October 13, 2020

Novo Seeds co-leads Rappta Therapeutics Series A financing for the development of phosphatase 2A drugs

  • Unique phosphatase technology platform offers a new paradigm in oncology

  • EUR 9M financing to advance lead compounds to clinical candidate stage

  • Jeroen Bakker, Principal at Novo Seeds to join the Board

Novo Seeds, the early stage investment and company creation team of Novo Holdings, today announced an investment in Rappta Therapeutics (“Rappta”), an emerging biotech company focused on developing first-in-class anti-cancer drugs activating protein phosphatase 2A (PP2A). The investment is a part of a EUR 9M series A financing round.

PP2A is a critical enzyme regulating protein de-phosphorylation and a  key tumor suppressor which to date has been very difficult to target pharmaceutically. Rappta has developed proprietary tools and a unique understanding of PP2A which allows it to therapeutically reactivate PP2A. As a result of PP2A’s central role in the regulation of protein de-phosphorylation, Rappta’s PP2A-reactivating technologies offer the potential to develop multiple lead compounds and build a platform for a new class of anti-cancer drugs.

Rappta has assembled a strong scientific, management and commercial team based in Finland and the US. Rappta’s scientific team, led by CSO and co-founder, Professor Goutham Narla, Division Chief of Genetic Medicine at the University of Michigan, represents world-leading expertise in PP2A. The scientific team has published seminal papers on the structural, functional and biological mechanisms of PP2A inactivation in human cancer. The team will be supported by the Scientific Advisory Board lead by Dr. William Hahn, a Professor of Medicine at the Harvard Medical School and the Chief Scientific Officer at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.

As a resut of the financing, Jeroen Bakker, Principal at Novo Seeds will join the Board. Other investors in the Series A round include Novartis Venture Fund (“NVF”), Advent Life Sciences (“Advent”) and one family office

Jeroen Bakker, Principal, Novo Seeds, said: “We are impressed by the team’s pioneering work in PP2A-reactivating technologies. Novo Seeds’ strategy is to back teams from all over the globe with world class science and attract other bluechip investors to help transform these entreprises into successful business in the Nordics. We are very pleased to see renowned investors such as NVF and Advent investing in the region. We look forward to working with them as we support Rappta’s world-leading team translate their scientific and medical expertise in phosphatase biology into a clinical oncology biotech.”

Mikko Mannerkoski, CEO and co-founder of Rappta Therapeutics, commented: “We are very pleased to attract such a strong syndicate of international investors which validates our approach to developing novel therapies to target the previously undruggable target protein PP2A. This funding will enable us to accelerate the development of our platform and advance the lead compounds towards clinical development.”

The investment in Rappta follows recent Novo Seeds participation in Galecto’s Series D and Chromologics seed financing rounds.