NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – MyoKardia, a San Francisco-based drug startup, has been launched with $38 million in Series A financing from Third Rock Ventures.
The firm is taking a genetically targeted approach to drug development, using a proprietary drug discovery platform that combines advances in cardiovascular genomics and heart muscle biology research. According to the firm, its approach will "leverage resident expertise in sarcomere genetics, in vivo and in vitro disease models, next-generation biochemical and biophysical assay development, and medicinal chemistry."
Among the founders of the firm are James Spudich, a professor of biochemistry at Stanford University; Leslie Leinwand, a professor of molecular, cellular and developmental biology at University of Colorado; Christine Seidman, a professor of medicine and genetics at Harvard Medical School and director of the Cardiovascular Genetics Center at Brigham and Women's Hospital; and Jonathan Seidman, a professor of genetics at Harvard Medical School.
Charles Homcy, a venture partner at Third Rock Ventures, will serve as interim CEO.
"The last decade has been challenging for those pursuing novel therapeutics in the cardiovascular space, in part because most treatments target symptoms far downstream of the root cause," Leinwand said in a statement. "MyoKardia's approach addresses this challenge head on by employing genetics to more precisely define the disease and 'who we want to treat,' and by employing cutting-edge muscle biochemistry and a novel platform to determine 'how we want to treat.' Our initial targets are genetic cardiomyopathies, but this could very well be a novel and tractable therapeutic discovery approach to even larger diseases like heart failure."
According to MyoKardia, more than 60 million people worldwide, and around one million people in the US, have cardiomyopathy or carry a gene mutation for cardiomyopathy.