Bitterroot Bio Launches Out of Stealth with $145 million Series A Financing to Develop Transformative Medicines in Cardio-immunology

Founders, Executive Team, and Advisors are recognized scientific and clinical pioneers in the fields of immunology and cardiology

Series A financing co-led by ARCH Venture Partners and Deerfield Management with participation from GV, Koch Disruptive Technologies, Alexandria Venture Investments, and others

PALO ALTO, Calif. – Bitterroot Bio, a biotechnology company focused on developing novel immunotherapies in cardiovascular disease, announced today a $145 million Series A financing round co-led by ARCH Venture Partners and Deerfield Management with participation from GV, Koch Disruptive Technologies, Alexandria Venture Investments, and others.

The company, founded in 2021 but announced publicly today, is focused on developing and delivering innovative therapeutics that harness the power of immune modulation to treat cardiovascular disease, which is the leading cause of death worldwide.  The name was inspired by our co-founders’ connections to the Bitterroot mountains and river in Montana.

The company’s Board of Directors includes Steve Gillis, PhD (Chairman), Andrew ElBardissi, MD, Nick Leeper, MD, Irv Weissman, MD, and Pavan Cheruvu, MD, with Anthony Philippakis, MD, PhD, and David Mauney, MD, participating as observers.

“Cardiovascular disease represents an enormous global health burden, and there is a pressing need for safe and effective therapies,” said Dr. Cheruvu, President and CEO of Bitterroot Bio.  “Our team is excited to leverage our deep expertise in immunology and cardiology to develop transformative therapies that have the potential to improve outcomes for patients with atherosclerosis and other serious cardiovascular disorders. With his decades of experience in cardiovascular drug development, Dr. Craig Basson, our Chief Medical Officer, is well-positioned to lead our talented R&D team and advance Bitterroot’s pipeline.”

Bitterroot Bio’s approach is based on the latest advances in immunology, including the identification of novel targets and the development of innovative protein therapies.  The company’s lead program targeting the CD47/SIRPα pathway is designed to address the underlying dysfunction that contributes to atherosclerosis, a disease characterized by the buildup of plaque in arteries that can lead to heart attacks and stroke.

“We are pleased to partner with Bitterroot Bio as they work to bring groundbreaking medicines to patients with cardiovascular diseases,” said Dr. Steve Gillis, Chairman of the Board and managing director at ARCH Venture Partners.  “The team’s depth of experience as scientific pioneers, drug developers, and accomplished biopharma leaders makes them an ideal partner for us.”

Bitterroot Bio was founded by a team of world-class scientists and biotechnology company builders:

  • Nick Leeper, MD, Chief of Vascular Medicine, Professor, and Director of Vascular Research at Stanford University
  • Irv Weissman, MD, Professor of Biology and Founding Director of the Institute for Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine at Stanford University, and Member, National Academy of Sciences
  • Lou Lange, MD, PhD, General Partner, Asset Management Ventures, and former Chairman and CEO, CV Therapeutics
  • The late John C. Martin, PhD, MBA, former Chairman and CEO of Gilead Sciences

The company’s Clinical and Scientific Advisory Boards include renowned thought leaders, for example:

  • Christie Ballantyne, MD, Chief of the Section of Cardiovascular Research, and J.S. Abercrombie Chair of Atherosclerosis and Lipoprotein Research at Baylor College of Medicine
  • Bob Harrington, MD, Chair, Department of Medicine, and Arthur L. Bloomfield Professor of Medicine and Health Policy (by courtesy) at Stanford University
  • Douglas Mann, MD, Ada L. Steininger Professor of Cardiology, and Professor of Medicine, Cell Biology, and Physiology, Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis
  • Kathryn Moore, PhD, Jean and David Belchman Professor of Cardiology, New York University
  • Matthias Nahrendorf, MD, Richard Moerschner Endowed Chair at the MGH Research Institute, and Professor of Radiology at Massachusetts General Hospital
  • Daniel Rader, MD, Seymour Gray Professor of Molecular Medicine, Chair, Department of Genetics, and Chief of the Division of Translational Medicine and Human Genetics, Perelman School of Medicine at University of Pennsylvania
  • Paul Ridker, MD, Eugene Braunwald Professor of Medicine, Brigham and Women’s Hospital
  • Jonathan Weinsaft, MD, Chief of Division of Cardiology (incoming) at New York Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center, and Antonio M. Gotto Jr., MD, Professor in Atherosclerosis and Lipid Research at Weill Cornell Medicine

