A new US company with technology for developing tissue-targeted gene therapies for multiple diseases, has launched with $140 million in venture capital financing and collaboration income from AbbVie Inc. Capsida Biotherapeutics Inc is based on technology developed by Viviana Gradinaru and colleagues at the California Institute of Technology in the US.
The technology involves using an adeno-associated virus (AAV) engineering platform to generate capsids which would then deliver therapeutic gene products to tissues. The platform uses machine learning, structural biology, non-human primate models and human tissue models to screen billions of engineered capsids for the ability to target a desired tissue type.
Thus far, the capsids have shown tissue tropism for a number of cell types in the central nervous system (CNS), according to the company. This means that gene therapies developed with capsids might perform better and be safer than AAV delivered products which are limited by their ability to transduce the desired cell type, it added.
The Series A financing was provided by Versant Ventures and Westlake Village BioPartners. The collaboration with AbbVie involves an upfront payment of $80 million in cash and an equity investment of $10 million. This is to produce gene therapies for three CNS disease targets. AbbVie has an option to develop products directed against these targets, which if exercised, would generate further payments and/or rights to Capsida.
Capsida announced the launch on 29 April.
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