CAMBRIDGE, Mass., Nov. 26, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Rheostat Therapeutics, a biotech company focused on the discovery of novel treatments for neurodegeneration, cognition and rare diseases, today announced the close of a Series A financing round totaling $23 million. Proceeds will be used to advance its programs towards clinical trials, build its internal team and expand studies evaluating biomarkers.

The round was co-led by MRLV and AbbVie Ventures, and included Amgen Ventures, Alexandria Venture Investments and Mayo Clinic. Existing investors SV Health Investors and the Dementia Discovery Fund also participated. As part of this latest round of financing the company will be expanding its board to include Reza Halse, President of MRLV, and John Gustofson, Managing Director at AbbVie Ventures.

Rheostat is working to develop novel treatments for neurodegenerative disease through modulation of mitophagy and autophagy. Its central thesis is that the degradation of toxic cellular components is a fundamental node of biology. The mutations that impair these clearance pathways have been linked with multiple neurodegenerative diseases, many of which are associated with cognitive impairment like Parkinson’s disease. The company is working to leverage its understanding of these pathways to discover and develop novel small molecules that will restore cellular balance and treat neurodegenerative and rare diseases.

“Mitophagy and autophagy represent a fundamental, powerful node of biology with the real potential to improve the lives of patients suffering from a range of neurodegenerative diseases and senescence. Our investors have provided our world-class scientific team with the funding to continue to build Rheostat and advance our programs toward the clinic,” said Joshua Resnick, MD Chairman and Interim CEO of the company.

Rheostat was incubated and seeded by SV Health Investors and the Dementia Discovery Fund and founded by Tim Harris, EVP R&D at Bioverativ, a Sanofi company; Wade Harper, Chair & Professor of Cell Biology at Harvard Medical School and the Bert and Natalie Vallee Professor of Molecular Pathology; Tony Hyman, Director of the Max Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics: Dresden, Germany; and Ivan Dikic, Director of the Institute of Biochemistry II at the University Clinic, Frankfurt. The company’s Chief Scientific Officer is Magdalene Moran, and it is also guided by a Scientific Advisory Board, comprised of the founders, Wolfdieter Springer, Ph.D., (Mayo Clinic) and Bernardo Sabatini, MD, Ph.D., (Alice and Rodman W. Moorhead III Professor of Neurobiology, Harvard Medical School; and HHMI Investigator).

About MRLV
MRLV is the therapeutics focused venture capital group within Merck. MRLV is disease area and therapeutic modality agnostic, investing globally in early-stage companies developing highly differentiated medicines based on groundbreaking science. The MRLV team has deep venture capital expertise and, where appropriate, leverages the substantial resources of Merck to benefit its portfolio companies.

About AbbVie Ventures
AbbVie Ventures is the strategic investment arm of AbbVie, the global biopharmaceutical company. A core component of AbbVie's integrated approach to external innovation, we invest in very early stage transformational scientific opportunities that augment AbbVie's core R&D areas within oncology, immunology and neurodegenerative diseases. We work closely with management teams of portfolio companies to support them in executing on their development goals to achieve the best outcomes. For more information, please visit: https://www.abbvie.com/partnerships/abbvie-ventures.html.

About Amgen Ventures
Amgen Ventures provides emerging biotechnology companies with financial and other resources to develop pioneering discoveries focused on human therapeutics. Since 2004, Amgen Ventures has invested in biotechnology companies to advance promising medicines and technologies that could ultimately make a difference for patients suffering from serious illnesses. Leveraging Amgen's industry leadership, deep knowledge, and longstanding expertise in biotechnology, Amgen Ventures' investments are made in areas of strategic focus for the company to support innovation and generate financial return.

About Alexandria Venture Investments
Alexandria Venture Investments, founded in 1996, is the strategic venture capital arm of Alexandria Real Estate Equities, Inc. Alexandria Venture Investments focuses on novel, breakthrough discoveries in biopharma, diagnostics, research tools, agtech and technology. Based on its experience and in-depth understanding of the life science and technology industries, its long-term relationships with leading investors and its world-class international scientific advisory network, Alexandria Venture Investments is uniquely positioned to fund seed-, early- and growth-stage companies.

About Mayo Clinic
Mayo Clinic is a nonprofit organization committed to clinical practice, education and research, providing expert, comprehensive care to everyone who needs healing. Learn more about Mayo ClinicVisit the Mayo Clinic News Network.

About SV Health Investors
SV Health Investors, formerly named SV Life Sciences, is a healthcare and life sciences venture capital and growth equity firm. SV targets early-stage opportunities in biotechnology; early-stage and revenue-stage opportunities in medical devices; and growth equity investments for later-stage businesses in healthcare services and digital health. Over the past 20 years, SV Health Investors has invested in more than 175 companies. The firm currently has over $2.5 billion of capital commitments under management. SV Health Investors has offices in Boston and London. For more information, please visit www.svhealthinvestors.com.

About the Dementia Discovery Fund (DDF)
The DDF is a venture capital fund which invests in projects and companies to discover and develop novel, effective disease-modifying therapeutics for dementia. Seven leading pharmaceutical companies (Biogen, Eli Lilly and Company, GSK, Johnson & Johnson, Otsuka (Astex), Pfizer and Takeda), AARP, Aegon, Bill Gates, British Patient Capital, NFL Players Association, Quest Diagnostics, UnitedHealth Group, Woodford Investment Management via Woodford Patient Capital Trust (WPCT), the UK’s Department of Health and Social Care and charity Alzheimer’s Research UK have invested in the DDF to date. Heads of Neuroscience and R&D represent these strategic investors on the DDF Scientific Advisory Board and work closely with SV’s dedicated team of neuroscientists and experts to identify and evaluate novel approaches for the treatment of dementia. SV won the bid to become Manager in a competitive selection process held in 2015. www.theddfund.com

Contact:
Katarina Wenk-Bodenmiller
Sommerfield Communications
(212) 255-8386
Katarina@sommerfield.com