Pictured: Illustration of a single-stranded RNA in blue tones/iStock, libre de droit
Massachusetts-based start-up ReNAgade Therapeutics launched Tuesday with $300 million in Series A financing and the goal of delivering RNA medicines to previously inaccessible tissues and cells.
ReNAgade’s funding, led by biotech investors MPM BioImpact and F2 Ventures, is the largest Series A so far this year, according to the company’s website.
In recent years, RNA medicine “has made great strides but remains in its infancy,” ReNAgade founder Ansbert Gadicke, who is also managing partner of MPM BioImpact, said in a statement.
In particular, the field is currently held back by its limited deliverability to many tissues, ReNAgade CEO Amit Munshi said in an interview with BioPharma Dive. The industry also currently lacks an integrated therapeutic platform that can provide all elements needed to produce RNA therapeutics.
To address this gap, ReNAgade has built an all-RNA system that includes its comprehensive suite of delivery technologies, such as novel lipid nanoparticles, the fatty capsules that are often used to carry RNA medicines. ReNAgade combines these proprietary delivery platforms with its deep array of gene insertion, coding and editing tools.
Not much is known yet about how exactly ReNAgade’s platform works, nor has it revealed any of its initial priority disease or tissue targets, Munshi told BioPharma Dive.
However, the company’s mission is to “develop RNA medicines with the potential to treat any disease anywhere in the body,” Munshi said in the company statement.
While it was still in stealth, ReNAgade established a joint venture with fellow Massachusetts start-up Orna Therapeutics, which is advancing a portfolio of circular RNA therapeutics, combined with its own custom lipid nanoparticles, to achieve higher levels of protein expression.
In August 2022, Orna’s technology attracted Merck, which pumped a potential $3.5 billion into a development and commercialization pact for multiple oncology and infectious disease programs. This partnership includes technologies developed under Orna’s joint venture with ReNAgade, according to Tuesday’s press announcement.
To help achieve its ambitious goal, ReNAgade has also assembled a high-profile team of experts that have collectively overseen the submission of more than 25 New Drug Applications or Biologics License Applications and over 200 Investigational New Drug applications.
Munshi brings more than three decades of industry experience to ReNAgade and was most recently the head of Arena Pharmaceuticals. Under his tenure, Arena grew from a $300 million company into a late clinical-stage firm with nearly 40 programs. Arena was bought by Pfizer in December 2021 for $6.7 billion.
Joining Munshi at ReNAgade is Peter Smith, chief scientific officer, and formerly from Alnylam Pharmaceuticals, where he held several leadership roles. Smith had also previously worked with Moderna Therapeutics and Millennium Pharmaceuticals.
Tristan Manalac is an independent science writer based in metro Manila, Philippines. He can be reached at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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