Constellation Pharmaceuticals Inc., a Cambridge, Mass.-based developer of drugs that target selective regulators of epigenetic function, has raised $17.2 million in Series B funding. Altitude Life Science Ventures was joined by return backers Third Rock Ventures, The Column Group and Venrock. The company had previously raised $32 million.
Constellation Pharma also announced that it has hired Mark Goldsmith as its new CEO. Goldsmith is the former CEO of Cogentus Pharmaceuticals, and most recently was senior executive-in-residence with Prospect Venture Partners.
Constellation Pharmaceuticals, Inc., the leading biopharmaceutical company focused on discovering and developing new drugs targeting epigenetic regulation of the human genome, today announced that it has appointed Mark A. Goldsmith, M.D., Ph.D., as Chief Executive Officer and Director of the company. Additionally, the company closed $17.2 million in financing.
Dr. Goldsmith has held senior positions in academia and the biotechnology industry. Until recently he was Senior Executive-in-Residence at Prospect Venture Partners, a leading healthcare venture capital firm. Previously he served as cofounder and CEO of Cogentus Pharmaceuticals, Inc. and Senior Vice President of Genencor International, overseeing the company’s health care division. Prior to entering the private sector, Dr. Goldsmith spent a decade on the faculty of the School of Medicine of the University of California, San Francisco and San Francisco General Hospital, served as Assistant Director of the Gladstone Institute of Virology and Immunology. He earned his M.D. and Ph.D. in Microbiology and Immunology from the University of California, San Francisco.
“Constellation has made great progress building a powerful product engine and outstanding team, and we’re very excited to bring an accomplished physician-scientist with executive leadership experience to the helm at this stage,” said Mark Levin, Chairman of the Board of the company. “Mark Goldsmith’s accomplishments in basic science, clinical medicine and corporate development make him ideally suited to lead the company’s next phase of translating our exciting research into new high-impact therapies for patients.”
Constellation’s product development plans are bolstered by an additional $17.2 million that was raised pursuant to the third tranche of its $32 million Series A financing from Third Rock Ventures, The Column Group, Venrock, and Altitude Life Science Ventures. Proceeds from the financing will be used to enhance the Company’s R&D capabilities and to accelerate the development of its preclinical pipeline.
“With its world-class founders, organization and investors, Constellation is emerging as the leading drug discovery player and corporate partner in the exciting field of Epigenetics and chromatin biology, “said Dr. Goldsmith. “We have the technology and scientific and clinical insights to enable us to advance a portfolio of product leads toward clinical assessment, initially with application in areas of unmet medical need in oncology. The Constellation team has built an impressive company and I am very pleased to have the opportunity to help fulfill its compelling medical vision and value creation strategy.”
About Constellation Pharmaceuticals
Constellation Pharmaceuticals is the first biopharmaceutical company dedicated to the development of novel therapeutics in the emerging field of Epigenetics, a new field of science that focuses on selective regulators of gene function and expression. Constellation’s initial focus is in oncology, and the Company’s platform will also be applicable to other therapeutic areas including autoimmune, inflammatory and neurological diseases. The Company’s academic founders represent the core thought leaders in epigenetics responsible for key advances, insights and discoveries in the field. Constellation Pharmaceuticals is located in Cambridge, Massachusetts. For more information, please visit the company’s website at www.constellationpharma.com.
Constellation Pharmaceuticals was founded by three of the foremost authorities and leaders within the field of Epigenetics: Danny Reinberg, Ph.D, Professor of Biochemistry at the New York University School of Medicine and an Investigator of the Howard Hughes Institute; Yang Shi, Ph.D., Professor of Pathology at the Harvard Medical School and David Allis, Ph.D., Professor and Head of the Laboratory of Chromatin Biology at The Rockefeller University.
Constellation’s Board of Directors include: Anthony Evnin, Ph.D, Partner, Venrock; David Goeddel, Ph.D., Partner, The Column Group; Mark Levin, Partner, Third Rock Ventures; Tom Maniatis, Ph.D., Professor, Harvard University; Bob Tepper, M.D., Partner, Third Rock Ventures;and Mark A. Goldsmith, M.D., Ph.D., CEO, Constellation Pharmaceuticals.
Also supporting the Company’s efforts is a Scientific Advisory Board featuring some of the most renowned scientific experts within the field of Epigenetics and oncology, including; Richard Klausner, M.D., Managing Partner, The Column Group and former Director of the National Cancer Institute; Arnold Levine, Ph.D., Professor, Institute of Advanced Study; David Livingston, M.D., Deputy Director, Dana Farber/Harvard Cancer Institute; Julian Adams, Ph.D., Chief Scientific Officer, Infinity Pharmaceuticals; Xiaodong Cheng, Ph.D., Professor, Emory University; Steven J. Gamblin, Ph.D., Professor, National Institute for Medical Research/Medical Research Council (MRC); Thomas Jenuwein, Ph.D., Director, Max Planck Institute; Arul Chinnaiyan, M.D., Ph.D, Professor, University of Michigan Medical School; and Scott Lowe, Ph.D., Professor, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory.
Epigenetics is an exciting new field of biology that involves chemical modifications of both DNA and of its packaging proteins (“chromatin”), which are collectively called the ‘epigenome.’ The genome, or DNA, is the “blueprint” for the human body, consisting of thousands of genes, which are the fundamental units of information necessary for normal cell growth and development. The epigenome plays a critical role in regulating the expression of genes, that is, switching genes on or off – or in the case of disease, for switching genes on or off incorrectly. This new field of Epigenetic science provides the opportunity to create a broad new class of human therapeutics targeting selective regulators of epigenetic function.