Mediar Raises $105 Million to Advance Portfolio of First-in-Class Therapies Targeting Fibrosis
March 15, 2023
Rare Daily Staff
Mediar Therapeutics, a biotechnology company advancing a portfolio of first-in-class therapies that halt and even reverse the course of fibrosis, said it has raised $105 million in financing, including a recent $85 million series A round to advance programs into clinical studies in 2024.
Novartis Venture Fund and Sofinnova Partners led the series A round with participation from Pfizer Ventures, Mission BioCapital, Gimv, Pureos, Bristol Myers Squibb, Eli Lilly & Company, Ono Venture Investment and Mass General Brigham Ventures.
Mediar was founded on pioneering fibrosis research from Mass General and Brigham and Women’s Hospitals in partnership with Mass General Brigham Ventures with the goal to transform the treatment of fibrotic disease by targeting the myofibroblast, the key cell type driving fibrosis progression.
The company is led by industry veterans CEO Rahul Ballal and Chief Scientific Officer Paul Yaworsky. Ballal joins Mediar with nearly 20 years of experience in biotech and was most recently CEO of Imara, which recently merged with Enliven Therapeutics. Yaworsky joined Mediar in 2019 after a successful 21-year career at Pfizer, most recently serving as the COO of inflammation and immunology research.
Mediar’s portfolio comprises three novel targets that are readily detectible in blood and correlate to disease severity, enabling a de-risked approach to clinical development. The series A financing will support advancement of the company’s portfolio of first-in-class antibody treatments, which offer unique potential to address fibrosis at varying stages of the disease, with two programs advancing into human studies in 2024.
“We are applying a precision approach to our fibrosis programs to improve the odds of success in human proof-of-concept studies and identify the right patients for each therapy,” said Ballal. “The support of this broad syndicate of investors enables us to leverage our deep insights into fibrosis pathology and drive meaningful clinical impact in the treatment landscape.”
Fibrosis contributes to 45 percent of deaths in the industrialized world and is among the most complicated chronic pathologies due to an expansive and complex network of interwoven biological pathways. Current therapeutic approaches mainly focus on the initiators of fibrosis that modulate the underlying immune responses known to drive disease onset. However, the pursuit of these initiators may disrupt related pro-inflammatory pathways that defend the body against illness and can lead to treatment-limiting safety concerns. Mediar is focused on targeting fibrotic mediators that drive disease progression and potentially avoid the limitations of current approaches. Rare diseases such as idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis and primary sclerosing cholangitis could be among the first targets for demonstrating proof of concept before the company advances to more chronic indications.
“We are particularly excited about our lead WISP-1 program, which is near candidate selection and has advanced largely through investigations in primary human preclinical systems,” said Yaworsky. “We are also progressing promising leads from our two other first-in-class portfolio programs into preclinical in vivo proof-of-concept studies.”
Photo: Rahul Ballal, CEO of Mediar
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