Company Brings Together Leaders in Ubiquitin-Proteasome Research to Discover and Develop Small Molecules with Broad Therapeutic Potential
SAN FRANCISCO & BOSTON–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Third Rock Ventures and The Column Group today announced the launch of Nurix, Inc., a leader in discovering and developing therapies that modulate the ubiquitin proteasome system (UPS), with a $25.1 million Series B financing that follows a $6.2 million seed financing in 2012 led by the same investors. The UPS is a regulatory pathway that directs protein degradation, a function vital to the healthy life of a cell, and presents therapeutic opportunities in multiple disease areas, including oncology. By taking a structural approach to critical protein-protein interactions in the UPS that drive serious diseases, Nurix is reaching therapeutic targets previously inaccessible to small molecule drug discovery.
“Our understanding of the fundamental biology of the ubiquitin proteasome system and its role in select cancers and other diseases has grown significantly and continues to expand rapidly,” said Mark A. Goldsmith, M.D., Ph.D., interim chief executive officer of Nurix and partner of Third Rock Ventures. “These advances have enabled Nurix to make breakthrough biological, structural and chemical discoveries, positioning us to discover and develop small molecules with the potential to make a dramatic difference for patients. By combining a high-resolution molecular understanding of the ubiquitin proteasome system with innovative approaches to modulating its components, Nurix is making important progress in unlocking disease targets that have largely eluded drug discovery efforts.”
Nurix was founded by internationally recognized experts in the UPS field:
- John Kuriyan, Ph.D., Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator and professor of molecular and cell biology and of chemistry, University of California, Berkeley, is an expert in the structural dynamics of ubiquitin ligases and other signaling complexes;
- Michael Rapé, Ph.D., Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator and professor of cell and developmental biology, University of California, Berkeley, is a leader in the biology of ubiquitin-dependent cell cycle progression and carcinogenesis; and,
- Arthur Weiss, M.D., Ph.D., Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator and Ephraim P. Engleman distinguished professor, University of California San Francisco, is a pioneer in immunology and signal transduction.
“Nurix’s platform approach is applicable to a wide array of targets within the ubiquitin proteasome system, and has the potential to enhance or inhibit protein degradation,” said Mark Gallop, Ph.D., chief scientific officer of Nurix. “This may allow us to promote the degradation of oncogenes or protect naturally occurring tumor suppressors from being destroyed in the cell. We believe the flexibility of this strategy combined with the ability to engineer high selectivity for specific ligase-substrate interactions makes this a powerful product engine with the potential to treat a number of serious diseases.”
Nurix’s founding management team brings deep scientific expertise and demonstrated success in drug discovery and development. Dr. Goldsmith was formerly chief executive officer and is currently chairman of Constellation Pharmaceuticals and has held a series of leadership positions in biotechnology companies and academia. Dr. Gallop has 25 years of industry experience and previously co-founded XenoPort, Inc. David Goeddel, Ph.D., managing partner of The Column Group and a member of the Nurix board of directors, is a scientific pioneer in the biotechnology field and was co-founder and chief executive officer of Tularik.
Nurix, Inc. is a leader in discovering and developing therapies that modulate the ubiquitin proteasome system (UPS). The UPS is a regulatory pathway that directs protein degradation, a function vital to the healthy life of a cell, and presents therapeutic opportunities in multiple disease areas, including oncology. Nurix’s state-of–the-art product engine leverages a deep mechanistic understanding of the UPS to deliver effective small molecule drug candidates with the potential to make a dramatic difference for patients. Nurix was founded by internationally recognized experts in the ubiquitin proteasome field and is funded by leading life science investors, Third Rock Ventures and The Column Group. The company is headquartered in San Francisco, California. For more information, please visit www.nurix-inc.com.
About Third Rock Ventures
Third Rock Ventures is a leading healthcare venture firm focused on investing and launching companies that make a difference in people’s lives. The Third Rock team has a unique vision for ideating and building transformative healthcare companies. Working closely with our strategic partners and entrepreneurs, Third Rock has an extensive track record for managing the value creation path to deliver exceptional performance. For more information, please visit the firm’s website at www.thirdrockventures.com
About The Column Group
The Column Group (TCG) is a venture capital firm dedicated to creating a new generation of breakthrough biotechnology companies. The TCG team deploys a unique foundational approach to this challenge, partnering with exceptional scientific founders and entrepreneurs at the earliest stages to transform an innovative idea to a productive research and development company to a potential industry leader capable of reshaping human health. For more information, please visit www.thecolumngroup.net.
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Sheryl Seapy, 949-903-4750