A company developing gene therapies for cardiovascular disease has secured its first major round of private financing.
Philadelphia-based XyloCor Therapeutics said Thursday that it closed a $17 million Series A funding round, co-led by Sofinnova Ventures and Life Sciences Partners, or LSP. The company’s CEO is Al Gianchetti, who previuosly served as a vice president for research and development at British drugmaker GlaxoSmithKline, from 2010 until 2015.
The company is planning to use the funding to advance development of its lead product candidate, XC001, a gene therapy for refractory angina. The therapy, which is currently in Phase I clinical development – with plans to initiate the trial in the first half of next year – is meant for patients who have exhausted drug options and are not eligible for therapies like PCI or coronary artery bypass grafts. XC001 is designed to stimulate formation of new coronary blood vessels in order to serve areas of the heart that are not receiving adequate blood supply, according to the company’s pipeline page.
The therapy uses an adenovirus-based viral vector, a company spokesperson noted, citing Gianchetti. The majority of gene therapies – both marketed and in development – use viral vectors, usually to correct defective genes. For example, Philadelphia-based Spark Therapeutics’ Luxturna (voretigene neparvovec-rzyl) – the only gene therapy that currently has Food and Drug Administration approval, for a rare form of inherited blindness – uses an adenovirus-based vector as well, as do gene therapies from BioMarin and Sangamo Therapeutics. Meanwhile, bluebird bio is using a lentiviral vector for its gene therapy, LentiGlobin.
The FDA granted fast-track designation to XC001 in May. The fast-track program is deisgned to facilitate the development and expedite the review of new drugs and vaccines intended to treat or prevent serious conditions and that have shown potential to address unmet need.
Its secondary product candidate, XC002, is in the optimization stage of preclinical development for cardiac regeneration.
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