Gene therapy startup raises $55M, plans to add jobs in Triangle

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DURHAM – Atsena Therapeutics, a gene therapy startup backed by Durham-based Hatteras Ventures, has $55 million in new funding and is planning to expand its Triangle workforce.

The Durham firm, which also has an office in Durham, disclosed the funding Wednesday morning.

Leading the new round are Sofinnova Investments, Abingworth and Lightstone Ventures plus its previous backers.

The company will use the funds to advance a clinical trial of a treatment targeting a genetic eye disease (Leber congenital amaurosis or LCA1), which it licensed from drug giant Sanofi, and two other pre-clinical programs.

Hires will be made in its R&D team, Atsena added.

Its board will be expanded as well with three additional members: Sarah Bhagat, Partner at Sofinnova; Jackie Grant, Principal at Abingworth; and Jason Lettmann, General Partner at Lightstone.

“We are grateful for the support of our new and existing investors and are encouraged by their enthusiasm for the potential of our technology to overcome the unique hurdles of inherited retinal diseases to prevent or reverse blindness,” said Patrick Ritschel, Chief Executive Officer of Atsena, in the announcement. “The Series A financing provides financial runway to reach the key inflection point of reading out efficacy data from our LCA1 clinical trial. While we continue expeditiously advancing this trial and our preclinical programs, we are excited to accelerate our growth as a leading ophthalmic gene therapy company.”


Original Article Source: WRAL TechWire