Reaching more than $140 million in total to date, Repare Therapeutics completed an $82.5 Series B financing with the aim of pushing two of its synthetic lethality targeted therapeutics (RP-3500 and “Manchester”) into early clinical studies. Cowen Healthcare Investments led the financing and was joined by OrbiMed, Redmile, BVF Partners L.P. and Logos Capital for this latest round. Founding investor Versant Ventures and existing investors MPM Capital, Fonds de solidarité FTQ, and BDC Capital also participated. The company’s June 2017 Series A round was co-led by Versant and MPM. In connection with this investment, Kevin Raidy, managing partner, Cowen Healthcare Investments, and David Bonita, M.D., partner, OrbiMed, will join Repare’s Board of Directors.
“We are pleased to include this exceptional group of new investors along with our strong existing group of shareholders to continue building Repare’s leading position in synthetic lethality and DNA damage repair precision oncology treatments,” said Lloyd M. Segal, president and CEO of Repare.
Repare Therapeutics is pioneering synthetic lethality to develop novel therapeutics targeting specific tumor vulnerabilities in genetically defined patient populations. The company’s initial focus is on novel targeted therapies in cancer types harboring defective DNA-damage response (DDR)- or genome instability-related functions. The core concept of synthetic lethality is that while tumors can tolerate individual defects in DNA, there are combinations of defects that create unique cellular vulnerabilities which, when identified, present opportunities for precisely targeted cancer therapeutics.
With this financing, Repare emerges from Versant’s Discovery Engines after an 18-month stealth period during which the company advanced its leading CRISPR-enabled synthetic lethality drug discovery platform, identified several promising oncology targets, and moved multiple programs into preclinical development. The rest of the company’s pipeline is still in the screening or lead generation phase.
The proceeds of this financing will be used to push its most advanced product, the ATR inhibitor RP-3500, into the clinic in 2020. Repare will also advance “Manchester”, an undisclosed CCNE1 synthetic lethal targeted therapy, in the subsequent two to three quarters. The company plans to continue progressing its pipeline of synthetic lethal, DNA damage repair programs, including its Polθ program, which was recently partnered with ONO Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd. in Japan and selected territories in Asia.
Repare has a 20-member team based in Montreal and Boston. To further guide this investment both Jerel Davis, Ph.D., managing director at Versant, and Todd Foley, managing director at MPM Capital, will join Repare’s board of directors. “The fields of synthetic lethality and DNA repair have a rich, 20-year history and are poised to deliver impactful new cancer treatments,” said Davis. “We are impressed by the speed and precision with which Repare, in collaboration with its founders and scientific advisors, generated impressive insights and multiple novel targets.”
Synthetic lethality is likely to become a more active field in the future. Using next-generation sequencing, scientists can identify hundreds of tumor-specific mutations and alterations in gene expression that could be targeted by synthetic lethality. In addition, the CRISPr-Cas9 technology finally provides a robust platform for screening genetic networks for synthetic lethal interaction phenotypes. That development has renewed interest in identifying synthetic lethal effects related to cancers.