Ascidian Therapeutics Raises $40M in Series A Extension Financing

Ascidian Therapeutics

Ascidian Therapeutics, a Boston, MA-based biotechnology company focused on treating human diseases by rewriting RNA, raised $40m in Series A extension funding.

The funds were committed by Apple Tree Partners.

The company intends to use the funds to advance its lead program, an RNA exon editor to halt the progression of Stargardt disease or other ABCA4 retinopathies, and additional programs in the pipeline.

Ascidian designs RNA editors to replace multiple mutated exons simultaneously. Using its platform, the company can edit genes too large to package in viral vectors and genes with high mutational variance, thereby addressing underlying causes of complicated genetic diseases that are beyond the reach of current gene therapy and base editing approaches. Ascidian’s technique does not introduce exogenous enzymes, which reduces the risk of adverse immune reactions. In addition, it does not modify DNA to decrease the risk of off-target effects.

The company anticipates submitting an Investigational New Drug (IND) Application to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for its lead program in ABCA4 retinopathies in early 2024. Beyond its lead program, Ascidian is advancing programs with first-in-class potential in neurological and neuromuscular disorders.

The company also announced that its founding CEO Michael Ehlers, M.D., Ph.D., will return as interim President and Chief Executive Officer, effective immediately. Dr. Ehlers, who also chairs Ascidian’s Board of Directors and serves as Chief Scientific Officer at ATP as well as a venture partner at the firm, succeeds Romesh Subramanian, Ph.D., who is departing Ascidian.

Today’s announced financing follows ATP’s initial $50m Series A investment in Ascidian announced in October 2022.