RenBio, a New York-based preclinical biotechnology company, raised $24m Series A funding.
The round was led by Taiwan-based Ruentex Group.
The company intends to use the funds to complete IND-enabling preclinical studies and initiate a Phase 1/2 clinical trial of RB-100 in 2021 and continue the development of its proprietary, DNA-based MYO (Make Your Own) Technology™ antibody delivery platform, with the goal of advancing a lead candidate into the clinic within two years.
Co-founded by HIV expert, David D. Ho, M.D., founding scientific director of the Aaron Diamond AIDS Research Center and Professor of Medicine at Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons, and Yaoxing Huang, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Medical Sciences at Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons, and led by Neal N. Padte, Ph.D., Chief Operating Officer and Chief Development Officer, and Rachel A. Liberatore, Ph.D., Director of Research and Development, RenBio is a preclinical biotechnology company developing novel antiviral antibody therapeutics and a next-generation antibody delivery platform. The company’s lead compound, RB-100, is a SARS-CoV-2 bispecific antibody in-licensed from Columbia University, that, in preclinical studies, has demonstrated robust antiviral activity against emerging and evolving SARS-CoV-2 variants.
RenBio is also developing a next-generation nucleic acid-based antibody delivery platform — MYO (Make Your Own) Technology™ — designed to overcome the manufacturing and delivery challenges of standard protein therapies by providing patients (via a modified intramuscular injection) with a DNA “bioblueprint,” enabling muscle cells (myocytes) to produce the desired therapeutic antibodies within the patient’s own body, thereby acting as in vivo bioreactors.
The company has also signed a license agreement with Columbia University, obtaining the exclusive worldwide development and commercialization rights to a novel bispecific antibody (RB-100) for COVID-19 that was developed in the lab of David D. Ho, M.D. of Columbia University and targets two distinct sites on the spike of SARS-CoV-2. In preclinical studies, RB-100 demonstrated robust antiviral activity against SARS-CoV-2 variants that have recently emerged from the U.K. (B.1.1.7), South Africa (B.1.351), Brazil (P.1), California (B.1.427 and B.1.429), and New York City (B.1.526).
Under the license agreement, Columbia University received an equity stake in RenBio, which was co-founded by Dr. Ho and Dr. Yaoxing Huang. Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP served as legal counsel to RenBio. Additional terms of the agreement were not disclosed.