This morning Polaris-backed Scholar Rock made three exciting announcements, including the company’s successful $20 million Series A funding. Polaris seeded Scholar Rock in 2013 as a founding investor and we are thrilled to bring on board an outstanding syndicate comprised of ARCH Venture Partners, who led this round, as well as EcoR1 and The Kraft Group. Scholar Rock also announced the hiring of Elan Ezickson as Chief Operating Officer and Head of Corporate Development and the appointment of two new Scientific Advisory Board members.
Scholar Rock is discovering and developing niche modulators that selectively target protein growth factors in the disease environment. Our first targets are the TGF-beta family of growth factors. This space has proven to be extremely challenging historically, but our team has developed a novel approach that challenges the established dogma in the field. Hopefully our approach will lead to therapeutics for diseases where patients continue to suffer, such as fibrosis, musculoskeletal disorders, and autoimmunity. The trifecta of great news comes not long after the company emerged from stealth mode earlier in January of this year, when it announced a partnership with Janssen Pharmaceuticals, a division of Johnson & Johnson.
We couldn’t be more pleased with the progress – and be more delighted to work with outstanding people with whom we have such a vibrant and successful history. Scholar Rock Founders Dr. Tim Springer and Dr. Len Zon, along with CEO Nagesh Mahanthappa and Board Member Katrine Bosley, are all Polaris Repeat Entrepreneurs. (links to all). Our newest Board member, Kristina Burow, Managing Director of ARCH Venture Partners, will bring a great deal of early stage science and business acumen to our table. We have enjoyed working with Kristina at both Receptos Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: RCPT) and AgBiome. We are also excited to work with The Kraft Group again, who were co-investors with us in Fate Therapeutics (NASDAQ: FATE), and have had a great track record of investing in a number of innovative biotechnology companies. On that topic, we feel fortunate to be joined by Oleg Nodelman and his new EcoR1 fund, which builds on his great track record as a public biotechnology investor.
Scholar Rock is a quintessential example of what happens when you match breakthrough science with outstanding people. Congratulations to the team on reaching these important milestones without taking your eyes off the horizon. You have been unafraid of the challenges that face you, and millions of patients will benefit from that courage. It is an exciting road ahead and we at Polaris are proud to be your partner on this important journey that is only just beginning.