Gene correction and mRNA company ReCode Therapeutics has announced the close of a Series B extension financing round. The series was co-led by new investors, Leaps by Bayer and AyurMaya, and with participation from Amgen Ventures. With the additional $120M in new financing, the company has secured a total of $200M in Series B funding.
Proceeds from the financing will be used to fund the diversification of ReCode’s pipeline into central nervous system, liver, and oncology indications, while continuing to advance ReCode’s lead mRNA programs for primary ciliary dyskinesia and cystic fibrosis into the clinic. The funds also will be used to advance development of ReCode’s platform to deliver a wider range of genetic medicine cargoes, including additional gene correction modalities and small interfering RNA (siRNA) therapies, to a wider range of target cell types in a predictable and programmable fashion
In connection with the financing, Alan Colowick, MD, MPH, and managing director of Matrix, and Rakhshita Dhar, senior director of Venture investments Health at Leaps by Bayer, will join ReCode’s board of directors.
“At AyurMaya, we help build companies that have the potential to transform the therapeutic landscape for patients. ReCode has an impressive combination of groundbreaking science, a highly accomplished leadership team and investor base, and the opportunity to have an immense impact on accelerating precision genetic medicines through delivery to disease-relevant cells,” said Colowick.
The initial Series B financing announced in October 2021 was co-led by Pfizer Ventures and EcoR1 Capital and included Sanofi Ventures, Orbimed, Vida Ventures, MPM Capital, Colt Ventures, Hunt Technology Ventures L.P., Osage University Partners, Tekla Capital Management LLC, Superstring Capital, and NS Investment.
“The successful administration of billions of doses of mRNA COVID-19 vaccines, and continued progress with novel RNA and gene correction therapeutics, have catapulted us into a new era of possibility for genetic medicines,” said Shehnaaz Suliman, MD, chief executive officer and board member, ReCode Therapeutics.
She added that, “We are harnessing that potential with our novel selective organ targeting (SORT) lipid nanoparticle (LNP) delivery platform which is engineered with unique properties to enable delivery of genetic therapeutics directly to the organs and cells most impacted by disease, offering improved efficacy and potency.”
The capability to precisely target specific organs and cell types is important for maximizing the efficacy of genetic medicines and limiting potential adverse effects. Additionally, as evidenced with the mRNA COVID vaccines and novel RNA and gene correction therapeutics, LNP packaging enables redosing. For people with genetic diseases that require potentially lifelong therapy, such as cystic fibrosis, this is a major advantage, because LNP delivered therapeutics can be administered repeatedly over time, potentially without significant immunogenicity. It is also thought that mRNA technology can lead to advances in cancer treatment.
“The ability to directly target specific organs and cells beyond the liver remains a key challenge for genetic medicines,” said Juergen Eckhardt, head of Leaps by Bayer.
ReCode’s selective organ targeting (SORT) LNP platform is the foundation for its pipeline. Pioneered by co-founder Professor Daniel J. Siegwart, PhD, of the University of Texas, and described by Nature as one of the “Seven Technologies to Watch in 2022,” ReCode’s SORT LNP platform is an innovation beyond the lipid delivery system used by the mRNA COVID vaccines and novel RNA and gene correction therapeutics.
LNPs are used to package and deliver genetic cargo such as mRNA. When delivered into the blood, first-generation LNPs primarily are taken up by the liver, which limits their utility for broad therapeutic applications. ReCode’s SORT LNPs are engineered with a biochemically distinct fifth lipid to help the body “sort” and direct the LNPs to other targeted organs such as the lung and spleen, with the ability to bypass the liver if needed.