets in 1C metabolism that are highly specific to tumors and when inhibited selectively halt anabolic processes and the ability of tumors to accumulate biomass, offering the promise of targeted new cancer drugs.
About Raze Therapeutics
Raze Therapeutics is dedicated to the discovery and development of a new class of oncology therapeutics that target fundamental metabolic pathways essential to cancer growth and survival. By selectively targeting one-carbon (1C) metabolism using its proprietary platform, Raze is developing a pipeline of 1C metabolism therapeutics across a range of solid and hematologic cancers, including genetically-defined cancers. Raze is led by an experienced management team with a proven track record for building successful biotech companies and recognized scientific leaders in metabolism and cancer biology. The company was founded by Atlas Venture as a seed company and is funded by leading financial and corporate investors, including Atlas Venture, MPM Capital, MS Ventures, Partners Innovation Fund, Astellas Venture Management, and Novartis. For more information please visit the company's website at: www.razetx.com or follow on Twitter at @RazeTx.