BOSTON & SAN DIEGO–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Rapport Therapeutics, Inc., a clinical-stage biotechnology company dedicated to the discovery and development of precision medicines for neurological disorders, launched today with a $100 million Series A financing from Third Rock Ventures, ARCH Venture Partners and Johnson & Johnson Innovation – JJDC, Inc. (JJDC). Rapport’s novel platform utilizes discoveries made by its scientific founders to identify receptor-associated proteins that enable the identification of precision targeted small molecule drugs that have the potential to transform the treatment of neurological disorders. The company’s lead program is currently in Phase 1 studies for the treatment of drug-resistant seizure disorders.
Rapport is leveraging discoveries and decades of advances by its scientific founders to create therapeutics that precisely target the subset of neurons where neurological disorders originate. Rapport’s platform harnesses receptor-associated proteins, or RAPs, to discover small molecule therapeutics acting selectively on genetically and clinically validated targets. This approach allows unprecedented precision at targeting receptors in the specific neuroanatomical regions underlying the pathophysiology of neurological disorders. This contrasts with current treatments that act at targets expressed ubiquitously in the nervous system and, in some cases, other areas of the body. This indiscriminate approach leads to suboptimal efficacy and burdensome safety and tolerability. Rapport’s precision medicine approach not only unlocks the ability to discover treatments that can improve upon the efficacy and tolerability of existing therapies, but also creates novel approaches to treating neurological disorders where there are currently no effective treatments. Rapport offers a first-in-class pipeline and a world-renowned team with the mission to deliver transformational medicines for neuroscience patients.
The company will advance its vision for precision treatments under newly appointed Chief Executive Officer, Abraham Ceesay. Mr. Ceesay brings nearly twenty years of leadership experience in the biopharmaceutical industry, most recently as President of the neuroscience company Cerevel Therapeutics and prior to that as CEO of the neuroendocrine company Tiburio Therapeutics.
“Rapport is bringing together pioneers in neuroscience to create revolutionary treatment options for patients who have long endured the shortcomings of nonspecific therapeutics,” said Mr. Ceesay. “The era of precision neuroscience is upon us, and patients’ needs have never been greater. At Rapport we believe that by leveraging the discovery of receptor-associated proteins by our founders, we are poised to develop precision medicines that will greatly improve the lives of patients living with neurologic disorders.”
Rapport’s founder and Chief Scientific Officer, David Bredt, M.D., Ph.D., discovered RAPs and their role in modulating receptor expression and function more than two decades ago. His discovery and the continued work of Dr. Bredt and several founding Rapport team members laid the foundation for the company’s approach and its discovery engine, which uses genomics, protein science and brain imaging technologies to identify novel RAPs and enable precision neuromedicine drug development.
“Over the past decade, our founding team has investigated the potential power of receptor-associated proteins to enable precision targeting of disease-associated neural circuits and has developed a powerful platform to discover therapeutics for that purpose,” said Reid Huber, Ph.D., Rapport Director and Partner at Third Rock Ventures. “RAPs create multiple opportunities to develop new and better options for patients because they enable us both to introduce precision against validated targets and to access currently undruggable receptor types.”
Rapport was conceived and created through a collaboration between Third Rock Ventures and JJDC. The company is advancing a portfolio of clinical and preclinical compounds, as well as decades of neuroscience research from the Neuroscience team at Janssen Research & Development, and will leverage these valuable assets to drive Rapport’s mission forward.
“The need for precision neuromedicines has been clear for decades but finding the right scientific approach to achieve such precision has been a challenge. Rapport’s team has not only identified a powerful approach, they have developed a broad platform that brings this opportunity within reach across multiple neurological disorders,” said Steven Paul, M.D., Chairman of the Rapport Board of Directors and Advisory Partner at Third Rock Ventures. “The decision to create Rapport in collaboration with JJDC is a bold and exciting step toward ushering in a new era of precision neuromedicines.”
About Rapport (www.rapportrx.com)
Rapport is transforming the field of neuroscience by creating therapies with neuroanatomically precise targeting to achieve improved patient outcomes with fewer troubling side effects. The company unlocks precision through a platform built and refined over the past decade by its founding scientific team to discover receptor-associated proteins or RAPs that display neurological region- or neural circuit-specific expression. By leveraging RAPs, Rapport can develop medicines with activity restricted to therapeutically relevant receptors and neural circuits. The company’s first program, designed to treat drug-resistant seizure disorders in a revolutionary way, is in Phase 1 studies.