4BIO Capital Portfolio Company Entact Bio Launches with $81 Million Series A to Develop Precision Medicines for Targeted Protein Enhancement
Company’s proprietary end-to-end Encompass™ platform designs enhancement-targeting chimeric (ENTAC™) molecules
Founding team comprised of world-class scientific leaders
Series A follows initial seed investment from 4BIO Capital and Arkin Bio Ventures
London & Watertown, MA, 6 December 2022 – 4BIO Capital (“4BIO” or “the Group”), an international venture capital firm unlocking the treatments of the future by investing in advanced therapies and other emerging technologies, today announces that its portfolio company Entact Bio has raised $81 million in Series A financing to advance its proprietary Encompass™ platform for developing enhancement-targeting chimeric (ENTAC™) molecules. The Series A financing follows an initial seed investment from 4BIO Capital and Arkin Bio Ventures who supported and incubated the company.
The round was co-led by Qiming Venture Partners USA and venBio Partners, with participation by new investors Abingworth, Brandon Capital, Janus Henderson Investors, Logos Capital, Surveyor Capital (a Citadel company) and WEHI (Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research) and founding investors 4BIO Capital and Arkin Bio Ventures.
With broad utility across disease types, ENTACs have significant potential to expand the druggable space and address unmet medical needs. Many diseases occur when there is a functional problem with a beneficial protein that is critical to cell health. These illnesses are challenging to treat with conventional small molecules, which are typically designed to inhibit proteins that are contributing to disease rather than to enhance the function of beneficial proteins.
Owen Smith, Partner at 4BIO Capital and Board Director at Entact Bio, commented: “Since our initial seed investment, we have been blown away by the potential of ENTACs to radically change therapeutic development. Until now, the focus has been on dampening down faulty proteins rather than dialling up beneficial ones and Entact’s approach therefore allows us to target indications we were never able to before. We are proud to have been able to support the company through to this important milestone and help it attract such a high-quality syndicate of international investors. We look forward to continuing to support the company in its mission to address countless unmet patient needs.”
ENTACs enhance protein function by harnessing the power of enzymes called deubiquitinases, or DUBs, which are key regulators of proteins in the cell. Acting as molecular matchmakers, ENTACs bring together beneficial target proteins with DUBs. The DUBs, in turn, selectively shorten or remove chains of a molecule called ubiquitin that are attached to the target protein. Ubiquitin plays a broad role in protein function, so tailored removal of ubiquitin can enhance the function of the target protein. Whether the target protein is in short supply, is in the wrong place within the cell, or has suboptimal activity, an ENTAC can be engineered to recruit a DUB to fix the problem. By introducing each target to the right DUB, ENTACs enhance the function of these crucial proteins, ultimately restoring the cell’s health.
Entact’s proprietary end-to-end Encompass platform integrates powerful biological, chemical, and computational tools to efficiently identify disease targets amenable to ENTAC intervention, select an optimal DUB to address the specific target, and create specific ENTACs optimized to each specific target-DUB pair.
Entact is led by Chief Executive Officer Victoria Richon, a scientifically trained executive with 20 years of experience and expertise in company and team building, has a track record of discovering and developing novel therapies. Most recently, as founding president and CEO of Ribon Therapeutics, she led teams to develop multiple first-in-class drugs with novel mechanisms of action from inception to clinical testing.
The company’s founders bring together expertise in the varied areas collectively required to design ENTACs:
Sara Buhrlage, PhD, Associate Professor, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Harvard Medical School
Michael Clague, PhD, Professor of Molecular and Cellular Physiology, University of Liverpool
David Komander, PhD, Head of the Ubiquitin Signalling Division, WEHI
Jarrod Marto, PhD, Associate Professor, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Harvard Medical School
Ueli Nachbur, PhD, Scientist Entrepreneur, WEHI
David Sheppard, PhD, Director, Sheppard R&D Consultancy Ltd.
Sylvie Urbé, PhD, Professor of Molecular and Cellular Physiology, University of Liverpool
Victoria Richon, CEO of Entact Bio, said: “Our aim is to provide new options for patients by developing precision medicines that enhance the function of beneficial proteins rather than eliminating or blocking proteins that contribute to disease. To transform this vision into reality, we have built Encompass, a proprietary platform for creating therapeutics that harness the cell’s mechanism for enhancing protein function. These ENTAC medicines will make an important difference for patients whose needs aren't adequately met by today’s treatments.”
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About 4BIO Capital
4BIO Capital (“4BIO”) is an international venture capital firm focused on investing in advanced therapies, including genomic medicines and other emerging technologies, to unlock the treatments of the future. 4BIO’s objective is to invest in, support, and grow early-stage companies developing treatments in areas of high unmet medical need, with the ultimate goal of ensuring access to these potentially curative therapies for all patients. Specifically, it looks for viable, high-quality opportunities in cell and gene therapy, RNA-based therapy, targeted therapies, and the microbiome. The 4BIO team comprises leading advanced therapy scientists and experienced life science investors who have collectively published over 250 scientific articles in prestigious academic journals including Nature, The Lancet, Cell, and the New England Journal of Medicine. 4BIO has both an unrivalled network within the advanced therapy sector and a unique understanding of the criteria that define a successful investment opportunity in this space. For more information, connect with us on LinkedIn and Twitter @4biocapital and visit www.4biocapital.com.
About Entact Bio
Entact Bio is a preclinical stage biotechnology company developing a new class of drugs that enhance the function of beneficial proteins. Launched by a founding team deeply rooted in deubiquitinase (DUB) biochemistry, chemical biology, disease biology, and small-molecule drug development, Entact has designed its proprietary Encompass™ platform to create enhancement-targeting chimeric (ENTAC™) medicines. ENTACs harness the ability of DUBs to regulate proteins. By leveraging this natural cellular mechanism to enhance protein function, Entact is expanding the universe of treatable diseases.