06 Apr Volastra Therapeutics extends seed financing to $44 million to advance drug discovery programs to prevent cancer metastasis
Company founded by Polaris Partners with latest financing led by Vida Ventures
Funding will support advancement of novel approaches to predict and target metastasis, one of the biggest unsolved challenges in cancer
New York, April 6, 2021 – Volastra Therapeutics, a biotechnology company developing novel therapies for the prevention and treatment of metastatic cancer, today announced the extension of its original $12 million seed round to a total of $44 million. New investors Vida Ventures and Catalio Capital Management joined a syndicate that includes Polaris Partners, Droia Ventures, ARCH Venture Partners and Quark Venture.
The funding supports the further build-out of Volastra’s technology platform, which exploits unique insights into chromosomal instability to rapidly identify and validate novel targets to block metastasis. In the U.S. alone, more than 350,000 people a year are diagnosed with metastatic cancer. Less than a third respond to targeted or immuno-therapies, making metastasis one of the most pressing unsolved challenges in cancer.
“The support of our new and existing investors reflects the increasing interest around CIN as a core driver in cancer biology,” said Charles Hugh-Jones, M.D., Volastra’s Chief Executive Officer. “This latest financing places us in a position of strength to advance our bold vision to change the treatment paradigm for patients with metastatic cancers.”
“Our initial investment in Volastra reflected our excitement about the potential of this novel approach to address an unmet need in oncology,” said Amy Schulman, Volastra Director and Managing Partner, Polaris. “With this seed extension, we are delighted to expand our syndicate with Vida Ventures and Catalio Capital Management, who share our commitment to identifying and funding innovation that has the potential to have a meaningful impact for patients.”
Volastra’s scientific founders were the first to identify chromosomal instability (CIN) as a key driver of metastatic cancer. The company is developing proprietary computational and experimental approaches to understand CIN biology and drive drug discovery. Among Volastra’s tools is a proprietary technology suite to bulk-measure and exploit vulnerabilities in chromosomally unstable cancer cells.
“Volastra’s approach is focused on defining and treating the biology of metastasis,” said Lewis Cantley, Ph.D., Professor of Cancer Biology in Medicine and Meyer Director of the Sandra and Edward Meyer Cancer Center, Weill Cornell Medical College. “In just over a year, the Volastra team has shepherded this science into the next stage of development, building technologies to identify CIN at scale and developing novel compounds to block metastasis. By leveraging these unique insights into CIN, we are one step closer to unlocking new therapeutic options for some of the toughest-to-treat solid tumors.”
Volastra recently announced a partnership with Dewpoint Therapeutics to discover novel molecules capable of blocking immuno-suppressive signaling in CIN-high tumors. In addition, Volastra announced a collaboration with Microsoft to develop proprietary artificial intelligence algorithms to detect and predict metastatic potential in human tissue samples.
About Volastra Therapeutics, Inc.
Volastra Therapeutics is pioneering novel approaches to halt or prevent cancer metastasis, one of the major unsolved challenges in cancer treatment. Co-founders Lewis Cantley, Ph.D., Olivier Elemento, Ph.D. and Samuel Bakhoum, M.D., Ph.D., made seminal discoveries about the role of chromosomal instability in driving cancer spread. Volastra is built on those insights. Based in West Harlem, N.Y., Volastra is committed to improving outcomes for people living with cancer.
For more information, please visit volastratx.com.