ViGeneron GmbH, a gene therapy company, announced the closing of its series A financing round led by WuXi AppTec and Sequoia Capital China. The proceeds will enable ViGeneron to accelerate its proprietary viral vector-based gene therapy platforms and drive product development in its two lead ophthalmic gene therapy programs.
ViGeneron’s pipeline in gene therapy addresses ophthalmic diseases with high unmet medical need, including two programs in development for undisclosed indications where no approved treatment options are currently available.
The company’s two novel next-generation gene therapy platforms are geared towards addressing the limitations of existing adeno-associated virus (AAV)-based gene therapies. The vgAAV vector platform, based on novel engineered AAV capsids, enables a superior transduction of target cells and is designed to efficiently cross biological barriers. These attributes allow vgAAV vectors to target a broad spectrum of cell types in the retina and potentially other tissues, such as central nervous system tissue; enabling intravitreal, less invasive treatment administration. For larger genes (>5Kb) the company has developed the innovative REVeRT vector platform. This platform uses an innovative vector approach to pack split genes into individual vgAAV vectors and generate a full-length protein via mRNA trans-splicing.
ViGeneron is a spin-off of the Ludwig-Maximilians-University (LMU) in Munich. The company’s founding team includes highly experienced executives and internationally renowned experts with track records in developing retinal gene therapy programs from discovery to clinical stage: Dr. Caroline Man Xu (Co-founder and CEO), Prof. Dr. Martin Biel (Scientific Co-founder), and Prof. Dr. Stylianos Michalakis (Scientific Co-founder).
Dr. Caroline Man Xu, Co-founder and CEO of ViGeneron said: “The evolution of medicines from small molecules to proteins has driven increased therapeutic benefits in the past; the next generation of gene therapies holds tremendous promise for patients. We are passionate about bringing innovations to patients. This financing is an important validation of our next-generation gene therapy technology platforms and ophthalmic development programs. With these top-tier investors and a strong ophthalmologic network supporting us, we are now in an excellent position to accelerate our development programs.”
Edward Hu, Co-CEO of WuXi AppTec, commented: “We are impressed by ViGeneron’s vgAAV vector platform and the innovative REVeRT vector platform. These gene therapy platform technologies will potentially generate superior gene therapy products to treat a wide range of diseases that are traditionally difficult to treat. We look forward to supporting the company to deliver on its great promises for the patients in need.”
ViGeneron is dedicated to developing innovative gene therapies to treat ophthalmic diseases with high unmet medical need, as well as partnering with leading biopharmaceutical players in other disease areas. The company’s pipeline is built on two proprietary adeno-associated virus (AAV) technology platforms. The first, vgAAV gene therapy vector platform, allows superior transduction efficiency and intravitreal, less invasive treatment administration. The second, REVeRT vector platform, targets diseases caused by mutations in large genes. Privately-owned ViGeneron was founded in 2017 by a seasoned team with in-depth experience in AAV vector technology and clinical ophthalmic gene therapy programs and is located in Munich, Germany. For further information, please visit www.vigeneron.com.
WuXi AppTec provides a broad portfolio of R&D and manufacturing services that enable companies in the pharmaceutical, biotech and medical device industries worldwide to advance discoveries and deliver groundbreaking treatments to patients. As an innovation-driven and customer-focused company, WuXi AppTec helps our partners improve the productivity of advancing healthcare products through cost-effective and efficient solutions. With industry-leading capabilities such as R&D and manufacturing for small molecule drugs, cell and gene therapies, and testing for medical devices, WuXi AppTec’s open-access platform is enabling more than 3,700 collaborators from over 30 countries to improve the health of those in need – and to realize our vision that “every drug can be made and every disease can be treated”.
The Sequoia team helps daring founders build legendary companies. In partnering with Sequoia, companies benefit from our unmatched network and the lessons we’ve learned over 47 years. As “The Entrepreneurs Behind The Entrepreneurs”, leading venture capital firm Sequoia Capital China is renowed for investing early in many successful companies and focuses on four sectors: TMT, healthcare, consumer/serive, and industrial technology.