Chinook Therapeutics raises $65M – will use single-cell RNA-Seq to discover and develop new drugs for kidney disease

Chinook Therapeutics, Inc. today announced a $65 million Series A financing to discover and develop precision medicines for kidney diseases. Founding investor Versant Ventures led the round with participation by fellow founding investor Apple Tree Partners and new investor Samsara BioCapital. The Series A proceeds will fund the advancement of several kidney disease programs into clinical trials by 2021.

“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 chief executive officer 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. These dynamics combine to create very attractive opportunities for Chinook to develop a portfolio of precision medicines for kidney diseases.”

Chinook is applying 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. 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. This world-class discovery and research team, with a history of successful drug development, integrating chemistry, biology, and pharmacology expertise, has joined Chinook to work on expanding a pipeline of precision medicines for kidney diseases.

Chinook is the latest company launched from Versant’s Inception Sciences drug-hunting team, and is joined by experienced management and a strong investor syndicate to build a leading company in the kidney disease space,” said Jerel Davis, Ph.D., managing director at Versant and a member of the Chinook Board of Directors. “We have great confidence that Chinook can seize opportunities created by new biological insights, technology advancements, and receptive regulatory agencies, to discover and develop new therapies for kidney diseases.”

Chinook is building a robust network of world-leading scientific advisors with expertise in severe, rare kidney diseases and a variety of discovery and translational platform capabilities. The company’s scientific advisory board is chaired by its academic co-founder, Dr. Benjamin Humphreys, M.D., Ph.D., chief of the division of nephrology at Washington University, who brings deep nephrology knowledge and single cell RNA sequencing expertise.

“We’ve brought together an unparalleled group of advisors to work with Chinook’s highly experienced research and development team to translate scientific insights that reveal the underlying biology of kidney diseases into novel therapies for patients,” said Dr. Humphreys.

Source – PR Newswire

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