Monte Rosa Therapeutics: From idea to IPO in the Tech ParkBasel
One of our former tenants is Monte Rosa Therapeutics, a biotech company that was based in Tech Park Basel until its IPO. The start-up raised USD 222 million at its public market debut last year. According to John Castle, Chief Data Scientist at Monte Rosa, the Basel location and infrastructure was one of the key factors for the company’s success.
John Castle, Ph.D.
(Img: Monte Rosa Therapeutics AG)
John, what is Monte Rosa’s vision?
We are developing a portfolio of what we call novel molecular adhesive degradation precision medicines. They use the body’s natural mechanisms to eliminate therapeutically relevant proteins selectively. They inhibit the function of a protein and cause its degradation. Our proprietary protein degradation platform is called QuEEN (Quantitative and Engineered Elimination of Neosubstrates).
It all started out at the Tech Park Basel. What did you especially like about the site?
Above all, we found the proper infrastructure in Tech Park Basel. This enabled us to establish ourselves and grow as a company here. To found a company, you first need an excellent idea and access to capital. Then you also need capable employees and good infrastructure. When we founded Monte Rosa in 2018, its idea, seed capital, and staff originated with Versant Ventures’ Ridgeline Discovery Engine. The Tech Park facilitated our growth, from the idea to the IPO.
Meanwhile, Monte Rosa has relocated to Basel’s Klybeck district. Why did you stay in Basel?
In the last 18 months, we have grown from around 20 to almost 100 employees, half of them based in Boston and Basel respectively. We really like it here: Basel is one of the best cities in the world for life sciences. There’s much talent here, and a strong culture of innovation. The start-up scene is fantastic, the universities are world-class. It’s compact; the river Rhine is right on your doorstep; public transport works. We really enjoy it here.
What has been the greatest challenge since Monte Rosa’s foundation?
The biggest challenge is also the most exciting: research. We’re moved and motivated by how new findings can help patients with cancer, inflammatory diseases or other illnesses. We still have many ideas in mind for further development and growth. That’s why I like to get up every morning.
What does the future hold for Monte Rosa?
We are expanding our portfolio on the QuEEN platform. Our first project, targeting a gene called GSPT1, will enter clinical trials in the middle of next year. This is a big challenge and an exciting opportunity for us.
About Monte Rosa
Monte Rosa Therapeutics is a biotechnology company developing a portfolio of novel molecular glue degrader medicines. These medicines are designed to employ the body’s natural mechanisms to selectively eliminate therapeutically relevant proteins. The company has developed a proprietary protein degradation platform, called QuEEN™ (Quantitative and Engineered Elimination of Neosubstrates), that enables it to rapidly identify protein targets and molecular glue degrader, or MGD, product candidates that are designed to eliminate therapeutically relevant proteins in a highly selective manner. The company’s drug discovery platform combines diverse and proprietary chemical libraries of small molecule protein degraders with in-house proteomics, structural biology, AI/machine learning-based target selection and computational chemistry capabilities to predict and obtain protein degradation profiles. For more information, visit www.monterosatx.com.
Tech Park Basel
The Tech ParkBasel is the premier address for early-stage tech start-ups in Basel that transform knowledge into marketable products and services. It offers a collaboration-friendly, yet business-driven environment and is part of the rapidly growing Stücki Park in the dynamic northern part of Basel. Tenants are selected carefully to ensure a high level of innovation.