A Boston biotech with a new drug-delivery approach has been launched with $59 million in venture capital, including investments from funds associated with the giant drug makers Roche and Merck & Co.
The company, Entrada Therapeutics, hopes to use peptides — short chains of amino acids — to deliver drugs produced from living organisms into cells. The firm plans to try the approach on a rare and fatal mitochondrial disease caused by a defect in a single gene. But company executives believe the approach can be used to treat many devastating diseases.
“With this financing, Entrada is well-positioned to advance multiple programs through the application of our proprietary intracellular biologics platform,” said Dipal Doshi, president and chief executive of the new company.
The financing was led by 5AM Ventures and MPM Capital, along with Agent Capital, Roche Venture Fund, and MRL Ventures Fund. The latter two funds are affiliated with Roche and Merck, respectively.
Entrada is relying on scientific discoveries made by Dehua Pei, a professor of chemistry and biochemistry at Ohio State University. He is listed as a cofounder of the company.
Dr. Kush Parmar, managing partner at 5AM Ventures, said too many people suffer from debilitating diseases that have no treatments. Entrada, he said, hopes to “fundamentally change the standard of care” for several of these disorders.