ViGeneron GmbH, a gene therapy company, announced the closing of its series A financing round led by WuXi AppTec and Sequoia Capital China, which will enable ViGeneron to accelerate its proprietary viral vector-based gene therapy platforms and drive product development in its two lead ophthalmic gene therapy programs.
ViGeneron’s pipeline in gene therapy addresses ophthalmic diseases with high unmet medical need, including two programs in development for undisclosed indications where no approved treatment options are currently available, the company said in a statement Thursday.
The company’s two novel next-generation gene therapy platforms are geared towards addressing the limitations of existing adeno-associated virus (AAV)-based gene therapies. The vgAAV vector platform, based on novel engineered AAV capsids, enables a superior transduction of target cells and is designed to efficiently cross biological barriers. These attributes allow vgAAV vectors to target a broad spectrum of cell types in the retina and potentially other tissues, such as central nervous system tissue; enabling intravitreal, less invasive treatment administration. For larger genes (>5Kb) the company has developed the innovative REVeRT vector platform. This platform uses an innovative vector approach to pack split genes into individual vgAAV vectors and generate a full-length protein via mRNA trans-splicing.
ViGeneron is a spin-off of the Ludwig-Maximilians-University (LMU) in Munich. The company’s founding team includes highly experienced executives and internationally renowned experts with track records in developing retinal gene therapy programs from discovery to clinical stage: Dr. Caroline Man Xu (Co-founder and CEO), Prof. Dr. Martin Biel (Scientific Co-founder), and Prof. Dr. Stylianos Michalakis (Scientific Co-founder).
Dr. Caroline Man Xu, Co-founder and CEO of ViGeneron said: “This financing is an important validation of our next-generation gene therapy technology platforms and ophthalmic development programs. With these top-tier investors and a strong ophthalmologic network supporting us, we are now in an excellent position to accelerate our development programs.”
Edward Hu, Co-CEO of WuXi AppTec, said: “We are impressed by ViGeneron’s vgAAV vector platform and the innovative REVeRT vector platform. These gene therapy platform technologies will potentially generate superior gene therapy products to treat a wide range of diseases that are traditionally difficult to treat. We look forward to supporting the company to deliver on its great promises for the patients in need.”