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Chinook Therapeutics CEO Eric Dobmeier. (Chinook Photo)

Chinook Therapeutics, a Vancouver, B.C.-based biotech company creating targeted therapies for kidney diseases, raised $65 million in a Series A financing round led by Versant Ventures with Apple Tree Partners and Samsara BioCapital.

The company is creating precision medicines for rare and severe kidney disorders. Chinook said it was looking at the “underlying biology” of the diseases to develop new therapies.

“Kidney diseases are a severe and growing problem worldwide, with a lack of effective treatments for patients often leading to dialysis, transplantation and high costs to healthcare systems,” said Eric Dobmeier, president and CEO of Chinook, in a statement.

Chinook is using single cell RNA sequencing, human-derived organoids and new translational models to find new therapeutics.

Dobmeier said that drug development for the diseases “is experiencing a resurgence” thanks to advances in scientific understandings, technological tools and regulatory changes.

Chronic kidney disease affects 15 percent of American adults, according to the National Kidney Foundation.

Dobmeier most recently served for a brief stint as CEO of Seattle-based startup Silverback Therapeutics. He was COO at Seattle Genetics for 15 years and currently is a board member at Adaptive Biotechnologies and Atara Biotherapeutics.

Chinook plans to open a Seattle office that is expected to have half a dozen employees by the end of the year.

Versant oversees two biotech investing funds that total more than $1 billion. The venture capital firm creates companies from scratch through partnerships with entrepreneurs. It also operates a network of laboratory teams in six cities around the world that test new business ideas. Chinook was formed out of Versant’s Vancouver lab.

“We have great confidence that Chinook can seize opportunities created by new biological insights, technology advancements, and receptive regulatory agencies, to discover and develop new therapies for kidney diseases,” Versant managing director Jerel Davis, who also serves on Chinook’s board, said in a statement.

In addition to Dobmeier, the startup’s leadership team includes Dr. Andrew King, head of renal discovery and translational medicine, as well as chief business officer Tom Frohlich.

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