Rare Daily Staff

Canadian biotech Chinook Therapeutics said it raised $65 million in a series A financing to discover and develop precision medicines for rare kidney diseases.

Founding investor Versant Ventures led the round with participation by fellow founding investor Apple Tree Partners and new investor Samsara BioCapital.

“Kidney diseases are a severe and growing problem worldwide, with a lack of effective treatments for patients often leading to dialysis, transplantation and high costs to healthcare systems,” said Eric Dobmeier, president and CEO of Chinook. “Drug development in kidney diseases is experiencing a resurgence due to greater understanding of disease biology, utilization of novel translational platforms and patient stratification tools, and emergence of accelerated regulatory pathways based on surrogate endpoints.”

Chinook will apply its proprietary discovery platform, which leverages single cell RNA sequencing, human-derived organoids and new translational models, to discover and develop therapeutics with novel mechanisms of action against key kidney disease pathways. The company’s lead candidates are focused on rare, severe disorders with defined and rapid clinical development pathways. The funding will be used to advance these rare kidney disease programs into clinical trials by 2021. These programs may also have utility in more common kidney diseases, expanding the potential patient populations.

Chinook was incubated through Versant’s Inception Sciences discovery engine in Vancouver and seeded by Versant and Apple Tree Partners. The company is led by an experienced management team with track records of successful drug development and company building.

The team includes to Dobmeier, whose 20 years of industry experience includes more than 15 years at Seattle Genetics; Andrew King, head of renal discovery and translational medicine, who has spent more than 10 years leading research and drug development in kidney diseases at Ardelyx and AbbVie;  and Tom Frohlich, chief business officer, who as vice president of business development at Arbutus Biopharma and whose experience includes stints at Johnson & Johnson and Merck.

Photo: Eric Dobmeier, president and CEO of Chinook

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