WALTHAM, Mass., Jan. 23, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- Skyhawk Therapeutics, Inc. ("Skyhawk"), a new private company focused on the discovery and development of small molecule therapeutics that correct RNA expression, today announced the close of $8 million in seed funding led by major family and biotech investors, including Tim Disney, the Duke of Bedford, Alexandria Venture Investments, and other undisclosed private investors. Proceeds of the financing will advance Skyhawk's portfolio of specific and selective small molecules that initially target RNA exon skipping, which drives a set of 50+ diseases that include both broad-based neurological conditions and previously "undruggable" oncogenes in cancer.
"We are pleased be working with leading investors to advance our mission of revolutionizing disease treatment with small molecules that correct RNA expression," said founding investor and executive chairman of Skyhawk's board of directors, Bill Haney. "The Skyhawk team has spent the last 12 months building an expansive intellectual property base covering its unique drug discovery tools and small molecule library portfolio. The company's first drug candidate targets a set of exon-skipping-driven cancer indications, and we are focusing our energy on driving it into the clinic in 2019."
Initially, Skyhawk is targeting diseases driven by a type of RNA mis-splicing called "exon skipping," where key regions on the RNA are left out during the RNA splicing process. Skyhawk's proprietary technology enables the rational design of small molecules that target specific binding pocket regions on RNA, using both sequence and structural specificity, at particular moments in the RNA splicing process. By doing so, they reverse the mis-splicing and treat the disease.
"The ability to use small molecule therapeutics to selectively target RNA and correct RNA expression is potentially transformative," said Catherine Nuccio of Alexandria Venture Investments. "The technology has now moved beyond proof of concept and is applicable in a range of diseases for the benefit of a broad base of patients. We are excited to seed and support the team that helped to develop the initial technology and its mechanisms."
There are 50+ known diseases driven by exon skipping, from broad based neurological conditions to major cancers, and hundreds more driven by similar forms of RNA mis-expression.
Skyhawk Founders and Board of Directors
Skyhawk founders and founding board of directors include:
Skyhawk Founding Scientific Advisory Board
Skyhawk's founding scientific advisory board (SAB) is comprised of scientists with expertise in RNA-based disease and neurological conditions, mechanisms of RNA splicing, alternative splicing regulation in cancer, DNA replication and RNA structural biology. Members include:
"Skyhawk's founding team has unique depth of experience in this growing area of small molecule therapeutic development." said Tim Disney, founding investor in Skyhawk. "To support their mission we put together a long-term, science-focused group of investors, who share their humility in the face of this great opportunity, and a strong interest on getting drugs to patients, quickly."
Skyhawk Therapeutics is a drug discovery and development company focused on revolutionizing disease treatment with small molecules that correct RNA expression. Our founders are leading experts in small molecule therapeutics development for RNA-based disease. Our first drug candidates are targeted towards cancers and neurological conditions. The company is based in Waltham, Massachusetts. For more information, please visit: www.skyhawktx.com.
SOURCE Skyhawk Therapeutics, Inc.
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