Therachon, a Nice, France-based developer of treatments for achondroplasia, secured $35m in Series A funding.
The round was led by OrbiMed with participation from New Enterprise Associates, Inserm Transfer Initiative and Versant Ventures. In conjunction with the funding, Dr. Stephen Squinto, a venture partner at OrbiMed and Dr. Sara Nayeem, a principal at New Enterprise Associates, joined Therachon’s board of directors.
The company intends to use the funds to advance its lead program, a soluble form of human fibroblast growth factor receptor 3, through clinical proof of concept.
Led by Elvire Gouze, Ph.D., Therachon is developing a therapy for achondroplasia, the leading cause of dwarfism in humans. Therachon’s therapy aims to restore normal bone growth and proportions in children with the disease.
Achondroplasia is a genetic disease in which a single point mutation in the gene encoding FGFR3 causes stunted bone growth and malformed cartilage. It affects approximately one child in every 15,000 births and is the leading cause of dwarfism. It is characterized by a disproportionate shortness of limbs and other skeletal deformities, which lead to significant co-morbidities such as spinal cord compression and reduced life expectancy. There are approximately 200,000 achondroplasia patients worldwide.