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Biopharmaceuticals Venture Capital

 News Release - October 23, 2014

Quartet Medicine Launches with $17 Million Series A Financing

Company to explore broad applications for modulators of tetrahydrobiopterin (BH4) synthesis in the treatment of chronic pain and inflammation

CAMBRIDGE, Mass.--(Healthcare Sales & Marketing Network)--Quartet Medicine, a biotechnology company focused on the development of novel treatments for chronic pain and inflammation, today announced the company raised $17 million in a Series A financing.

The financing was led by Atlas Venture with Novartis Venture Funds, Pfizer Venture Investment and Partners Innovation Fund joining the funding round. Quartet plans to use the funding to advance its lead program targeting the modulation of tetrahydrobiopterin (BH4) synthesis through human proof-of-concept studies. Henry Skinner from Novartis Venture Funds joined Quartet’s board of directors.

“Atlas Venture is proud to be leading this strong syndicate of investors after providing seed capital to support the formation of Quartet and to achieve early target validation,” said Bruce Booth, D.Phil., chairman of Quartet and partner at Atlas Venture. “We are capitalizing on recent advances in human genetics that are revealing new mechanisms and, ultimately, novel targets for drug discovery and development in the challenging and underserved therapeutic area of chronic pain.”

Quartet was co-founded in late 2013 by Kevin Pojasek, Ph.D. while working as an entrepreneur-in-residence at Atlas Venture along with Clifford Woolf, M.D., Ph.D., of Harvard Medical School and Boston Children’s Hospital and Kai Johnsson, Ph.D., of École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) based on insights from both academic groups into BH4’s role in chronic pain and inflammation.

“Human genetics and clinical biomarker data implicate a role for BH4 pathway up-regulation in neuronal excitability and on immune cell activity after nerve injury,” said Dr. Woolf. “New treatments that safely restore BH4 levels at the nexus of the peripheral nervous system and the immune system have potential to address the tremendous unmet need faced by patients with chronic pain.”

Up-regulation of the BH4 synthesis pathway in response to injury or inflammation increases cellular levels of BH4, an important CoFactor for several classes of enzymes, resulting in neuronal hypersensitivity and chronic immune cell activation. Multiple human genetic studies have linked a haplotype in the gene encoding GTP cyclohydrolase I, a BH4 synthetic enzyme, to a reduced risk of developing chronic pain after nerve injury or chronic disease. Pharmacological modulation of either GTP cyclohydrolase I or sepiapterin reductase, another enzyme in the BH4 synthesis pathway, safely restores BH4 to normal levels leading to an improvement of pain symptoms in preclinical models.

“Quartet’s focus on a BH4 biomarker-driven strategy will help aid the challenging translation of preclinical pain programs into human clinical trials,” said Dr. Pojasek, Quartet’s President and acting Chief Executive Officer. “The Series A capital will help us build on preclinical and clinical data linking BH4 to chronic pain and inflammation as we work toward our near-term goal of declaring a development candidate for our lead program in 2015.”

About Quartet Medicine

Quartet Medicine is a private, biotechnology company focused on discovering and developing novel treatments for chronic pain and inflammation. Human genetics and preclinical target validation data point to increased tetrahydrobiopterin (BH4) as a critical mediator of peripheral nerve dysfunction and immune cell regulation. Quartet is capitalizing on these insights by safely restoring BH4 homeostasis in neuronal and inflammatory cells.

Quartet was founded by scientists at Boston Children’s Hospital and École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) in Switzerland in conjunction with Atlas Venture. Quartet’s Series A investors included Atlas Venture, Novartis Venture Funds, Pfizer Venture Investments and Partners Innovation Fund. The company is based in Cambridge, Massachusetts and has research efforts underway with collaborators in Europe and Asia. For more information, visit www.quartetmedicine.com.

About Atlas Venture

Atlas Venture is a leading early-stage international venture capital firm that invests in technology and life sciences businesses. Since inception in 1980, its partners have helped build over 350 companies in more than 16 different countries. Atlas Venture is currently investing from its ninth fund which closed in May 2013. For more information, visit www.atlasventure.com.


Source: Quartet Medicine

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