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Rapafusyn Pharmaceuticals Secures $28 Million Series A to Advance Its Non-Degrading Molecular Glue Drug Discovery Platform

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Rapafusyn’s RapaGlue™ platform rapidly discovers non-degrading molecular glues, a validated and highly sought-after modality to address challenging or previously undruggable disease targets

Financing led by 3E Bioventures Capital and Proxima Ventures Ltd. with participation from Lapam Capital

Founded by Professor Jun O. Liu of Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, a pioneer in the molecular glue field

BALTIMORE, June 20, 2024 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) --

Rapafusyn Pharmaceuticals, a leader in the discovery and development of therapeutic drugs based on non-degrading molecular glues, today announced the initial closings of an extension of its Series A financing, bringing the total round to $28 Million. The financing was led by 3E Bioventures Capital and Proxima Ventures Ltd. with participation from Lapam Capital.

The financing will propel the progress of Rapafusyn's innovative and diverse pipeline of macrocyclic peptide-based non-degrading molecular glues and further enhance its internal capabilities. Rapafusyn’s industry-leading libraries of RapaGlues™ can swiftly produce novel chemical entities for targets that are traditionally challenging or currently undruggable by other modalities. This innovative breakthrough offers a promising solution for numerous difficult-to-drug targets, paving the way for significant advancements in drug discovery and development to address high unmet medical needs of patients.

“Non-degrading molecular glues were previously found serendipitously. The RapaGlue™ platform has the ability to create non-degrading molecular glues by design”, said Dr. Jun O. Liu, scientific founder of Rapafusyn and a pioneer whose ground-breaking discovery of the molecular glue mechanism for FK506 and cyclosporin A at Harvard University with Professor Stuart Schreiber and colleagues in 1991 formed the foundation of the field of non-degrading molecular glues.  

"Our RapaGlue™ platform is primed to bring groundbreaking therapies to patients. This innovative non-degrading molecular glue modality integrates the benefits of molecular glues with cyclic peptides, creating cell-permeable drug candidates. Our robust platform allows us to tackle disease targets where other modalities have struggled." Dr. Sean Hu, CEO of Rapafusyn, commented. “We are very pleased to have such distinguished investors participate in this round of financing.”

“Rapafusyn offers a new class of macrocyclic molecules that function as non-degrading molecular glues. It can target a broad range of membrane or intracellular targets, including those traditionally difficult-to-drug, such as PPIs (protein-protein interaction targets), transcriptions factors, SLCs/transporters, ion channels and others”, said Dr. Karen Liu, a Founding Partner at 3E Bioventures. “I am excited about the platform, because for the first time in drug discovery, we have a systematic and efficient way to screen for small molecule modulators beyond the traditional Lipinski rules and protein degraders popular in recent years.”

Haolin Sung, Partner at Proxima Ventures commented, “We are very attracted by and delighted to invest in Rapafusyn’s non-degrading molecular glue platform. It is well differentiated and, in many ways, superior to other drug modalities in addressing challenging or undruggable disease targets. We are also impressed by the caliber of the Rapafusyn operating and advisory teams and are confident in the future success of the company.”

Mr. Zhihua Yu, Founding Managing Parter of Lapam Capital added, “By applying an innovative and well validated approach to effectively drug a broad spectrum of challenging or undruggable disease targets, Rapafusyn has the potential to address a major gap and unmet need in the pharma industry. We believe in Rapafusyn’s potential to discover transformational medicines to benefit patients globally.”

About 3E Bioventures

3E Bioventures Capital is a life science focused VC fund, actively investing in global leading health innovators, investing in Biotech (new drugs, new modalities, and drug discovery platforms) and in TechBio, the intersection of biology and technology that can potentially disrupt old paradigms.   3E Bioventures takes on a science-driven, entrepreneur-friendly investment philosophy by working closely with companies and research institutions to develop drugs or products that have strong unmet medical needs.

About Proxima Ventures

Proxima Ventures is a respected VC fund focused on investing in innovative and disruptive medical and bio- technologies, dedicated to serving outstanding and innovative companies with tremendous potential for growth. Proxima Ventures is run by a highly experienced team with proven track record in the life science industries. The team has broad global knowledge, in-depth experience, and an extensive industry network. Currently, Proxima has multiple Chinese Yuan (RMB) and USD funds under its management, investing in angel to growth stage companies. Proxima Ventures has established a leading medical entrepreneurship ecosystem, helped its portfolio companies connect with high-quality clinical and industrial resources, and achieved remarkable results.

About Lapam Capital

Headquartered in Beijing, Lapam Capital is a leading healthcare venture capital firm in China. Lapam is currently managing five RMB (Chinese Yuan) funds and one USD fund, with more than 10 billion RMB under management. Lapam Capital focuses on investments in early to mid- stage fast-growing companies that have innovative pharmaceuticals and medical devices. Its investment portfolio currently consists of 120+ projects, of which innovative drug therapeutics projects account for over 80%, including Betta Pharma, RemeGen Co. Ltd., Gyre Therapeutics, Asieris Pharmaceuticals, ImmuneOnco Biopharmaceuticals, Binhui Biotech, Biostar Pharmaceuticals, Eyebright Medical Technology Ltd., and many other companies with great potential. Lapam Capital has a professional investment team with more than 20 years of international and domestic biopharmaceutical industry R&D and management experience and can provide comprehensive value-added support for the invested companies.

About Rapafusyn Pharmaceuticals

Rapafusyn emerged from the laboratory of Dr. Jun O. Liu’s, Professor of Pharmacology and Molecular Sciences at Johns Hopkins University, with a mission to develop transformational medicines to address high unmet medical needs and enhance patient care.  The platform leverages non-degrading macrocyclic molecular glues (RapaGlues™) to address challenging therapeutic targets.  Rapafusyn has constructed both DNA-encoded libraries (DELs) and arrayed libraries of RapaGlues™ that form neo-PPIs to inhibit a protein from its native activity. These compounds are rationally designed and engineered to bind FKBP and form a ternary complex with the disease target protein, offering a promising avenue for modulating intricate protein-protein interactions.  RapaGlues™ have proven effective in producing innovative chemical starting points for challenging drug targets.  The modular architecture enables SAR and subsequent optimization for potency, selectivity, and physicochemical properties to accelerate drug discovery and development. RapaGlues™ frequently exhibit cell permeability directly from the starting point, enhancing their potential for therapeutic development.

For more information, please visit rapafusyn.com or contact Heather Lavin: hlavin@rapafusyn.com

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