Pharma Focus America

Marea Therapeutics Begins Operations with $190 Million to Advance Innovative Cardiometabolic Disease Therapies

Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Marea Therapeutics, a biotechnology company launched by Third Rock Ventures, announced today that it has secured $190 million in combined Series A and B financings. The Series A round was led by Third Rock Ventures, while the Series B round was led by Sofinnova Investments and co-led by Forbion, Perceptive Xontogeny Venture Fund, and venBio. Other participants included Alpha Wave Global, Omega Funds, Surveyor Capital (a Citadel company), and Third Rock Ventures as the founding investor. This funding will support the advancement of Marea’s MAR001 Phase 2 development plan and other pipeline programs aimed at addressing cardiometabolic diseases.

According to Dr. Josh Lehrer, M.D., M.Phil., FACC, CEO of Marea, the company aims to revolutionize the treatment of cardiometabolic diseases by leveraging insights from human genetics and expertise in adipose function. Their approach targets genetically validated pathways that address critical yet unmet needs in cardiometabolic disease management.

Dr. Jeffrey Tong, Ph.D., a partner at Third Rock Ventures and board member, highlighted Marea's potential to lead in the cardiometabolic disease space with its strong scientific foundation, experienced leadership, and promising pipeline, including the lead candidate MAR001.

MAR001 is a monoclonal antibody designed to inhibit ANGPTL4, a protein highly expressed in adipose tissue. By blocking ANGPTL4, MAR001 aims to enhance adipose tissue lipoprotein lipase (LPL) activity, thereby reducing remnant cholesterol levels, improving metabolic function, and lowering cardiovascular risks. Remnant cholesterol, carried by triglyceride-rich lipoproteins, is a significant contributor to cardiovascular events independent of traditional risk factors like LDL cholesterol, diabetes, or obesity. Currently, there are no targeted therapies available for lowering remnant cholesterol or improving metabolic dysfunction.

Human genetic studies have validated ANGPTL4 as a promising therapeutic target, with genetic variants that impair ANGPTL4 function associated with improved triglyceride distribution, enhanced insulin sensitivity, and protection against cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes.

Preclinical studies with MAR001 have demonstrated reductions in triglycerides, remnant cholesterol, and ectopic fat, along with improvements in insulin sensitivity. Phase 1 results have been promising, leading to Phase 2 clinical development for adults with metabolic dysfunction.

Dr. Ethan J. Weiss, M.D., co-founder and chief scientific officer of Marea, emphasized MAR001's potential to address underlying adipose dysfunction in metabolic syndrome, an area inadequately addressed by current therapies.

Dr. Maha Katabi, Ph.D., general partner at Sofinnova Investments, expressed excitement about MAR001's clinical potential and Marea's expertise in advancing novel therapies for cardiometabolic diseases.

In addition to MAR001, Marea is advancing a pipeline of candidates targeting other critical nodes in cardiometabolic disease pathways.

Marea's leadership team includes experts in human genetics, adipocyte biology, and drug development for cardiometabolic diseases. The founding team consists of Dr. Charles Homcy, M.D., Dr. Sir Stephen O’Rahilly, M.D., FRS, Dr. Joshua Rabinowitz, M.D., Ph.D., and Dr. Ethan J. Weiss, M.D.

The management team is led by Dr. Josh Lehrer, M.D., M.Phil., FACC, as CEO, and includes Dr. Christine Garrett, Ph.D., as chief strategy officer, Mark Joing, MBA, as chief development operations officer, and Dr. Ethan J. Weiss, M.D., as chief scientific officer.

The board of directors includes Dr. Ted Love, M.D., as chairman, Dr. Antoine Boulanger, Ph.D., Jung Choi, MBA, Chris Garabedian, Dr. Maha Katabi, Dr. Josh Lehrer, Dr. Aaron Royston, M.D., and Dr. Jeffrey Tong, Ph.D.

Dr. Ted Love expressed optimism about Marea's potential to lead innovation in cardiometabolic diseases and collaborate effectively to advance MAR001 and other promising therapies.

Marea Therapeutics is positioned to become a leading player in the biotechnology landscape, focusing on pioneering treatments for cardiometabolic diseases through innovative scientific approaches and cutting-edge development programs.



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