SalioGen Therapeutics is moving quickly. Ten months after exiting stealth with $20 million in series A funds, the Massachusetts-based biotech has raised another $115 million to fund its vision of the future of genetic medicines.
The series B financing will support work on a platform designed to overcome the limitations of existing approaches such as gene editing and viral-vector-based gene therapies. SalioGen’s platform is based on a mammal-derived enzyme, saliogase, that is intended to integrate DNA sequences into the genome without causing double-strand breaks or relying on host repair pathways or homologous recombination.
SalioGen plans to administer RNA encoding for saliogase, thereby ensuring the enzyme is only expressed transiently, and the DNA sequence it will integrate inside lipid nanoparticles. Using lipid nanoparticles, as opposed to the viral vectors commonly used today, could remove the ceiling on the size of the genetic cargo, opening up opportunities to treat more diseases and to facilitate repeat dosing by cutting the risk of an immune response.
Investors see promise in the approach. GordonMD Global Investments and EPIQ Capital Group co-led the series B round with the support of a syndicate that featured new investors such as Fidelity Management & Research Company and funds and accounts advised by T. Rowe Price Associates alongside the series A lead, PBM Capital.
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The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation and the venture arm of Foundation Fighting Blindness chipped in cash, too, pointing to some potential applications of SalioGen’s technology. The most advanced candidates in SalioGen’s pipeline target the rare genetic eye disorder Stargardt disease and a trio of indications related to the liver: hypertriglyceridemia, lipoprotein (a) and familial hypercholesterolemia. Those four programs are at the optimization stage.
SalioGen has discovery-stage programs in other eye diseases and inherited lipid disorders as well as projects targeting diseases of the heart, lung, bone marrow and kidney. The lung program is looking at cystic fibrosis.
The series A funding will enable SalioGen to advance its preclinical pipeline while continuing to build out its platform and establishing the manufacturing and automation capabilities it will need to support the progress of its prospects.