BOSTON–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Therapeutic Kelonia, a biotech company revolutionizing gene delivery in vivo, launched today with $50 million in Series A funding to usher in a new era of genetic medicines for a wide range of diseases. Kelonia’s platform overcomes the central challenge that has prevented the full realization of gene therapy for patients. Despite life-changing answers, existing gene therapies are highly complex, expensive, and limited by complicated treatment paradigms, treatable therapeutic applications, and dose-limiting toxicities. By enabling precisely targeted, highly efficient and manufacturable in vivo gene delivery, Kelonia’s technology has the potential to dramatically extend the impact and reach of genetic medicines to every patient in need.
Kelonia is backed by a strong syndicate of investors with a track record of successfully launching and building disruptive biotech companies. Alta Partners, Horizons Ventures, Venrock and other investors participated in the Series A round. The company will use the funding to redefine what is possible for genetic drugs starting with a “ready-to-use” chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) use” to treat hematologic cancer that could enable the unparalleled clinical benefit of CAR T without the typical toxicities and with the ease of access to conventional drugs. In addition, the Company will advance other programs for oncology and non-oncology indications, and further expand its platform and gene delivery capabilities.
“The field of cell and gene therapy has sought solutions to long-lasting in vivo genetic modifications, whether applying gene editing, RNA expression, or virus-mediated gene integration “said Kevin Friedman, Ph.D., president and chief scientific officer of Kelonia. “At Kelonia, we believe we have found an in vivo gene delivery solution that is safe, effective and manufacturable for broad therapeutic application. Through our Series A funding and key strategic collaborations, we will advance our lead product candidate into clinical studies and further optimize our technology to explore treating diseases never thought possible with genetic drugs. .
Based on discoveries made in the lab of Michael Birnbaum, Ph.D., at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and grounded in pioneering research by leading scientists at the Center National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS), the Kelonia’s in vivo gene delivery technology enables a few potent lentiviral agents vector-like particles armed with a tunable targeting system to accurately, efficiently and safely deliver payloads exactly where they are needed to treat a wide range of diseases. The company’s first applications combine oncology-targeted therapies, such as CAR molecules and T-cell receptors, with Kelonia’s precision in vivo targeting technology. When used in concert, this combination provides powerful and precise tumor targeting with limited “off-tumor” toxicity, which would otherwise be of concern. Delivered directly in vivo as a “ready-to-use” drug, Kelonia’s transformational therapies in development for solid and hematological 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, muscle or kidney tissue, to deliver different types of genetic cargo with the aim of radically transforming the treatment of diseases in these areas.
“It turns out that a relatively simple and elegant idea for de-targeting and redirecting lentivirus-like particles based on recently published research from my lab can potentially provide a solution to in vivo gene delivery,” said the Dr. Birnbaum, Ph.D., co-founder of Kelonia. “I am extremely excited about the potential of the Kelonia platform and team to dramatically expand the utility of gene therapies to treat oncology, autoimmune diseases, rare monogenic diseases or other currently unsolvable diseases. in gene therapies. »
“Kelonia combines the two crucial elements needed to develop truly novel drugs: breakthrough biology and an exceptional team,” said Bryan Roberts, Partner at Venrock. “Michael Birnbaum’s industrially robust platform offers better log order targeting specificity than anything else on the market and the team has an excellent track record for translating breakthrough scientific discoveries in gene therapy into viable products that transform the patients.”
In addition to completing its Series A, Kelonia has established strategic collaborations with Adimab and ElevateBio. With both collaborations already successfully underway, each of these exceptional partners brings differentiating capabilities that enable and accelerate the company’s vision of bringing breakthrough genetic medicines to patients.
Adimab is the leading provider of therapeutic antibody discovery and engineering technologies. Kelonia will leverage Adimab’s expertise and proprietary technologies, across a range of applications, to access tissue-specific antibodies that unlock the precise delivery of genes in vivo to different tissues, as well as to antibodies that can be exploited in the therapeutic genetic cargo.
ElevateBio is a technology-driven company focused on powering transformative cell and gene therapies with multiple next-generation technology platforms and a fully integrated R&D and manufacturing facility. Through an expanding partnership, Kelonia will utilize ElevateBio’s lentiviral vector platform, process development and analytical expertise, and cGMP manufacturing capabilities to develop and advance new manufacturing processes for Kelonia and the manufacture of Kelonia products.
Management and founding team
Kelonia brings together cell and gene therapy industry leaders responsible for the discovery and development of several clinical and commercial products, including ABECMA®, the first FDA-cleared anti-BCMA CAR T cell therapy product for myeloma relapsed or refractory multiple. The company’s leadership team includes Kevin Friedman, Ph.D., President and Chief Scientific Officer, Thomas Galbo, Ph.D., Chief Commercial 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 Medicine, Stanford University, both world experts in the fields of microbiology, immunology, oncology and cellular and genetic engineering.
The company’s board of directors is made up of Michael Birnbaum, Michael Fischbach, Kevin Friedman, Bryan Roberts and Bob More, Alta’s chief executive.
About Kelonia Therapeutics
Kelonia is at the forefront of a new wave of genetic drugs using its next-generation gene delivery platform. The company’s simple and elegant state-of-the-art in vivo gene delivery technology uses a few powerful lentiviral vector-like particles to precisely and efficiently deliver in vivo genetic cargo to the desired target tissue, and only to that tissue, every time. With an initial focus on developing transformational therapies for solid tumors and blood cancers, Kelonia is building a pipeline of genetic drugs for a wide range of diseases, with the audacious goal of bringing genetic drugs to every patient who needs them. need. Learn more about Kelonia at www.keloniatx.com and follow us on LinkedIn and Twitter.