BOSTON – Nov. 15, 2022 – Jnana Therapeutics ("Jnana"), a biotechnology company leveraging its next-generation chemoproteomics platform to discover medicines for challenging-to-drug targets, today announced the close of its $107 million Series C financing. The financing was led by Bain Capital Life Sciences with participation from existing investors including RA Capital Management, Polaris Partners, Versant Ventures, Avalon Ventures and Pfizer Ventures.
The proceeds from the funding will be used to progress the company's lead program in phenylketonuria (PKU), a rare genetic metabolic disease, through a clinical proof-of-concept (POC) study, and to advance additional wholly owned, potential first-in-class medicines in immune-mediated diseases and cancer. Jnana's RAPID chemoproteomics platform enabled the identification of JNT-517, a small-molecule inhibitor of the phenylalanine transporter SLC6A19 that acts at a novel, cryptic allosteric site, as well as a growing pipeline of programs against challenging-to-drug targets such as transcription factors.
"We are thrilled to welcome Bain Capital Life Sciences to our strong syndicate of leading life science investors who share our vision for the potential of our RAPID platform and lead program in PKU," said Joanne Kotz, Ph.D., co-founder and CEO of Jnana Therapeutics. "With their support and the initiation of our second collaboration with Roche, we are well positioned to deliver on our aim of developing breakthrough medicines for patients."
Jnana also announced the dosing of the first healthy volunteers in a Phase 1 study evaluating JNT-517, its clinical candidate for the potential treatment of PKU. After the Phase 1a portion in healthy volunteers, JNT-517 will be evaluated in a Phase 1b study in individuals with PKU, with the potential to demonstrate clinical POC. In addition, the company announced that JNT-517 has been granted Rare Pediatric Disease Designation by the US Food and Drug Administration.
"With its unique mechanism of action of blocking phenylalanine reabsorption in the kidney, JNT-517 has the potential to be the first therapy for all individuals living with PKU, regardless of genetic background or age," said Joel C. Barrish, Ph.D., co-founder, President and CSO of Jnana Therapeutics. "The Rare Pediatric Disease Designation by the FDA underscores the promise of JNT-517 to accelerate innovation for these patients with limited treatment options."
"We share Jnana's patient-focused mission and commitment to developing the next generation of best-in-class therapies that address high unmet medical needs across a wide range of diseases," said Ron Renaud, a Managing Director at Bain Capital Life Sciences who is joining Jnana's Board of Directors in conjunction with the financing. "We are excited to support Jnana as they progress their PKU program into clinical development and advance their innovative pipeline of potential novel medicines against challenging-to-drug targets."
Phenylketonuria (PKU) is an inherited metabolic disorder caused by a deficiency of the enzyme phenylalanine hydroxylase (PAH). This enzyme is required for the breakdown of phenylalanine (Phe), an amino acid found in all protein-containing foods. When PAH is deficient or defective, Phe accumulates to abnormally high levels in the blood. If left untreated, these toxic levels of Phe in the blood can result in progressive and severe neurological impairment and neuropsychological complications. The SLC transporter SLC6A19 is responsible for kidney reabsorption of Phe back into the bloodstream, and the inhibition of SLC6A19 offers a novel, oral approach for the treatment of PKU.
About Jnana Therapeutics
Jnana Therapeutics is a clinical-stage biotechnology company leveraging its next-generation chemoproteomics RAPID platform to discover medicines for highly validated, challenging-to-drug targets to treat diseases with high unmet need. Jnana is focused on developing first- and best-in-class therapies to treat a wide range of diseases, including rare diseases, immune-mediated diseases and cancer. Jnana's wholly owned lead program is a potential first-in-class oral approach, targeting an allosteric site on the phenylalanine transporter SLC6A19, for the treatment of phenylketonuria (PKU), a rare genetic metabolic disease. Located in Boston, Jnana brings together scientific leaders in small molecule drug discovery and development, a highly experienced management team and the backing of leading life science investors Bain Capital Life Sciences, RA Capital Management, Polaris Partners, Versant Ventures, Avalon Ventures, Pfizer Ventures and AbbVie Ventures. For more information, please visit www.jnanatx.com and follow us on Twitter and on LinkedIn.
About Bain Capital Life Sciences
Bain Capital Life Sciences (www.baincapitallifesciences.com) invests in pharmaceutical, biotechnology, medical device, diagnostic, and life science tool companies across the globe, with a focus on companies that both drive medical innovation across the value chain and enable that innovation to improve the lives of patients with unmet medical needs. The differentiated skillset of Bain Capital Life Sciences team enables it to deliver targeted capital and value-added strategic support to companies around critical phases of growth and inflections in value. Since 1984, Bain Capital has employed a strategic and analytical approach to identify attractive investment opportunities and partner with management teams to transform and improve their businesses. During this time, Bain Capital has developed global reach, deep expertise, and a proven track record in the life sciences industries across private equity, public equity, credit, venture capital, and real estate.