Violet Therapeutics raises $10.6 million in seed funding led by the Dementia Discovery Fund (through DDF-2) and co-led by UTEC (University of Tokyo Edge Capital Partners) and Mass General Brigham Ventures (MGBV)
Cambridge, MA – May 31st, 2023 – Violet Therapeutics, Inc. (‘Violet’), a therapeutics company utilizing novel proprietary platforms for the identification of cell-cell interaction mechanisms, announces the successful closing of a $10.6 million seed funding round. The round was led by the Dementia Discovery Fund (DDF), making its first investment from its latest fund – the Dementia Discovery Fund 2 (DDF-2) – and co-led by UTEC (University of Tokyo Edge Capital Partners), and was joined by founding investor Mass General Brigham Ventures (MGBV) and Ono Venture Investment.
Violet was founded in 2021 by Mass General Brigham Ventures in collaboration with entrepreneurs and scientists from Brigham and Women’s Hospital including Dr. Francisco J. Quintana, around novel neuroscience targets and multiple first-in-class target discovery platforms to identify, map and mine the cellular connectome at scale.
One of Violet’s discovery platforms, RABID-Seq, uses barcoded viral tracing to provide insights into cell–cell interactions at single-cell resolution. The scientific basis of this approach was published in Science magazine by Dr. Quintana and co-authors in 20211.
Violet is currently advancing a lead and first-of-its-kind program targeting neuroinflammation, which is being investigated for multiple neurodegenerative indications, including Alzheimer’s disease.
Francisco J. Quintana, PhD, Professor of Neurology at the Center for Neurologic Diseases at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School, and an Associate Member at the Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT, and Violet co-founder, commented: “Our novel platforms for the study of cell-cell interactions provide unique and novel insights into disease biology, identifying new therapeutic targets in multiple disease areas spanning neurodegeneration, as well as inflammation and oncology. Violet’s initial drug discovery programs will focus on diseases affecting the Central Nervous System (CNS).”
Jonathan Behr, PhD, Partner at the DDF, said: “The investment in Violet Therapeutics marks the first from our new fund generation, DDF-2. Finding effective treatments for dementia remains one of the greatest unmet medical challenges. We are impressed with the innovative approach that Violet has developed as it takes on this challenge, and re proud to support the company as it seeks to identify and develop effective therapeutics for diseases including dementias such as Alzheimer’s disease.”
Atsushi Usami, PhD, Partner and Board Director at the UTEC, added: “It is a great privilege to collaborate with Violet, a company dedicated to developing innovative solutions for drug discovery, particularly for diseases like neurodegenerative conditions with significant unmet medical needs. We firmly believe that Violet's groundbreaking technologies will facilitate the exploration of new drugs by identifying novel target molecules and mechanisms that have yet to be discovered.’’
About the Dementia Discovery Fund
For more information about the DDF please contact:
About UTEC (University of Tokyo Edge Capital Partners)
The University of Tokyo Edge Capital Partners (UTEC) is one of the largest Japanese venture capital firms focused on seed and early-stage deep tech startups. UTEC has strong connections with the University of Tokyo and other academic institutions. UTEC invests in startups that leverage science and technology to address global challenges. In 2021, UTEC established its latest fund, UTEC 5 Limited Partnership, with a commitment of over JPY 30 billion ($220 million), bringing the total funds managed to nearly JPY 85 billion ($620 million). Since its establishment in 2004, UTEC has invested in over 150 startups globally, spanning Japan, the US, Europe, Southeast Asia, and India. Among these, 19 companies have gone public, such as PeptiDream (listed on TSE in June 2013) and 908 Devices (listed on Nasdaq in December 2020), while 20 others have achieved significant exits, primarily through M&A transactions. Examples include Repertoire Genesis (acquired by Eurofins Scientific SE in May 2022) and OriCiro Genomics (acquired by Moderna, Inc. in February 2023). For more information, please visit www.ut-ec.co.jp/english/.
About Mass General Brigham Ventures
For more information please contact:
1 Iain C. Clark et al., Barcoded viral tracing of single-cell interactions in central nervous system inflammation. Science 372, eabf1230 (2021).
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