Pharma, Startups

Navitor Pharmaceuticals nabs $33M for drugs that treat aging-related disorders

Navitor Pharmaceuticals expects, with this new fund raise, to bring its small molecule drugs that treat aging-related issues to the clinic by 2018.

Cambridge biotech Navitor Pharmaceuticals just closed out an impressive $33 million Series B, meant to propel the research from lauded MIT and Whitehead Institute researcher Dr. David Sabatini.

This round will help Navitor develop its pipeline of small molecule drugs that modulate the mTORC1 pathway, which controls cellular growth and protein synthesis. Several disease are spurred by a dysregulation of this complex – particularly those associated with aging, CEO George Vlasuk said in a phone interview.

 

“It’s the only cellular complex that, when it’s downregulated, can extend life – whether you’re looking at yeast or at mice,” Vlasuk said.

 

The funding should be enough to push early drug candidates through proof of clinical efficacy and safety testing, Vlasuk said. Navitor plans to hit the clinic by late 2017 or early 2018.

More so than chasing mTORC1’s anti-aging potential, Navitor is interested in finding therapies for metabolic disease, neurodegeneration and cancer – all diseases that lead to debilitation in patients, making the aging process more painful.

 

Navitor is not disclosing what indication it’s after – but that it’s looking at a  number of rare and chronic disease areas. Type 2 diabetes is on the company’s radar.

Navitor’s experimental drugs have the potential to either “turn up” or “turn down” nutrient and growth factor-responsive cellular pathways, restoring normal mTORC1 function and potentially correcting a wide range of disorders, Vlasuk said.

The Series B was led by new investor Brace Pharma Capital. Other participants include Remeditex Ventures, Sanofi-Genzyme BioVentures, Polaris Partners, Atlas Ventures, Johnson & Johnson Innovation and SR One – as well as high net worth biotech investors.

[Image courtesy of Navitor Pharmaceuticals]