• Novel Approach to Tissue Repair Holds Promise in Diverse Disease Indications

SEATTLE, WA – July 25, 2017 – Accelerator Corporation, a leading life science investment and management firm, today announced a $5.9 million Series A financing in Rodeo Therapeutics Corporation, a company developing small-molecule therapies designed to promote regeneration and repair of multiple tissue types. Investors participating in the financing include AbbVie Ventures, Alexandria Venture Investments, ARCH Venture Partners, Eli Lilly and Company, Johnson & Johnson Innovation – JJDC, Inc., Watson Fund, L.P., WRF Capital and WuXi AppTec.

“Tissue damage and degradation play critical roles in the development and progression of a broad array of disease indications, including a variety of inflammatory diseases,” said Sanford Markowitz, M.D., Ph.D., the Markowitz-Ingalls Professor of Cancer Genetics and Distinguished University Professor at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine and a founder of Rodeo Therapeutics. “The ability to stimulate the body’s natural processes for tissue regeneration and repair has broad therapeutic potential in disease settings such as ulcerative colitis and in hemopoietic recovery following bone marrow transplantation. Rodeo Therapeutics is focused on developing small-molecule therapies that stimulate these processes and enable new approaches to address serious medical conditions that today have a substantial unmet medical need.”

“Rodeo Therapeutics’ founding scientists have achieved a level of biology and medicinal chemistry for their lead product candidate that is advanced beyond what we would typically see in an academic setting,” said David M. Schubert, chief operating officer of Accelerator Corporation. “We believe that this Series A investment will provide the financial resources to rapidly advance the company’s development program toward human trials, which will open the door to an exciting new therapeutic approach that has significant clinical and commercial potential.”

Rodeo Therapeutics’ scientific approach is based on research conducted by world-renowned scientists at Case Western Reserve University and the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center (UT Southwestern). In addition to Dr. Markowitz, the company’s founding scientists are Stanton Gerson, M.D., and Joseph Ready, Ph.D.

  • Dr. Markowitz is an NCI Outstanding Investigator Awardee and principal investigator of the Case GI SPORE, one of five NCI centers awarded nationally for excellence in gastrointestinal cancer research. He has conducted seminal research in the genetic causes of colon cancer and was instrumental in the development of a novel stool DNA test that has won FDA approval for the early detection of colon cancer. His contributions have been recognized with the Hamdan Award for Medical Research Excellence from the government of Dubai and a Top 10 Award from the Clinical Research Forum.
  • Dr. Gerson is director of the Case Comprehensive Cancer Center, the Asa and Patricia Shiverick–Jane Shiverick (Tripp) Professor of Hematological Oncology and founding director of the Ohio Wright Center for Stem Cell and Regenerative Medicine, now called the National Center for Regenerative Medicine. Dr. Gerson has extensive expertise in stem cell research and has led the development of both cell and gene therapies that promote tissue and DNA repair. His research has generated 12 patents in the area of gene therapy and cancer drug development that have been licensed to three companies.
  • Dr. Ready is a professor in the Department of Biochemistry at University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center and the director of the Medicinal Chemistry Laboratory. His research focuses on synthetic and medicinal chemistry in the areas of regenerative medicine, neurodegeneration and oncology. Three previous research projects from his group have been licensed by pharmaceutical companies for further development.

About Rodeo Therapeutics
Rodeo Therapeutics is focused on developing small-molecule therapies that increase tissue levels of prostaglandin PGE2. Preclinical studies published in Science have shown that increasing PGE2 through inhibition of a prostaglandin-degrading enzyme (15-PGDH) accelerates hematopoietic stem cell reconstitution following bone marrow transplant, protects against colitis and promotes liver regeneration in a variety of animal models.1 The company will initially focus on developing 15-PGDH inhibitors for the treatment of inflammatory bowel disease and promoting blood cell reconstitution following bone marrow transplant.

1 Zhang Y et al. Science. 2015;348(6240):aaa2340. doi: 10.1126/science.aaa2340