Kelonia Therapeutics Raises $50M in Series A Financing


Kelonia Therapeutics, a Boston, MA-based biotech company focused on in vivo gene delivery, raised $50m in Series A financing.

Backers included Alta Partners, Horizons Ventures, Venrock and other investors.

The company will use the funding to advance genetic medicines starting with an “off-the-shelf” chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) to treat hematologic cancer that may enable the clinical benefit of CAR T without the typical toxicities, advance other programs for oncology and non-oncology indications, and further expand its gene delivery platform and capabilities.

Led by Kevin Friedman, Ph.D., President and Chief Scientific Officer, Kelonia is advancing genetic medicines using its gene delivery platform. The company’s in vivo gene delivery technology uses a few potent lentiviral vector-like particles to deliver in vivo genetic cargo to the desired target tissue, and only that tissue, every time.

By enabling precisely targeted, highly efficient, manufacturable “off-the-shelf” in vivo gene delivery, Kelonia’s technology has the potential to expand the impact and reach of genetic medicines to every patient in need.

Based on discoveries made in the lab of Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Michael Birnbaum, Ph.D., and leveraging research from scientists at the French National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS), Kelonia’s in vivo gene delivery technology enables a few potent lentiviral vector-like particles armed with an adjustable targeting system to precisely, efficiently, and safely deliver payloads exactly where needed to treat a broad range of diseases. The company’s early applications combine oncology-targeted therapeutics, such as CAR and T cell receptor molecules, with Kelonia’s precision in vivo targeting technology. When used in concert, this combination enables potent and precise tumor targeting with limited “off-tumor” toxicity, which would otherwise be a concern. Administered directly in vivo as an “off-the-shelf” medicine, Kelonia’s transformational therapies in development for solid and hematologic tumors have the potential to democratize patient access to genetic medicines. Beyond oncology, the company will advance its technology to unlock delivery to previously hard-to-reach tissues, such as neurological, muscular or renal, to deliver different types of genetic cargo with the goal of radically transforming the treatment of diseases in these areas.

In addition to the completion of its Series A, Kelonia has established strategic collaborations with Adimab and ElevateBio.

Kelonia brings together industry leaders in cell and gene therapy responsible for the discovery and development of multiple clinical and commercial products including ABECMA®, the first FDA-approved anti-BCMA CAR T cell therapy product for relapsed or refractory multiple myeloma. The company’s leadership team includes Kevin Friedman, Ph.D., President and Chief Scientific Officer, Thomas Galbo, Ph.D., Chief Business Officer, and Molly Perkins, Ph.D., Vice President of Research.

Kelonia’s scientific founders include Michael Birnbaum, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Biological Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Michael Fischbach, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Bioengineering and of Medicine, Stanford University, both world-leading experts in the fields of microbiology, immunology, oncology, and cell and gene engineering.

The company’s board of directors comprises Michael Birnbaum, Michael Fischbach, Kevin Friedman, Bryan Roberts and Bob More, Managing Director at Alta.