A venture capital firm is starting a new company that will investigate potential drugs that target what it calls an unexplored area of cell biology.
Cambridge, Massachusetts-based Dewpoint Therapeutics said Wednesday that it had received a $60 million Series A round, led by founding investor Polaris Partners. Participants in the round also included Samsara BioCapital, 6 Dimensions Capital, EcoR1 Capital, Alexandria Venture Investments and Leaps by Bayer.
The company will focus on drug discovery involving biomolecular condensates, a type of organelle inside cells that do not have membranes but take advantage of intrinsically disordered regions of proteins to organize certain proteins and nucleic acids in cells. The condensates bring proteins and nucleic acids together in high concentrations to enhance the chemical reactions that cells depend on to live. While they have been known among scientists for a long time, biomolecular condensates have been difficult to analyze using traditional drug discovery methods like protein crystallography and biochemical activity assays, making them understudied.
The company’s approach stems from research done on biomolecular condensates by founders Anthony Hyman, of the Max Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics in Dresden, Germany, and Richard Young of the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Dewpoint is the second company in two months launched by a venture capital firm with a goal of exploring a new kind of drug target. In December, Versant Ventures was the exclusive investor in a $20 million Series A funding round that launched Black Diamond Therapeutics. Black Diamond’s approach focuses on allosteric mutations in cancers, which are oncogenic proteins that are activated and become oncogenic because they occur outside traditional drug sites. The company is planning to file an Investigational New Drug application with the Food and Drug Administration for a drug that targets allosteric HER2 at the end of this year, followed by one that targets allosteric EGFR mutations in the first half of 2020.
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