Healthcare Industry News: Third Rock Ventures
News Release - April 29, 2008
Constellation Pharmaceuticals Closes $32 Million in Series A FundingCompany Founded by Pioneers in Emerging Field of Epigenetics
CAMBRIDGE, Mass.--(HSMN NewsFeed)--Constellation Pharmaceuticals, the first biopharmaceutical company focused on discovering and developing novel drugs targeting selective regulators of epigenetic function, today announced that it has closed a $32 million Series A financing. Proceeds from the financing will be used to establish the discovery platform and accelerate the development of a preclinical candidate pipeline of epigenetic-targeted drugs.
Third Rock Ventures, The Column Group and Venrock co-led the round. Constellation Pharmaceuticals was founded by three of the foremost authorities and leaders within the field of Epigenetics: Danny Reinberg, Ph.D, Professor of Biochemistry at the New York University School of Medicine and an Investigator of the Howard Hughes Institute; Yang Shi, Ph.D., Professor of Pathology at the Harvard Medical School and David Allis, Ph.D., Professor and Head of the Laboratory of Chromatin Biology at The Rockefeller University.
Epigenetics is an exciting new field of biology that involves chemical modifications of both DNA and of its packaging proteins, which are collectively called the ‘epigenome.’ The genome, or DNA, is the “blueprint” for the human body, consisting of thousands of genes, which are the fundamental units of information necessary for normal cell growth and development. In contrast, the epigenome plays a critical role in regulating the expression of genes, that is, switching genes on or off – or in the case of disease, for switching genes on or off incorrectly. This new field of Epigenetic science provides the opportunity to create a broad new class of human therapeutics targeting selective regulators of epigenetic function.
Constellation Pharmaceuticals is developing a deep pipeline of preclinical drug candidates based on the unique insights of the founders and scientific advisory board. The Company’s initial focus is modulating epigenetic function, particularly histone modification, to discover and develop novel drugs for oncology. Constellation’s technology platform is also applicable to other therapeutic areas including autoimmune, inflammatory and neurological diseases.
Constellation’s Board of Directors include: Anthony Evnin, Partner, Venrock; David Goeddel, Ph.D., Partner, The Column Group; Mark Levin, Partner, Third Rock Ventures; Tom Maniatis, Ph.D., Professor, Harvard University; and, Bob Tepper, M.D., Partner, Third Rock Ventures.
“Through Epigenetics, which represents a breakthrough in our understanding of biology at an entirely new level, at the interface between DNA and gene expression, we believe there is an unprecedented opportunity to create a novel class of drugs that will target gene function in a completely new and enhanced way,” said Mark Levin, interim Chief Executive Officer, Constellation Pharmaceuticals and Partner, Third Rock Ventures. “As the first company dedicated to the development of novel therapeutics in the field of Epigenetics, we are delighted to leverage our founders’ unparalleled knowledge base into this newly developing and highly exciting field of biology to create breakthrough drugs for patients.”
“The new discoveries in the field of Epigenetics, particularly in the area of histone lysine methyltransferases and demethylases, have demonstrated a tremendous potential to target and treat many devastating human diseases in a fundamental way,” said Yang Shi, Ph.D., Founder, Constellation Pharmaceuticals and Professor of Pathology at the Harvard Medical School.
“As the genome captured the interest and imagination of the scientific community to identify new, breakthrough therapeutics, the epigenome provides an entirely new class of targets for the development of a novel class of therapeutics with the potential to dramatically improve the way diseases are treated,” said David Allis, Ph.D., Founder, Constellation Pharmaceuticals and Head of the Laboratory of Chromatin Biology at The Rockefeller University.
“I am delighted to join my esteemed colleagues in this exciting new venture, and to have the opportunity to work with an experienced and proven management team and outstanding scientific advisory board, with the goal of rapidly advancing and translating this new and exciting field of science into a new class of medicines,” said Danny Reinberg, Ph.D., Founder, Constellation Pharmaceuticals and Professor of Biochemistry at the New York University School of Medicine and an Investigator at the Howard Hughes Institute.
Also supporting the Company’s efforts is a Scientific Advisory Board featuring some of the most renowned scientific experts within the field of Epigenetics and oncology, including; Julian Adams, Ph.D., Chief Scientific Officer, Infinity Pharmaceuticals; Xiaodong Cheng, Ph.D., Professor, Emory University; Thomas Jenuwein, Ph.D., Director, Max Planck Institute; Rick Klausner, M.D., Managing Partner, The Column Group and former Director of the National Cancer Institute; Arnold Levine, Ph.D., Professor, Institute of Advanced Study; David Livingston, M.D., Deputy Director, Dana Farber/Harvard Cancer Institute; Scott Lowe, Ph.D., Professor, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory; and, Robert Tjian, Ph.D., Professor, University of California at Berkeley.
About Constellation Pharmaceuticals
Constellation Pharmaceuticals is the first biopharmaceutical company dedicated to the development of novel therapeutics in the emerging field of Epigenetics, a new field of science which is focused on selective regulators of epigenetic function, which are critical to controlling gene function and expression. Constellation’s primary focus is in oncology, but the company’s platform will also be applicable to other therapeutic areas including autoimmune, inflammatory and neurological diseases. The Company’s founders represent the core thought leaders in Epigenetics, responsible for key advances, insights and discoveries in the field. Constellation Pharmaceuticals is located in Cambridge, Massachusetts. For more information, please visit the company's website at www.constellationpharma.com.
Source: Constellation Pharmaceuticals
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