We are excited for our portfolio company Rodin Therapeutics, which is advancing its epigenetic programs for the treatment of Central Nervous System (CNS) disorders, who today announced the closing of its $12.9 million Series A financing round with our corporate venture team, Johnson & Johnson Development Corporation (JJDC) and Atlas Venture.
Epigenetics involves genetic control by factors other than an individual’s DNA sequence. Such factors switch genes on or off, determining which proteins are transcribed and expressed, and therefore can be important factors in disease.
Recently a wealth of data has revealed the importance of epigenetics in neuroplasticity. Epigenetic factors regulate which genes are expressed in neuronal synapses, and these modulators play an important role in learning and memory.
Although there are a number of drugs used in oncology that modulate epigenetic factors, the challenge is to identify highly specific agents that enable long-term use in the CNS.
As a company, we are deeply committed to discovering and to developing innovative treatments for Alzheimer’s disease, one of the most urgent public health challenges the world faces, and have been interested in epigenetics mechanisms in the CNS for several years.
When we came together last year with Atlas Venture and Proteros to begin the formative stages of Rodin, we were pleased to provide seed support and today we are again excited by the Series A investment that will allow the company to make progress validating its thesis.
The Johnson & Johnson Innovation team is also supporting the company through the involvement of our experts. Janssen R&D and Johnson & Johnson Innovation Center Neuroscience lead Dr. Jeffrey Nye is a member of Rodin’s scientific advisory board; Dr. Michelle Browner of Johnson & Johnson Innovation serves as the Partnership leader; and Dr. Marian Nakada of JJDC is on Rodin’s Board to lead the company strategically.
This type of approach aims to combine the nimbleness and flexibility of the startup Rodin with the technical and product development expertise of the Johnson & Johnson Family of Companies in a model that serves the needs of the entrepreneurs, investors, and partner institutions—ultimately speeding the path of new medicines to patients.