Dr. Nick Leeper and Dr. Irv Weissman, co-founders and Directors of Bitterroot said, “Having a team of capable leaders is critical to Bitterroot’s long-term success – leaders that not only bring the expertise, but also passion and drive for our ambitious mission to rewrite the practice of cardiology.  Pavan has an extensive background in corporate strategy and portfolio development, which is complemented by Craig’s successful track record leading cardiovascular drug development programs at Novartis and other biopharmaceutical companies.  Their collective experience as physicians and business leaders makes them ideally suited to contribute to our company’s growth.”

Pavan Cheruvu, MD, President and Chief Executive Officer

Dr. Pavan K. Cheruvu is the President and Chief Executive Officer at Bitterroot Bio. Prior to joining Bitterroot, Dr. Cheruvu was an early executive team member at Roivant Sciences and served as CEO of Sio Gene Therapies. Over the course of his career, he has worked with multiple biotechnology and medical device companies, as well as in the public sector, with focus areas spanning cardiology, infectious diseases, neurology, oncology, and women’s health. Dr. Cheruvu previously worked as a management consultant at McKinsey & Company, where he implemented R&D strategy and transformation for biopharmaceutical firms across North America, Asia, and Europe.  He also serves on the Board of Advisors of Life Sciences Cares Bay Area.

Dr. Cheruvu holds undergraduate degrees in biomedical engineering, electrical engineering, and chemistry from Duke University and an MSc in computer science from the University of Oxford, where he was a Rhodes Scholar. He went on to earn an MD in a joint program between Harvard Medical School and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Dr. Cheruvu completed his residency in internal medicine at Johns Hopkins Hospital and trained as a fellow in cardiovascular medicine at the University of California, San Francisco.

Craig Basson, MD, PhD, Chief Medical Officer

Dr. Craig T. Basson is the Chief Medical Officer at Bitterroot Bio. A veteran of the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries, as well as academia, Dr. Basson spent a decade at Novartis, where he was Global Head of Translational Medicine for the Cardiovascular and Metabolic Therapeutic Areas. In 2020, he joined Boston Pharmaceuticals as the Chief Medical Officer, where he led a broad pipeline of molecules in general medicine and oncology before serving as interim Co-Chief Executive Officer. Prior to joining the biotechnology industry, Dr. Basson was the Harriman Professor of Cardiology and Internal Medicine and Director of Cardiovascular Research at Cornell University Medical College, where he led the Greenberg Center for Molecular Cardiology.

Dr. Basson holds a BA and MA in biology from Washington University, St. Louis, and earned an MSc in physiological sciences from the University of Oxford, where he was a Marshall Scholar. He then went on to earn an MD and PhD from Yale University. Dr. Basson completed his residency in internal medicine at Johns Hopkins Hospital and his clinical cardiology fellowship and cardiovascular genetics postdoctoral fellowship at Harvard University and the Brigham and Women’s Hospital.

About Bitterroot Bio

Bitterroot Bio is committed to pioneering the emerging field of cardio-immunology, which investigates the interplay between the immune system and cardiovascular health. The company, co-founded by Dr. Irv Weissman and Dr. Nick Leeper at Stanford University, closed a $145 million Series A financing co-led by ARCH Venture Partners and Deerfield Management with participation from GV, Koch Disruptive Technologies, Alexandria Venture Investments, and others. Bitterroot Bio’s research has uncovered the critical roles that immune cells and modulators of inflammation play in the initiation and progression of cardiovascular disease. The company’s lead product, BRB-002, targets the CD47/SIRPα pathway to address the underlying causes of atherosclerosis and vascular inflammation. Our ultimate goal is to provide new hope to those suffering from cardiovascular disease and transform the way these diseases are treated.

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Contact:  Lori Clerkin, Bitterroot Bio, Inc., [email protected], (650) 407-2004

Bitterroot Bio is a privately held company dedicated to the pursuit of breakthroughs in cardiovascular medicine. We are committed to improving the lives of patients, and we believe that focusing on research and development is the best way to achieve that goal. We do not engage in, support, or advocate on behalf of political, social, environmental, or other causes that are unrelated to our mission.
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