|[June 19, 2014]
Navitor Pharmaceuticals Launches with $23.5 Million Series A Financing for Novel Drug Discovery Targeting Cellular Nutrient Signaling to Treat Chronic Diseases and Rare Disorders
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. --(Business Wire)--
Pharmaceuticals, Inc., a biopharmaceutical company developing novel
medicines by targeting cellular nutrient signaling, today announced a
$23.5 million Series A financing.
Proceeds from the financing will be used to augment Navitor's
proprietary drug discovery platform and accelerate the development of a
pipeline of novel drugs that target cellular nutrient signaling via the
mTORC1 pathway to address a wide range of diseases, including metabolic,
neurodegenerative, autoimmune and musculoskeletal diseases, as well as
several rare disorders. Investors in the Series A financing include
Polaris Partners, Atlas Venture, Johnson & Johnson Development
Corporation, SR One and The Longevity Fund.
"With a proprietary platform and a world-class scientific team, Navitor
is uniquely positioned to target newly discovered nutrient signaling
mechanisms that drive protein synthesis and cellular growth. We are
harnessing this approach to develop novel therapeutics to treat a wide
range of chronic diseases and rare disorders," said George P. Vlasuk,
PhD, President and Chief Executive Officer of Navitor.
Navitor's proprietary drug discovery platform is designed to develop
first-in-class selective modulators of mTORC1, which control the cell's
central signaling in response to nutrient availability, particularly
amino acids. The selective modulation of mTORC1 offers a new and
targeted approach to create new medicines for a variety of clinical
indications and to significantly expand the therapeutic potential of a
clinically validated pathway.
Navitor's scientific founder, David M. Sabatini, MD, PhD, Professor of
Biology at MIT (News - Alert), Member of the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical
Research, and Investigator at Howard Hughes Medical Institute, has led
groundbreaking research in the molecular regulation of the mTORC1
pathway, and his discoveries are seminal contributions to the field of
cellular nutrient signaling. The company has exclusive access from the
Whitehead Institute to fundamental intellectual property from Dr.
Sabatini's laboratory relating to nutrient sensing via the mTORC1
pathway for use in pharmaceutical and other applications.
The Series A financing will enable the expansion of Navitor's drug
discovery platform, including he further development of the company's
proprietary technologies, tools and assays to address the complexity of
the mTORC1 pathway. Depending on the targeted disease, the company's
novel therapeutics have the potential to either "turn up" or "turn down"
nutrient-responsive cellular pathways to restore normal mTORC1 function.
By selectively targeting aberrant cellular nutrient signaling mediated
by the mTORC1 pathway, Navitor is creating a new class of therapeutics
designed to rebalance these signals to restore normal function and
address the underlying biology of multiple diseases.
"Navitor represents a rare convergence of innovative science,
world-class scientific advisors, and an experienced team with the
potential to create significant value based on breakthrough science,"
said Alan Crane, Founder and Chairman of Navitor and a Partner at
Polaris Partners. "We are excited to be a part of building a
biopharmaceutical company with the potential to offer new approaches to
treat a wide range of important diseases and have a significant impact
Also supporting Navitor's drug discovery endeavors is a Scientific
Advisory Board featuring some of the most renowned scientific experts
within the fields of mTOR biology and drug discovery, including David
Sabatini, Navitor's scientific founder; Brian Hubbard, PhD, Director of
the Therapeutic Projects Group at The Broad Institute; Thomas Hughes (News - Alert),
PhD, CEO of Zafgen; Brendan Manning, PhD, Professor of Genetics and
Complex Diseases, Harvard School of Public Health; Blake Rasmussen, PhD,
Professor and Chair, Department of Nutrition and Metabolism at the
University of Texas Medical Branch; and James Tobin, PhD, VP of
Cardiovascular and Metabolism Scientific Innovation at Johnson & Johnson
Innovation LLC. The Scientific Advisory Board has evolved and expanded
to reflect Navitor's focus and know-how regarding the mTOR pathway,
which is an outgrowth of the company's founding and seed stage as
About the mTORC1 Pathway
The mTOR kinase exists in two multi-protein complexes within the cell,
called mTORC1 and mTORC2. Both complexes are critical signaling nodes
that regulate multiple cellular functions including metabolism, growth
and response to changes in the cell's environment. mTORC1 is primarily
responsible for the cell's response to nutrient availability,
specifically amino acids, resulting in increased or reduced cell growth.
The key role of mTORC1 in nutrient signaling makes it central to many
disease processes and thus a key target for the development of new
therapeutic agents targeting nutrient signaling pathways. The challenge,
however, has been the selective targeting of mTORC1 since currently
marketed drugs targeting the mTOR kinase do not distinguish between
mTORC1 and mTORC2. This lack of selectivity has led to undesirable side
effects observed with chronic drug administration that inhibits the
function of mTORC2 in maintaining cellular health and mediating the
response to important growth factors such as insulin. Navitor is
leveraging a proprietary biological understanding of cellular nutrient
signaling pathways to develop selective modulators of mTORC1 activity as
a new approach to significantly expand the therapeutic potential of the
clinically validated mTOR pathway to address underserved diseases.
Pharmaceuticals, Inc., is a biopharmaceutical company developing
novel medicines by targeting cellular nutrient signaling pathways. The
company's proprietary drug discovery platform targets mTORC1, which
responds to and integrates the cell's response to nutrient availability
and plays a key role in protein synthesis and cellular growth. Navitor's
therapeutics are designed to selectively modulate the cellular signals
that are aberrant in disease processes caused by the dysregulation of
mTORC1 activity to address a wide range of diseases, including
metabolic, neurodegenerative, autoimmune and musculoskeletal diseases,
as well as several rare disorders. The company's founding intellectual
property is based on the groundbreaking discoveries related to the
mTORC1 pathway and nutrient signaling mechanisms by Dr. David Sabatini
at The Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research. The company is
backed by leading financial and corporate investors, including Polaris
Partners, Atlas Venture, Johnson & Johnson Development Corporation, SR
One and The Longevity Fund. For more information, please visit www.navitorpharma.com.
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