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Harvard start-up aiming to improve gene therapy raises $100M


By Jesse Schwartz
Published: May 12th, 2021

A Harvard University start-up has raised $100 million to develop a more efficient delivery method for gene therapy.

Launched last May, Dyno Therapeutics aims to address some of the limitations of adeno-associated viruses (AAVs), one of the main vehicles for delivering genetic material into human cells. For example, some people have pre-existing immunity to the protein shell, or capsid, surrounding AAVs. Capsids also have a limited capacity for carrying genetic material and are only able to reach certain types of human tissue.

Dyno is using machine learning combined with in vivo research data to optimize AAVs and make them better suited for carrying therapeutic DNA.

“By making the delivery more efficient, that means you can actually treat the disease more effectively with a lower dose,” says Dyno CEO Eric Kelsic. “With the efficiency being higher, you can make more doses per batch and therefore treat more patients.”

The $100 million funding round included contributions from Andreessen Horowitz and several other venture firms. Dyno has already struck deals with Novartis, Roche and Sarepta Therapeutics to support the development and commercialization of the technology. These partnerships could earn Dyno a total of up to $3.8 billion in revenue and milestone payments.

“Even though it’s in the very beginning, we just had so many folks who want to partner with us,” says Kelsic. “This [funding] is really to meet the demand that we’ve seen for partnering and to enable us to both expand our [existing] partnerships, as well as to work with new partners.” Source: BioPharma Dive

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