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Our Investment in Pretzel Therapeutics: Creating a Powerhouse in the Mitochondria Field

As the “powerhouse of the cell,” mitochondria play a critical role in cell viability through a multitude of functions — from energy converting to cell signaling and beyond. We now understand the dysfunction of mitochondria underlies a vast number of diseases, from rare genetic disorders like MELAS syndrome, to more common ones like Alzheimer’s Disease.

Historically, these organelles have been notoriously difficult to target through traditional drug discovery and development strategies. One of the main problems is that most approaches targeting mitochondrial dysfunction act indirectly, often focusing on reactive oxygen species. We need better methods to target the genetic roots of mitochondrial dysfunction if we want to create more meaningful and clinically relevant treatments.

To help address this challenge, we are excited to announce the launch of Pretzel Therapeutics with a $72.5 million series A, co-led by ARCH Venture Partners and Mubadala Capital. What makes Pretzel uniquely positioned to reverse mitochondrial dysfunction is the company’s ability to drill down on precisely howmitochondria are dysregulated in specific disease states and leverage a proprietary toolkit of small molecule and genome editing technologies to correct the underlying defects. Pretzel is developing a suite of first in class therapies that can correct mitochondrial DNA mutations, modulate mitochondrial DNA expression, and improve mitochondrial quality control. These therapies can address a broad range of diseases and bring new therapies to market that are potentially more effective than currently available treatments.

At Mubadala Capital Ventures, our healthcare investment strategy is focused on the areas where innovation has the greatest potential to enable better, more efficient and cost-effective care. We believe the integration of technology and biology will drive significant efficiencies in both pharmaceutical and healthcare industries. Pretzel Therapeutics holds a special place in our healthcare portfolio — with over 30 companies — as it represents our first venture into early-stage company formation.

Leading the way for Pretzel’s launch were the company’s co-founders, which include three of the leading experts in mitochondrial biology and genetics: Claes Gustafsson, Michal Minczuk and Nils-Göran Larsson. Each one brought a piece of the puzzle necessary to execute this vision and build a comprehensive company around understanding the deep genetic underpinnings of mitochondrial disorders.

We are also extremely excited to once again partner with the world-class team of investors at ARCH Venture Partners — and specifically with Jay Parrish and Kristina Burow — in co-leading Pretzel’s financing. I look forward to what Pretzel can accomplish and the possibility of delivering novel, more precise mitochondria targeted therapeutics to patients in need.

As Pretzel begins to establish itself as a pioneer in the field of mitochondrial biology, the team at Mubadala Capital continues to abide by our ethos of supporting foundational science and backing innovative founder-led teams not only with global capital but also through global business and corporate development.

Congratulations to the entire Pretzel team!

Learn more about how Pretzel is establishing a new era in mitochondrial therapeutics by visiting



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Alaa Halawa

Venture Capital Investor at Mubadala Capital-Ventures, based in SF. Backing companies tackling some of the toughest challenges in life sciences and healthcare.