Atsena Therapeutics, a Durham, N.C. and Boston, MA-based clinical-stage gene therapy company, closed a $55m Series A financing.
The round was led by Sofinnova Investments with participation from additional new investors Abingworth and Lightstone Ventures and founding investors Hatteras Venture Partners and the Foundation Fighting Blindness’ RD Fund, and existing investors Osage University Partners, University of Florida, and Manning Family Foundation. In conjunction with the funding, Sarah Bhagat, PhD, Partner at Sofinnova, Jackie Grant, PhD, Principal at Abingworth, and Jason Lettmann, General Partner at Lightstone, will join Atsena’s board of directors.
The company intends to use the funds to:
- advance its ongoing Phase I/II clinical trial evaluating a gene therapy for patients with GUCY2D-associated Leber congenital amaurosis (LCA1), one of the most common causes of blindness in children, as well as complete manufacturing development for Phase 3,
- to expand its team to support the research and development of novel gene therapies, including the progression of two existing preclinical programs in inherited retinal diseases toward the clinic and advancement of its innovative adeno-associated virus (AAV) technology platform.
Founded by ocular gene therapy pioneers Dr. Shannon Boye and Sanford Boye, and led by Patrick Ritschel, MBA, Chief Executive Officer, Atsena Therapeutics is a clinical-stage gene therapy company developing novel treatments for inherited forms of blindness. Its ongoing Phase I/II clinical trial is evaluating a potential therapy for one of the most common causes of blindness in children. Its additional pipeline of preclinical assets is powered by an adeno-associated virus (AAV) technology platform tailored to overcome significant hurdles presented by inherited retinal disease, and its unique approach is guided by the specific needs of each patient condition to optimize treatment.
The Phase I/II LCA1 clinical trial is currently enrolling patients in the second dosing cohort. Atsena exclusively licensed the rights to the gene therapy from Sanofi, which originally licensed it from University of Florida. LCA is the most common cause of blindness in children.