Quench Bio closes financing

The company advances first-in-class medicines against severe inflammatory diseases

February 27, 2020

Quench Bio has raised USD 50 million in a Series A financing round. The financing was led by RA Capital Management and included Abbvie Ventures as well as co-founders and seed investors Atlas Venture and Arix Bioscience.

Scientists at the MPI for Infection Biology have discovered a previously unknown mechanism: neutrophil granulocytes, cells that form part of the human immune system, can cast a sort of net to capture bacteria and kill them outside the cell. The red invaders – in this case Shigella bacteria – become entangled in the yellow nets.

Quench Bio develops therapies targeting innate immune pathways to treat autoimmune and inflammatory diseases. The approach centres on a pore-forming protein called Gasdermin D that was identified as a potential new target during a collaboration between the Max Planck Institute for Infection Biology in Berlin, the Max Planck Institute for Molecular Physiology, and the Lead Discovery Center in Dortmund.

In close collaboration, the partners generated a series of Gasdermin inhibitors that prevent the release of inflammatory cytokines, alarmins and neutrophil extracellular traps (NETs), thereby validating the protein as a key target at the core of multiple inflammatory cell death pathways, including pyroptosis and NETosis. The specific targeting of Gasdermin represents a novel mode of action for the treatment of numerous inflammatory diseases associated with NETosis, including rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, multiple sclerosis and nonalcoholic steatohepatitis.

When Quench Bio was founded in 2018, it received an exclusive license to IP relating to the therapeutic use of Gasdermin by LDC and Max Planck Innovation. The co-founders, besides LDC and MI, include Atlas, Arix and Max Planck Directors Arturo Zychlinsky and Herbert Waldmann, among others. “The emergence of Quench exemplifies the power of our collaborative approach to drug discovery. Together, we have been able to translate the discovery of Gasdermin and its role in inflammatory cell death into a validated therapeutic strategy with game-changing potential in many inflammation-related indications,” says Bert Klebl, one of the LDC’s managing directors. “The LDC has already demonstrated a track record of successful outlicensing deals to pharma companies. The foundation of Quench Bio represents a major step in the spin-off sector. This VC-backed form of commercialization of MPG/LDC projects allows exquisitely well-focused, comprehensive and fast development,” adds Dieter Link, licensing manager at Max Planck Innovation.

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