Rhythm announced today the completion of a $40 million Series A financing for its subsidiary, Rhythm Metabolic, Inc., which is developing setmelanotide (RM-493), a novel peptide MC4 agonist for the treatment of obesity caused by genetic deficiencies in the MC4 pathway. In this round, new investors OrbiMed, Deerfield Management, Wellington Management Company, and an undisclosed public healthcare investment fund joined existing investors MPM Capital, New Enterprise Associates, Third Rock Ventures, Pfizer Ventures, and Ipsen. Associated with the financing, Jonathan Silverstein, JD, Partner and Co-Head of Global Private Equity at OrbiMed, joined the Rhythm Metabolic Board of Directors.
"Rhythm is pioneering targeted therapy for life-threatening obesity caused by MC4 pathway genetic defects," said Mr. Silverstein. "This is a unique and exciting approach that has the potential for transformative effects in orphan obesity disorders such as Prader-Willi syndrome and POMC deficiency obesity. We are excited to help make the Rhythm program a success."
Prader-Willi syndrome (PWS) and POMC-deficiency obesity are rare genetic disorders of obesity associated with defects in the MC4 signaling pathway. A Phase 2a clinical trial is under way in PWS, evaluating the safety and efficacy of setmelanotide on weight and eating. A second Phase 2a clinical trial is evaluating the safety and efficacy of setmelanotide on weight and appetite in patients with POMC deficiency obesity. The company expects to initiate another Phase 2a study in an additional MC4 pathway genetic disorder of obesity, and to invest in clinical, and business infrastructure to support the upcoming clinical trials.
"Setmelanotide is essentially replacement therapy in genetic MC4 pathway defects, so we are now evaluating its impact on the obesity and hyperphagia that is the hallmark of Prader-Willi and POMC deficiency obesity," said Keith Gottesdiener, MD, CEO of Rhythm. "We are very excited for this outstanding group of investors to join us in developing a new paradigm for treating rare genetic disorders of obesity."