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Gilding the Goldfinch

Why Third Rock is betting Goldfinch can bring innovation to kidney disease

In launching Goldfinch Biopharma Inc., Third Rock is extending its already heavy footprint in precision medicine into chronic kidney disease. The VC thinks the unfolding genetics in that field can yield disease-modifying therapies and a blueprint for finding the right patients.

Goldfinch was the fourth precision medicine newco in 2016 from Third Rock Ventures, and the 17th in its portfolio, but this is the firm’s first foray into kidney disease. Third Rock was the sole investor in the $55 million series A round in December that launched the company.

Partner Abbie Celniker, who is serving as Goldfinch’s interim CEO, told BioCentury part of the appeal is that nephrology is a relatively neglected therapeutic area where fast-moving basic science is starting to open up a range of translational avenues. She added that the platform fits well into Third Rock’s emphasis on “areas of medicine that are being better defined by genetics and deep biology then they had previously been.”

“There has not been an innovative therapy for chronic kidney disease developed in the last twenty-plus years. But the five-year mortality rate for dialysis is worse than for most cancers,” said Celniker.

Now, Celniker thinks the field is ready for a translational renaissance. “There’s been somewhat of an explosion in the understanding of the

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