Tech Transfer eNews Blog

Biotech spinout from U Penn raises $165M to advance new in vivo cell therapies

By Jesse Schwartz
Published: September 21st, 2022

Capstan Therapeutics, a biotech company with roots at the University of Pennsylvania (Penn), has emerged from stealth mode with a whopping $165 million in funding to develop safer, first-in-class medicines through cell therapy and genetic medicine techniques.

Capstan’s precision in vivo engineering technology builds on research conducted by world-renowned mRNA and cell therapy scientists at Penn. The company’s approach also includes proprietary targeted lipid nanoparticle (tLNP) technology and mRNA payloads aimed at directly engineering pathogenic cells through in vivo generated CAR T cells.

“Research conducted at Penn demonstrates the tremendous promise of harnessing mRNA and targeted LNP delivery to train a patient’s body to make CAR-T cells in vivo, potentially creating new treatment options,” says Jonathan Epstein, chief scientific officer at Penn’s Perelman School of Medicine. “We believe this approach has the potential to make an important impact not only in oncology, but also in fibrosis and many other diseases. My fellow scientific co-founders and I all look forward to actively partnering with Capstan in our collaborative effort to develop medicines that may benefit patients around the world.”

The $165 million in funding includes a $102 Series A round led by Pfizer Ventures with participation from Leaps by Bayer, Eli Lilly and Co., Bristol Myers Squibb, Polaris Partners and other investors. Capstan also received $63 million in seed financing led by Novartis Venture Fund and OrbiMed, with participation from RA Capital and Vida Ventures.

“Our ambition at Capstan is to invent new clinical paradigms through targeted in vivo reprogramming of cells,” says Laura Shawver, president and CEO of Capstan. “We are also fortunate to have a distinguished investor syndicate that understands the cell therapy landscape and recognizes the potential of this innovative approach. I am thrilled to lead this team as we work toward making this vision a reality for patients.”

Source: Business Wire

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