SwanBio Therapeutics announced that it raised $52 million to help advance its viral-based gene therapy for adult-onset adrenoleukodystrophy (ALD) in studies essential for clinical testing, and to expand the company’s portfolio to other neurological diseases.
“This financing … demonstrates our belief that we have a differentiated opportunity to build a world-class company targeting neurodegenerative diseases, where there are no current treatments available,” Chris Hollowood, chief investment officer of Syncona and chair of SwanBio Therapeutics, said in a press release.
ALD is a rare genetic disorder caused by mutations in the ABCD1 gene, which provides the instructions to make the ALD protein. This protein is needed to clear toxic molecules, known as saturated very long-chain fatty acids (VLCFAs), that damage myelin, the protective coating of nerve cells, and the adrenal glands. These small, hormone-producing glands are located above the kidneys.
The most common and devastating form of ALD appears in childhood. When the disease manifests in adults, it is called adrenomyeloneuropathy (AMN), and is usually less severe and progresses more slowly.
SwanBio is developing a gene therapy that addresses the underlying genetic defect in adults with AMN. Some of the funds raised will be allocated to preclinical studies that are necessary to support filing an investigational new drug (IND) application with regulatory authorities, requesting the therapy be tested in people.
SwanBio has also plans to use this money to develop gene therapies for other neurological diseases, advance its development and manufacturing abilities, and to grow the company employee base to meet the demands of an extended pipeline.
“We continue to seek and develop gene therapies in neurological diseases where there is significant unmet need and where our science can make a difference in the lives of patients and their families,” Tom Anderson, CEO and director of SwanBio Therapeutics, said in the release.
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