A new €61 million round for AAvantgarde Bio, a spin-off of the research activities of Tigem (Telethon Institute of Genetics and Medicine), based in Naples and backed by Sofinnova Partners, which had underwritten the seed round through the Sofinnova Telethon fund in July 2021.
The new round was jointly led by venture capital funds Atlas Venture and Forbion, with participation from Longwood Fund and founding investor Sofinnova Partners. The Series A round had been in the pipeline since October 2021.
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Concurrent with the round, Jason Rhodes of Atlas Venture, Dmitry Hristodorov of Forbion, and David Steinberg of Longwood Fund will join AAVantgarde Bio’s board of directors
AAvantgarde Bio, based in Milan, Italy, produces gene therapies against inherited retinal diseases. The founder, Professor Alberto Auricchio, is a highly recognized scientist and a pioneer in the field of gene therapy. The company’s technology is based on existing platforms based on adeno-associated viruses (AAVs), which are the main viral vector technology used in gene therapy applications.
AAVantgarde has two proprietary platforms for AAV-based large gene delivery: one that takes advantage of DNA recombination, called dual hybrid, and one of protein trans-splicing, called AAV intein. The company is validating the platforms in two major programs: Usher syndrome-associated retinitis pigmentosa type 1 B (Usher1B), using a dual hybrid, and Stargardt disease, using an AAV intein.
The funding will support the completion of a proof-of-concept (POC) first-in-man study in Usher1B subjects and further development of the AAV intein program and entry into the clinic for Stargardt disease. The company also plans to pursue programs outside of ophthalmology.
“This funding represents a pivotal moment in our mission to help patients, and we are excited to work with our new and founding investors to advance our platforms and pipeline,” said Natalia Misciattelli, chief executive officer of AAVantgarde, who added: “The completion of this round with such a distinguished group of life science investors is an acknowledgment of the importance of AAVantgarde’s unique technology, which will initially be used to help patients suffering from the debilitating impact of blindness associated with Usher1B syndrome and Stargardt disease.”
“AAV gene therapy has been limited by transgene capacity, whereas AAVantgarde’s proprietary platforms enable the delivery of large genes to tissues and cells in vivo, which could extend to many disease areas,” said Jason Rhodes, partner at Atlas Venture.
“AAVantgarde has a clear mission to bring next-generation genetic drugs to underserved patients with debilitating diseases, bringing hope to patients with inherited retinal diseases with Usher1B syndrome and Stargardt disease to improve vision,” concluded Dmitry Hristodorov of Forbion.
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First published in Be Beez, a third-party contributor translated and adapted the article from the original. In case of discrepancy, the original will prevail.
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