Nearly four months after Syros Pharmaceuticals licensed a drug from a company in Japan, it’s secured $40 million to move the drug into mid-stage trials. The funding adds to $83 million raised in the last two years, and was led by Deerfield Management Company, with participation from new investors Casdin Capital and existing investors Fidelity Management and Research Company, WuXi Healthcare Ventures, Polaris Partners, Redmile Group, Aisling Capital and Alexandria Venture Investments.
Founded by world-leading experts in gene regulation, and led by a seasoned management team, Syros is focused on developing new medicines that control genes that cause disease. Central to their approach is a proprietary drug development platform of integrated gene control assay technologies, computational biology, chemistry, and deep biologic insights that gives us an unprecedented understanding of and control over gene regulation. Their pioneering research and drug development capabilities provide them with the distinctive ability to identify new, important disease and patient-targeted gene control medicines.
Syros’ platform maps gene control circuits in human disease tissue and identifies optimal points of intervention for therapeutics. Their platform identifies important genes controlling cell state and disease. Through the construction of differential gene control maps, new molecular targets can be identified in much the same way that disease driving genes such as oncogenes have been identified through mutational analysis. Their platform also identifies optimal approaches to disrupt gene control machinery. By disrupting the switches themselves, multiple disease-associated genes can be reduced with a single molecular intervention. Support for this approach is described in a recent publication by Syros’ scientific founders. In this seminal work, scientists showed that inhibition of a gene control factor with a novel, small molecule inhibitor caused selective reduction in expression of disease causing genes in blood cancers. Importantly, Syros’ platform can identify specific patients most likely to respond to these gene control therapies.