News & Media

PAQ Therapeutics Launches with $30 Million Series A
to Develop Novel Therapies through Autophagy-Dependent Degradation

Advancing beyond protein targeting to develop novel autophagosome-tethering compounds (ATTECs) to catalyze and selectively enhance the degradation of disease-causing entities through autophagy

Initial focus on a genetic neurodegenerative disorder with potential to treat a range of diseases without current therapeutic options

CAMBRIDGE, Mass., July 15, 2021 – PAQ Therapeutics, a biotechnology company pioneering a new approach to restoring heath and curing disease through autophagy, today announced the completion of its $30 million Series A financing. PAQ’s approach and technology expands the therapeutic potential of autophagy – the body’s most versatile mechanism for natural cellular degradation – to target not only disease-causing proteins but lipids, pathogens and other substrates with the goal of restoring health. Sherpa Healthcare Partners led the Series A financing with participation from Huagai Capital, MSA Capital, and MRL Ventures Fund, joined by seed investors, Nest.Bio Ventures and Matrix Partners China.

PAQ’s novel autophagosome-tethering compounds (ATTECs) are small molecules with the potential to selectively catalyze autophagy-dependent degradation of a wide range of disease-causing substrates, including proteins and non-protein substrates, such as aggregates, mitochondria, lipids and pathogens. PAQ is initially focused on a genetic neurodegenerative disorder, with the potential to expand the breakthrough ATTEC platform to target disease-causing protein and non-protein targets for a range of diseases with limited treatment options. The Series A financing will allow the company to advance its ATTEC platform and progress its pipeline programs.

“PAQ’s team of global experts are working to hijack the powerful autophagy pathway to directly target and eliminate disease-causing substrates from the body,” said Nan Ji, Ph.D., PAQ’s Co-founder, President and CEO. “PAQ’s ATTEC technology provides a complementary and differentiated platform to targeted protein degradation (TPD), which works through the ubiquitin-proteosome (UPS) pathway. Our autophagy-dependent approach further supports a pivotal moment in the evolution of drug discovery and design by expanding our ability to target the disease-causing substrates beyond proteins underlying diseases with limited or no treatment options.”

Based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, the global PAQ team collectively brings decades of drug discovery experience and significant expertise in autophagy research. Joining Dr. Ji as co-founders are Huaixiang Hao, PhD, Head of Biology and Professor Boxun Lu of Fudan University in Shanghai, China. PAQ’s scientific advisors are distinguished research leaders in autophagy, neuroscience, drug discovery including:

  • David Rubinsztein, PhD, Professor of Molecular Neurogenetics and a UK Dementia Research Institute Group Leader, University of Cambridge
  • Jared Rutter, PhD, Distinguished Professor of Biochemistry, Dee Glen and Ida Smith Endowed Chair for Cancer Research, University of Utah
  • Jin-Quan Yu, PhD, Frank and Bertha Hupp Professor of Chemistry, The Scripps Research Institute

“Dr. Nan Ji has assembled a strong team of leading autophagy researchers and scientific advisors focused on advancing the ATTEC platform,” said Cheng Xing, Managing Partner of Sherpa Healthcare Partners. “We see tremendous potential for autophagy-dependent degradation to achieve major therapeutic innovations leveraging the flexibility of small molecules to create cures and overcome serious diseases where therapeutic options are limited for patients.”


About PAQ Therapeutics

PAQ Therapeutics is a biotechnology company pioneering a new approach to restoring heath and curing disease through autophagy, the body’s most versatile mechanism for natural cellular degradation. With our ATTEC (autophagosome-tethering compound) technology, we are developing a novel class of small molecule degraders capable of binding a diverse array of substrates to the autophagy pathway. PAQ’s research advances are driving an important new class of degradation therapies with the potential to fundamentally transform drug discovery and development and target a range of substrates including proteins, aggregates, lipids, organelles and pathogens.

About Sherpa Healthcare Partners

Sherpa Healthcare Partners (“Sherpa”) is a healthcare-focused venture capital fund founded in 2018 by an experienced team of healthcare investment professionals. The team has made over 50 investments in leading companies in key areas such as Pharma, GeneTech, MedTech and Medical services. Sherpa is committed to investing in impactful technologies and supporting the success of aspiring entrepreneurs.

About Nest.Bio Ventures

Nest.Bio is a venture creation and venture capital firm focused on leveraging technological breakthroughs to develop, fund, and commercialize next-generation therapeutics globally. As an active partner in the transformation of revolutionary science into leading healthcare companies, Nest.Bio brings deep scientific, financial, operational and transactional expertise to create an ideal international ecosystem for entrepreneurs, scientists and seasoned executives.

About Matrix Partners China

Matrix Partners China is an early-stage venture capital firm in China founded in 2008. With biopharmaceutical and medical technologies as one of its most dedicated areas, Matrix Partners China is committed to building long-term relationships with driven entrepreneurs and helping them build industry-leading companies.

Media Contact:

Jennifer Arcure
Verge Scientific Communications