Third Rock Launches Pliant With $45M

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Third Rock Launches Pliant With $45M

Coverage of Pliant launching from Third Rock Ventures:

  • “Third Rock Ventures is taking the wraps off its latest biotech creation. This one is called Pliant Therapeutics, which has recently lined up an experienced biotech vet to take the helm as it sets sail on a more than two-year journey toward its first clinical data. To put it simply, Pliant will pursue the latest scientific advances on integrin inhibition from a group of investigators including Dean Sheppard, a scientist at UC San Francisco. Sheppard–who outlicensed some of his earlier antibody-related work on αvβ6 which was later spun out to Stromedix and then reacquired by Biogen ($BIIB)–has been focused more recently on the αvβ1 integrin in preventing a biologic cascade that leads to fibrosis, primarily by activating transforming growth factor beta 1 (TGFβ1).”
    Third Rock launches Pliant, gambling $45M on a next-gen approach to fibrosis (FierceBiotech)
  • “The company, Redwood City, Calif.-based Pliant Therapeutics, is getting started with the big venture round and technology in-licensed from the University of California, San Francisco. The idea is to start by developing an oral pill for idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis. The cause is unknown, but the disease is irreversible, fatal, and affects an estimated 100,000 people in the U.S. and Europe. Based on growing knowledge of the ways scarring works in different tissue types, the company hopes to branch out and treat more patients with fibrosis of the liver and kidneys. “We and others are trying to identify targets that can stop the progression of fibrosis,” said Bernard Coulie, the startup’s CEO. “It may be possible even to reverse it, to regress the fibrosis. Not only do we think we can maintain a patient with a certain amount of lung function, but we may be able to help them improve. That’s our goal.”
    Pliant Therapeutics, Third Rock’s New $45M Startup, Looks to Stop Lung Scarring (Forbes)
  • “Pliant eventually could use its integrin approach to zero in on cardiac or renal fibrosis, nonalcoholic steatohepatitis, or NASH, Crohn’s Disease or scleroderma — all fibrotic conditions. The company has seven employees but plans to build out a team of biologists and chemists to reach about 25 people by the end of the year. Pliant’s approach is the unique type of play that Third Rock Ventures has lent its name to over the past few years, even as it largely carried the venture investing banner through the Great Recession. Three of its companies — MyoKardia Inc., Global Blood Therapeutics Inc. and CytomX Therapeutics Inc., all of South San Francisco — went public last year.”
    Highly selective startup snags $45M to take on deadly lung disease (SF Business Times)
  • “Third Rock Ventures, LLC today announced the formation of Pliant Therapeutics, Inc. with $45 million in Series A financing to discover and develop new therapies to treat the pathologic process of fibrotic disorders. By leveraging its powerful product engine based on recent biologic insights, Pliant Therapeutics has the potential to prevent or even reverse fibrosis caused by many disease processes. Bernard Coulie, M.D., Ph.D., has been appointed chief executive officer of Pliant and brings more than 15 years of drug development expertise, including six years in leadership positions at Johnson & Johnson, and most recently as co-founder and CEO of ActoGeniX.”
    Press release
February 18th, 2016|

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