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January 23, 2024
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Pharmaceutical Power: $75M in Series C Beckons Two Major Players


– Accent Therapeutics has raised $75 million in a series C funding round, with participation from Bristol Myers Squibb and Johnson & Johnson’s investment arm, JJDC.
– The funding will help drive the development of Accent’s two lead small molecules, targeting DHX9 and KIF18A.
– The company plans to begin human trials for both programs before the end of the year and put each in phase 1 studies by early 2025.

Accent Therapeutics, a RNA drug developer, has secured investments from two more pharmaceutical companies as part of a $75 million series C funding round. Bristol Myers Squibb and Johnson & Johnson’s investment arm, JJDC, participated in the round, which was led by Mirae Asset Capital Life Science. This latest round of funding serves as validation for Accent Therapeutics and will help drive further development of the company’s two lead small molecules targeting DHX9 and KIF18A. The plan is to seek regulatory approval for human trials for both programs by the end of the year and initiate phase 1 studies in early 2025.

In addition to the two new pharma backers, Accent Therapeutics already has a research and licensing collaboration with AstraZeneca. The collaboration, announced in 2020, gives AstraZeneca the option to a preclinical program to be developed through phase 1 studies, as well as worldwide licensing rights to two additional preclinical assets if desired. Accent CEO Shakti Narayan expressed excitement about the attention from Big Pharma, saying that it shows endorsement and engagement with their strategy and vision.

The DHX9 asset has the potential to be first-in-class, while the KIF18A program is slightly behind Volastra Therapeutics, which already has two assets in clinical trials. Naveen Krishnan, managing director of Mirae Asset Capital’s life science fund and an incoming board member for Accent, believes there is room for multiple players in the field. This investment marks the first public investment for Mirae’s new life science arm, which plans to make up to eight investments this year.

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