Drug Research
Drug Discovery & Development

Rubius Therapeutics raises $120m to advance red blood cell technology

Published 22 June 2017

Rubius Therapeutics, which is developing red-cell therapeutics (RCTs) as a new class of medicines to address a range of indications, has raised $120m in a highly oversubscribed private financing.

Rubius has developed the technology to grow, genetically engineer and mature long-circulating red cell therapeutics which will provide transformational clinical benefits to a wide range of patients across multiple therapeutic areas.

These allogeneic, off-the-shelf products offer the additional advantage of extended stability and storage to allow for rapid, universal access by the medical community. Proceeds will be used to accelerate the advancement of Rubius’ breakthrough Red-Cell Therapeutics (RCT) product portfolio, to further build out the team and to prepare to enter human clinical trials in 2018.

This financing follows the successful achievement of several key milestones, including the clinical scale production of cultured red cells in bioreactors and the generation of preclinical proof-of-concept data for several lead programs.

“With this financing, Rubius is well positioned to focus on the continued development of our platform to advance a broad range of therapeutic candidates that have the potential to make a significant difference in the lives of patients,” said Torben Straight Nissen, Ph.D., President of Rubius Therapeutics.

“Rubius has achieved multiple scientific and manufacturing milestones in the first six months of this year. Those achievements plus the trust that Flagship and our new investors have put in Rubius with this financing sets us up to turn our RCTs into important new treatment options,” said David Epstein, Chairman of Rubius Therapeutics and Executive Partner of Flagship Pioneering.

The RCT platform allows Rubius to express enzymes, agonists, antagonists, binders and combinations in their natural conformation on or inside of red cells. Lead RCT programs include enzyme replacement therapies as well as therapies targeting solid tumors and hematological cancers. Further, Rubius has demonstrated that RCTs provide potential applications across additional therapeutic areas, such as autoimmune disease, infectious disease, metabolic disease and rare diseases, including hemophilia.

“We are excited to expand our support of Rubius in this next round of funding as the company continues to advance its technology and programs -- following in the footsteps of Flagship’s family of successful multiproduct platform companies,” said Noubar Afeyan, CEO of Flagship Pioneering and Co-Founder of Rubius.

“The team at Rubius has made great strides over the past three years and we are pleased to support the company’s continued growth. This new financing, together with a leadership team with unparalleled expertise, positions Rubius to deliver on the promise of the RCT platform and bring transformative therapies to patients.”

Rubius was conceived, launched and funded by Flagship VentureLabs, the innovation foundry of Flagship Pioneering. Joined by undisclosed large institutional investors, Flagship Pioneering significantly increased its investment in this financing.

Source: Company Press Release