Research Triangle-based StrideBio, a startup focusing on gene editing technology, inked a deal with Massachusetts-based Sarepta Therapeutics for a deal worth nearly $90 million plus future potential royalties based on rights to as many as eight potential gene-based therapies. Investors weren’t that thrilled as the stock price dipped by 5% on the news.
Who is StrideBio?
Launched in 2015 and based in Durham, NC, the firm focuses on what it calls engineered viral vectors (AAV) for gene therapy. They have raised $15.7 million on an A round according to CrunchBase. With a focus on rare diseases, their STRucture Inspired Design approach has potential to generate unique AAV capsids capable of overcoming challenges of pre-existing neutralizing antibodies and improving gene transfer efficiency in patients. They believe that this new approach holds great potential and wide applicability—enabling gene addition, gene silencing and gene editing modalities for a wide range of diseases.
Their founders include Aravind Asokan, PhD, Professor & Director of Gene Therapy at Duke University; Mavis Agbandje-McKenna, PhD, Director of the Center of Structural Biology and Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at the University of Florida and Patrick (Pat) Ritschel, an investor and entrepreneur who spent many years with DuPont.
They have inked a couple of interesting deals in 2019 including a licensing arrangement with Takeda with a focus on advance novel therapies for neurological diseases and an extension of an alliance with CRISPR Therapeutics to expand an April 2017 deal to generate AV capsids with improved properties for in vivo gene editing program to include additional undisclosed applications.
Just this year they named Sapan Shah as CEO. Mr. Shah is a significant player in biopharma space having served as CEO of sizeable pharma Shionogi, Inc. (U.S. operation) as well founder of Novatherx, EIR at Yale University and also worked as an Associate Principal at McKinsey Corporation. He holds a PhD in Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry from Yale and BA degrees in Mathematics, Biochemistry, Molecular Biology and Cell Biology from the Integrated Science Program at Northwestern University.
TrialSite News research likes Shah’s background—very diversified and combines the scientific and technical pedigree with business acumen and entrepreneurial chops.
Call to Action: TrialSite News will be monitoring their platform and its ability to create novel AAV capsids that can evade neutralizing antibodies as well as their own effort to build proprietary therapeutic pipeline focusing on rare disease—critical for ultimate value. Sign up for our Daily Digest to get updates when we send them.