Biogen will partner with Rodin Therapeutics in a multi-year neuronal epigenetics research collaboration that includes an option for the biotech giant to acquire Rodin for up to $485 million.

Rodin today announced the collaboration with Biogen, which has joined with Atlas Venture to raise a total $17.3 million in preferred stock financing commitments toward the nearly three-year-old biotech.

Co-founded in 2013 by Atlas and Proteros Biostructures, Rodin has focused on discovering and developing first-in-class therapeutics for cognitive disorders—namely Histone Deacetylase 2 (HDAC2) inhibitors. The company reasons that HDAC2 inhibitors may afford an opportunity to improve brain function by upregulating synaptic genes, especially in a diseased brain.

In Rodin's preclinical models, augmenting histone acetylation through pan-HDAC inhibitors enhanced learning and neuronal function through increased expression of critical neuronal proteins.

Rodin was nurtured within Atlas’ seed program and has advanced a pipeline of epigenetic modulators. The company has also obtained an exclusive license to an additional chemical series discovered at the Broad Institute.

While Rodin has concentrated on central nervous system diseases, and more specifically neurodegenerative conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease, the company says its drug candidates also have the potential to treat other conditions, including Parkinson’s disease, cognitive impairment in schizophrenia, and post-traumatic stress disorder. Rodin says it also plans to continue preclinical research to explore potential applications in those areas.

“The Biogen investment and collaboration is a strong validation of our efforts to become the leader in targeted HDAC2 inhibition, and we look forward to working closely with Biogen to advance Rodin’s novel science,” Bruce Booth, D.Phil., Rodin co-founder and chairman and a partner at Atlas, said in a statement.

The up-to-$485 million option includes both upfront and milestone payments, Rodin said.

“I believe strongly that early collaboration with a strong pharmaceutical company to progress treatment towards and through clinical trials results in a higher probability of success, especially in neuroscience,” added Rodin President and CEO Adam Rosenberg, citing Biogen’s R&D focus on neurology.

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