After back-to-back funding rounds, Rapport Therapeutics, Inc. is soaring toward a “new frontier” in neuromedicine.
The clinical-stage biotech launched out of stealth mode in March with a $100 million Series A and before even reaching cruising altitude was refueled with a $150 million Series B last month.
“We launched with extraordinary momentum,” said Rapport CEO Abraham Ceesay. “We did not have a major data release, but we did show meaningful progress across both our clinical stage program as well as our discovery platform that really gave investors insight into the promise of Rapport, which is really bringing precision neuromedicine to life.”
Rapport was conceived and created through a collaboration between Third Rock Ventures and Johnson & Johnson Innovation – JJDC, Inc. (JJDC), based on research by founder and Chief Scientific Officer David Bredt, M.D., Ph.D. at Janssen Research & Development’s San Diego lab.
Rapport’s platform is based on targeting receptor-associated proteins (RAPs).
“By targeting the protein rather than the receptor, it allows us to actually focus on only the neuro-anatomical region of interest, or in other cases, only the sensory neuron of interest,” Ceesay said. “By doing it in this precise way, we spare the other areas of the brain – spare other sensory neurons that we know lead to some of the off-target effects and adverse effects that plague so many neuro-medicines.’
Rapport’s lead program is currently in Phase 1 studies, which are expected to be finished by the end of the year. The program will then move into proof-of-concept studies in epilepsy treatment-resistant seizure disorders and a psychiatric indication, Ceesay said. Possible psychiatric disorders to target include bipolar, acute mania, major depression and PTSD.
“We have the opportunity to really improve care across many neurological conditions,” he said, adding that Rapport’s broad-based, precision approach can solve the “significant issues” with current neuromedicines – adverse effects and limited efficacy. “We are working in an area that we believe is the next frontier of the neuroscience industry.”
Top life science investors also believe in Rapport’s new frontier in neuroscience.
“The need for precision neuromedicines has been clear for decades but finding the right scientific approach to achieve such precision has been a challenge. Rapport’s team has not only identified a powerful approach, they have developed a broad platform that brings this opportunity within reach across multiple neurological disorders,” said Steven Paul, M.D., chairman of the Rapport board of directors and advisory partner at Third Rock Ventures. “The decision to create Rapport in collaboration with JJDC is a bold and exciting step toward ushering in a new era of precision neuromedicines.”
In addition to Third Rock and JJDC, Rapport’s Series A round included investments from ARCH Venture Partners.
August’s Series B round was led by Cormorant Asset Management, and included Fidelity Management & Research Company, Goldman Sachs Asset Management, Logos Capital, Perceptive Advisors, Sofinnova Investments, Surveyor Capital (a Citadel company), funds and accounts advised by T. Rowe Price Associates, Inc., and the three existing investors from the Series A in March.
“I am thrilled to join the Rapport team during such an exciting period of growth, and to work with its scientists as well as one of the most esteemed groups of scientific advisors in the biotechnology community,” said Raymond Kelleher, M.D., Ph.D., managing director of Cormorant Asset Management, who joined Rapport’s board concurrent with the financing round. “I look forward to contributing to the success of a team that possesses such a deep determination to change the lives of patients living with neurological diseases.”
James Healy, M.D., Ph.D., managing partner of Sofinnova Investments, was also appointed to the Rapport board.
Ceesay said the capital raised through both funding rounds will take the company into 2027 and through results of proof-of-concept clinical trials of its lead program across two indications. The funding will also go toward the development of candidates for Rapport’s discovery platform.
Rapport will divide the efforts between its two headquarters of Boston and San Diego.
Ceesay said the bicoastal headquarters are a product of the company’s origin as a partnership between Third Rock Ventures, which is based in Boston and where the company’s clinical development and general and administrative functions are now located, and the Janssen arm of Johnson & Johnson, which is based in San Diego where the discovery science team, including founder Bredt, are located.
“We felt what was best is continuing to allow that team to hit the ground running,” Ceesay added.
Rapport Therapeutics, Inc.
CEO: Abraham Ceesay
Headquarters: San Diego and Boston
Business: neuromedicine biotech
Funding: $250 million (Series A and B)
Notable: Rapport leadership and board have established track records of innovation in neuroscience and drug discovery, with past experience at Cerevel Therapeutics, Zogenix, Eli Lilly, J&J, Karuna, Incyte, and Bristol Myers Squibb.