Type of information: Financing round
Company: Skyhawk Therapeutics (USA - MA)
Investors: Tim Disney, the Duke of Bedford, Alexandria Venture Investments (USA - MA) and other undisclosed private investors
Amount: $ 8 million
Funding type: financing round
- Skyhawk Therapeutics is a new drug discovery and development company focused on the discovery and development of small molecule therapeutics that correct RNA expression. Proceeds of the financing will advance Skyhawk's portfolio of specific and selective small molecules that initially target RNA exon skipping, which drives a set of 50+ diseases that include both broad-based neurological conditions and previously "undruggable" oncogenes in cancer. The company's first drug candidate targets a set of exon-skipping-driven cancer indications, Initially, Skyhawk is targeting diseases driven by a type of RNA mis-splicing called "exon skipping," where key regions on the RNA are left out during the RNA splicing process. Skyhawk's proprietary technology enables the rational design of small molecules that target specific binding pocket regions on RNA, using both sequence and structural specificity, at particular moments in the RNA splicing process. By doing so, they reverse the mis-splicing and treat the disease. There are 50+ known diseases driven by exon skipping, from broad based neurological conditions to major cancers, and hundreds more driven by similar forms of RNA mis-expression.
- • On January 23, 2018, Skyhawk Therapeutics announced the close of $8 million in seed funding led by major family and biotech investors, including Tim Disney, the Duke of Bedford, Alexandria Venture Investments, and other undisclosed private investors.
Skyhawk founders and founding board of directors include:
- William Haney, Skyhawk co-founder and executive chairman of the Skyhawk board of directors, and co-founder and CEO of Dragonfly Therapeutics. Bill is currently CEO of Dragonfly Therapeutics, a Boston-based biotech that develops novel first-in-class therapeutics targeted at natural killer (NK) cells and other cells of the innate immune system. He is an investor and entrepreneur, having started or helped start more than a dozen technology companies.
Kathleen McCarthy, Skyhawk co-founder and CEO. Kathleen is a leading expert in developing small molecules to target RNA splicing. As a pre-clinical scientist at the Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA) Foundation in New York and at Roche in Basel, Switzerland, Kathleen helped bring the first-ever small molecule therapeutic targeting mRNA-protein interactions to clinical trials in SMA. She is a co-inventor and co-author on numerous patents and publications describing small molecules that specifically and selectively target RNA expression.
Kevin Koch, Skyhawk founding board member, venture partner with OrbiMed Advisors, LLC and President and CEO of Edgewise Therapeutics. Dr. Koch was formerly SVP of Drug Discovery: Chemical and Molecular Therapeutics at Biogen, where he managed global drug discovery and immunology. He was the co-founder of Array BioPharma, where he oversaw the invention of over 20 clinical development candidates, and has held senior positions at Amgen Inc. and Pfizer Central Research.
Andrew Boyd, Skyhawk founding board member and Fidelity Head of Global Equity Capital Markets. Andrew is head of Global Equity Capital Markets at Fidelity Management & Research Company, where he leads the private equity investments across the Fidelity funds. In this role he has been at the forefront of technology development, and has been a leading investor in firms such as Uber, Snapchat and SpaceX.
Andrew Bedford, Skyhawk founding board member, technology investor and Duke of Bedford, England. Andrew currently manages a broad portfolio of London properties, and, as the 15th Duke of Bedford, England, serves as a British nobleman and peer. He is an investor and board member in numerous companies with 30+ years' experience in international real estate and technology.
Skyhawk Founding Scientific Advisory Board
Skyhawk's founding scientific advisory board (SAB) is comprised of scientists with expertise in RNA-based disease and neurological conditions, mechanisms of RNA splicing, alternative splicing regulation in cancer, DNA replication and RNA structural biology. Members include:
- Friedrich Metzger, founding chairman of the Skyhawk scientific advisory board and former Head of Discovery Rare Diseases at Roche. Dr. Metzger is a leading scientist in RNA-based disease and neurological conditions. At Roche, Dr. Metzger spent 15 years running drug discovery programs for Alzheimer's, ALS, Parkinson's, Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy and Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA). He is the senior author on the Science and Nature papers describing the first small molecules that could specifically and selectively target RNA expression.
Jacqueline A. Lees, founding member of the Skyhawk scientific advisory board, Associate Director of the Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research, and Professor of Biology at MIT. Dr. Lees is a leading scientist in cancer cell cycle regulation and alternative splicing regulation in cancer. Her research focuses on metastasis and personalized medicine, and the genetic causes of cancer.
Adrian Krainer, founding member of the Skyhawk scientific advisory board, member of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences, and Professor at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory. Dr. Krainer is a world expert on the role of mRNA splicing proteins in cancer, and neurological and rare diseases. His lab is leading the understanding of mechanisms of RNA splicing, and the means by which faulty splicing can be corrected.
Steven Bell, founding member of the Skyhawk scientific advisory board, Investigator at Howard Hughes Medical Institute, member of the National Academy of Sciences, and Professor of Biology at MIT. Dr. Bell is a leading scientist in the study of DNA replication, with an emphasis on how assembly of enzymes is regulated during the cell cycle to ensure genomic maintenance.
Frédéric Allain, founding member of the Skyhawk scientific advisory board and Professor/Head of the Institute of Molecular Biology and Biophysics at ETH, Zurich, Switzerland. Dr. Allain is a leading scientist in the role of RNA in disease and the use of NMR technology to elucidate the structure of protein RNA complexes. He and his team are exp
Therapeutic area: Cancer - Oncology - Neurological diseases