Success Story

May 18, 2018

CBC multiple awardee Chuan He, UChicago, with the science behind Accent Therapeutics, a new biotech company that just launched with a $40 million investment

Congratulations to Chuan He, UChicago, who is a co-founder of a recently launched company, Accent Therapeutics. The company aims to develop new anti-cancer therapeutics that would act by targeting RNA-modifying proteins (RMPs). As a new class of transcriptional regulatory components, RMPs provide a unique and attractive target for precision medicine-based drug development. Accent Therapeutics is supported by $40 million investment from The Column Group, Atlas Ventures and EcoR1 Capital. Over the years, Chuan He has been a very active and productive CBC member: he is past recipient of three CBC Catalyst Awards (2009, 2011 and 2016) and together with four postdocs in his lab, he was granted CBC Postdoctoral Research Awards (2014—two-times, 2015 and 2016). Chuan is also finalist in the newest CBC award program – the CBC Accelerator Award (2018) with a novel cancer diagnostic approach. In addition, Chuan has participated in many CBC-organized educational events such as annual symposia, seminars and CBC Accelerator Network — CBCAN (see below).

Accent Therapeutics Announces Company Launch with $40 Million Series A Financing for Novel, Precision Cancer Treatments Targeting RNA-Modifying Proteins

Company establishes platform strategy to lead development of promising new precision therapies in the emerging field of epitranscriptomics

Accent Therapeutics team publishes authoritative review of RNA-modifying proteins as anticancer drug targets in Nature Reviews Drug Discovery

Business Wire  |  by Tom Donovan  |  May 18, 2018

CAMBRIDGE, Mass.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Accent Therapeutics, a biopharmaceutical company developing breakthrough treatments for cancer patients, today announced $40 million in Series A capital to establish a discovery platform and pipeline of therapeutic candidates targeting RNA-modifying proteins (RMPs), a novel target space for precision cancer therapies. The Column Group, Atlas Venture and EcoR1 Capital provided the investment.

Accent Therapeutics was established to create innovative therapeutics in the rapidly advancing area of epitranscriptomics – the role of RNA structure, stability, function and translation in cell biology. Recent studies have linked certain human cancers to the activity of particular RMPs, providing a rich new target space for drug development. The Accent Therapeutics team includes seasoned drug developers, with an established record of translating novel science into innovative therapies. Leaders of that team have recently published a peer-reviewed overview of advances in the field in Nature Reviews Drug Discovery entitled “RNA-Modifying Proteins as Anticancer Drug Targets” (doi:10.1038/nrd.2018.71).

A compound breaks down a component of cancer cells.

Chuan He, Ph.D., UChicago

Accent’s founders include Howard Y. Chang, M.D., Ph.D. of Stanford University, Chuan He, Ph.D. of the University of Chicago and Robert A. Copeland, Ph.D., President and Chief Scientific Officer of Accent Therapeutics, who together bring broad and deep expertise in the emerging biology of epitranscriptomics, its role in human diseases and the translation of novel science to cancer drug discovery and development. “Epitranscriptomics opens a rich new target space, including RMPs that are associated with specific cancers, many with poor patient prognoses,” said Dr. Copeland. “We plan to treat patients by precisely targeting cancers that are uniquely dependent on these specific RMPs.”

“There is great value in targeting the molecular mechanisms that can go awry and drive specific cancers. We are excited to support Accent as they develop efficacious and truly differentiated cancer therapeutics,” said Larry Lasky, PhD., Partner at The Column Group and a member of the Accent Therapeutics board of directors.

“The Accent team is anchored by experienced drug developers with a track record of success in the creation of innovative precision therapies. They are well-suited to undertake the development of effective new therapies targeting RMPs,” said Jason Rhodes, Partner at Atlas Venture and a member of the Accent Therapeutics board of directors.

About The Column Group

The Column Group is a leading venture capital firm based in San Francisco that seeks to partner with exceptional scientific founders, entrepreneurs, executives, and investment organizations with a shared vision for building the next generation of drug discovery and development companies. TCG invests in disease-focused drug discovery companies with the potential to become leaders in their respective fields. These companies are strongly supported by the unique and complementary skill sets of TCG’s team, which includes prominent authorities in the scientific, operational, and financial arenas. For more information, please visit

About Atlas Venture

Atlas Venture is a leading biotech venture capital firm. With the goal of doing well by doing good, Atlas has been building breakthrough biotech startups since 1993. Atlas works side by side with exceptional scientists and entrepreneurs to translate high impact science into medicines for patients. Its seed-led venture creation strategy rigorously selects and focuses investment on the most compelling opportunities to build scalable businesses and realize value. For more information, please visit

About EcoR1

EcoR1 Capital LLC is a fundamental biotechnology-focused investment advisory firm. Based in San Francisco, EcoR1 evaluates and selects extraordinary biotechnology companies that are pursuing the highest quality science and demonstrate strong business fundamentals. EcoR1 seeks to help move medical research forward through investments into compelling biotech companies that are developing promising new solutions for untreated diseases. For more information, please visit

About Accent Therapeutics

Accent Therapeutics is a biopharmaceutical company developing oncology-focused, small molecule therapies in the emerging field of epitranscriptomics. This field of biology encompasses post-transcriptional chemical modifications of RNA that provide cells with a unique mechanism for regulating proteins critical for cellular growth and differentiation. By targeting cancer-linked RNA-modifying proteins (RMPs) with precision therapies, we aim to translate extraordinary science into life-changing therapies for patients. For more information, please visit


Adapted (with modifications) from the Business Wire, by Tom Donovan, published on May 18, 2018.

See also:

Chuan He, UChicago, has following ties to CBC: