Hodgkin lymphoma, light micrograph
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Flare Therapeutics today announced a $123 million Series B financing co-led by GordonMD Global Investments LP and Pfizer Ventures.

“Flare has taken on one of the most formidable challenges in drug discovery—drugging transcription factors,” said Craig D. Gordon, MD, Founder, and chief executive officer of GordonMD. “The company is making impressive strides enabled by its platform, which to date has successfully identified more than 150 switch sites across the majority of transcription factor families, providing opportunities to treat a broad range of diseases.”

Flare’s proprietary platform identifies novel druggable pockets, or “switch sites,” within transcription factor complexes. This information lets them know where to drug and how to tune gene expression to discover small molecule precision medicines for cancer and other diseases.

Proceeds from the financing will support a planned clinical trial in 2023 for Flare’s FX-909, its lead precision oncology program. FX-909 is a small molecule inhibitor targeting the PPARG transcription factor. It will first be tested in patients with advanced urothelial cancer.

The funding will also support advancement of the company’s oncology pipeline, including nomination of at least one additional development candidate in 2024.

Amit Rakhit, MD, MBA, president and chief executive officer of Flare, said, “This will be a pivotal year for Flare.”

“Transcription factors have long been viewed as prime therapeutic targets playing a key role in a broad range of diseases, particularly cancers, where they represent one-third of all oncogenes. While targeting transcription factors has the potential for incredible impact, their complex structure makes them notoriously difficult to drug, requiring a new approach and new thinking,” said Rob Sims, PhD, Co-founder and chief scientific officer at Flare.

He added, “From the very beginning, we knew this would require a world-class, cross-disciplinary team to not only think creatively about how to design the platform, but also how to apply translational insights to ensure efficient drug development at scale.”

The Flare drug discovery platform identifies switch sites within transcription factor complexes that dictate conformation and function. The platform layers chemoproteomics, functional biochemistry, covalent chemistry, and genetic insights. The company also has a proprietary library of compounds designed to modulate transcription factor behavior.

“We believe Flare’s differentiated and comprehensive approach to uncovering, targeting and systematically drugging switch sites on transcription factors may unlock the therapeutic potential of this class of targets, not only in oncology but in other indications as well,” said Irena Melnikova, PhD, Partner at Pfizer Ventures.

The financing included participation from existing investors Boxer Capital, Casdin Capital, Eventide Asset Management, Invus Financial Advisors, Nextech Invest and Third Rock Ventures and new investors Agent Capital, Eli Lilly and Company, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSK), Novartis, Pavilion Capital and ShangBay Capital.

In conjunction with the financing, Gordon and Irena Melnikova, PhD, Partner at Pfizer Ventures, have joined the Flare Board of Directors.

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