BOSTON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--ROME Therapeutics, a biotechnology company harnessing the power of the dark genome to develop breakthrough medicines for serious diseases, today announced the completion of an oversubscribed $72 million Series B extension financing, bringing the total Series B amount raised to $149 million. The financing expands ROME’s investor syndicate to include new investors Johnson & Johnson Innovation-JJDC, Bristol Myers Squibb, Eurofarma Ventures, Luma Group, Mirae Asset Capital, and family offices Raycap and Sigmas Group. Existing investors ARCH Ventures, GV, Section 32, Sanofi Ventures, Andreessen Horowitz, Mass General Brigham Ventures, Casdin Capital, and Alexandria Venture Investments also participated in the round.
“We’re proud to have strong support from such high-quality investors, including strategic investment funds from four pharmaceutical companies whose participation demonstrates significant industry interest in the breakthrough potential of our lead development candidate in autoimmune disease and our platform architected to unlock the dark genome for drug discovery and development,” said Rosana Kapeller, M.D., Ph.D., President, Chief Executive Officer and Co-founder of ROME. “The capital from this raise enables us to progress our lead program into clinical trials and advance our pipeline and platform — collectively demonstrating the ability to translate our unique understanding of the dark genome, specifically the viral-like elements within it, into transformative therapies.”
ROME plans to use the funds raised in the Series B extension to advance its drug candidate, an inhibitor of LINE-1 reverse transcriptase (RT), through early clinical trials, including Phase 1 studies to evaluate safety and determine optimal dose, and additional studies designed to show proof of mechanism. LINE-1 RT is a viral-like protein encoded by the LINE-1 element, whose activity triggers innate immune responses that contribute to the development of autoimmune diseases. LINE-1 RT is expressed in diseased, but not healthy, cells and therefore LINE-1 RT inhibitors may block pathogenic inflammation without compromising response to infection. ROME plans to develop the drug candidate for a number of serious autoimmune conditions, including lupus, in which LINE-1 is aberrantly expressed.
ROME also plans to continue advancing both its early pipeline and its proprietary data science platform that allows the company to identify functionally active repeat elements and assess their roles in disease. Using this platform, ROME is progressing several additional programs that are first-in-class therapeutic opportunities for autoimmune disease, cancer, and neurodegeneration. The platform is also informing ROME’s clinical trial design and providing insights to support patient selection in future clinical trials.
“The significant interest in this fundraise, particularly given the challenges of the current financing environment, is testament to the ROME team, science, and opportunities,” said Jeff Hatfield, Chair of ROME’s Board of Directors. “We’re delighted to have attracted both premier venture capital groups as well as industry-leading strategic pharma investment groups to join us in charting ROME’s next chapter as a clinical-stage company.”
About ROME Therapeutics
ROME Therapeutics is developing novel therapies for a range of serious diseases, including autoimmune disease, cancer, and neurodegeneration, by illuminating the role of the dark genome — the vast genomic expanse beyond the traditional genes, which includes viral-like repetitive elements and non-coding sequences — in human health and disease. Leveraging the company’s unprecedented data sciences platform, ROME has built a deep pipeline of therapies targeting the dark genome. To lead this exploration, ROME has assembled a team of world-class leaders in drug discovery and development across immunology, oncology, chemistry, and machine learning. ROME is based in Boston, Mass. For more information, please visit www.rometx.com.