Boston-headquartered startup Jnana Therapeutics has raised $50 million in Series B funding led by RA Capital Management. Other investors who participated in this funding round such as Polaris Partners, Avalon Ventures, Versant Ventures, AbbVie Ventures, and Pfizer Ventures.
Founded by globally renowned scientists and backed by influential life science investors, the startup aims to develop the best treatments for all types of autoimmune, neurological, and metabolic diseases. Based on chemical proteins, Jnana focuses on SLC transporters and other difficult-to-use drugs.
Ph.D., Co-Founder, CEO and President of Jnana Therapeutics Joanne Kotz asserts that Jnana is providing a different and more effective approach to PKU with its use of small molecule-based oral treatments. It was identified through the RAPID platform and can now be used as a treatment for PKU patients. This new approach will help reduce blood phenylalanine levels by inhibiting the SLC transporter SLV6A19 which is responsible for the reabsorption of phenylalanine in the kidney.
PKU is an inherited metabolic disorder that is caused by the lack of the enzyme phenylalanine hydroxylase (PAH). This enzyme is necessary to break down phenylalanine, which can be found in protein-containing foods. When PAH levels are problematic, Phe will reach abnormally high levels in the blood and lead to neurological deterioration or more serious complications if not treated properly.
Principal at RA Capital and member of the Board of Directors of Jnana, Dr. Matthew Hammond expressed his belief in Jnana’s direction as at present, the company is a leader in the field of small molecule drugs, especially the SLC transporter which is seen as a drug with potential benefits but challenges in research.
The new funding will be used to move the startup’s phenylketonuria (PKU) treatment plan to clinical development, promote other programs and continue to invest in its RAPID platform, which researches treatments with small-molecule materials for difficult withdrawal cases.