Forward Therapeutics lands $50m to target chronic inflammation

Inflammation-targeting biopharma is first company to partner with new biotech VC Curie.Bio.   

Biopharma startup Forward Therapeutics has secured $50 million in a Series A financing round. The company says it is developing next-generation small molecule therapies for chronic immunological and inflammatory disorders.

While specific details about the company’s therapeutic approach and targeted indications are limited, chronic inflammation is a key factor in aging. The age-related increase in the levels of pro-inflammatory markers in blood and tissues, also known as inflammaging, is linked to multiple age-related diseases.

Forward says the funding, led by BVF Partners LP, with participation from RA Capital Management and OrbiMed, will support the advancement of the company’s pipeline of small molecule immune therapies into clinical development.

Forward is also the first company to partner with Curie.Bio, a new venture capital model in biotech that serves as both a “drug discovery copilot” and seed investor. Designed to assist founders in launching therapeutics companies, Curie.Bio claims to provide support from some of the world’s leading drug hunters, makers, experts, and vendors, as it aims to help companies increase the likelihood of developing successful medicines.

The founders of Forward have a strong track record in drug discovery. CEO Toufike Kanouni, with over two decades of experience in medicinal chemistry and drug discovery, has previously co-founded Kinnate Biopharma and worked in drug development at Quanticel Pharmaceuticals, Takeda, and SGX Pharmaceuticals.

“We are grateful to be supported by leading life sciences investors who recognize the potential of our novel therapies to impact the lives of millions of people living with chronic immunological and inflammatory conditions,” said Kanouni. “We would also like to thank the Curie.Bio team for their support which helped create an efficient operational model and accelerate our pipeline.”

CSO Ewan Taylor brings over 20 years of experience in immunology, gastroenterology, translational sciences, and drug discovery at the University of Glasgow, Scripps Research, and Takeda Pharmaceuticals.

“Our programs target key immunology nodes, aiming to reduce inflammation, promote healing and restore quality of life,” said Taylor. “Our goal is to expand global patient access to high quality medicines. We appreciate our investors support to help achieve our vision.”