Rare Daily Staff
Passage Bio completed a $110 million series B financing to advance its portfolio of AAV-delivered gene therapies to treat rare, monogenic central nervous system diseases into the clinic. The financing comes less than seven months after its launch funding of $115.5 million in February.
Access Biotechnology led the round, which included existing investors OrbiMed, Frazier Healthcare Partners, Versant Ventures, Lilly Asia Ventures, New Leaf Venture Partners, and Vivo Capital. New investors Boxer Capital, Highline Capital Management, Logos Capital, and Sphera Funds Management also participated.
Passage Bio was co-founded by gene therapy pioneer James Wilson, professor and director of the University of Pennsylvania’s Gene Therapy Program (GTP).
The Philadelphia-based biotech has a research, collaboration and license agreement with the GTP, as well as the Orphan Disease Center at the University of Pennsylvania. The GTP conducts the IND-enabling preclinical work and Passage Bio conducts all clinical development, regulatory strategy and commercialization activities. The company has a development portfolio of five product candidates, with the option to license seven more.
The company expects to initiate clinical trials for its lead programs in GM1 gangliosidosis and frontotemporal dementia (FTD) in the first half of 2020, followed by the initiation of a third program in Krabbe disease, in the second half of 2020.
“The support of our investors not only speaks to the immense potential of our development portfolio of transformative treatment options for patients with rare monogenic CNS diseases, but is also a reflection of their confidence in the expertise of the Passage Bio team and the Gene Therapy Program (GTP) of the Perelman School at the University of Pennsylvania,” said Stephen Squinto, co-founder and interim CEO at Passage Bio. “As we continue to work toward advancing our three lead programs into the clinic over the coming year, we are focused on our mission to serve patients by offering best-in-class, life-transforming therapies.”
Photo: Stephen Squinto, co-founder and interim CEO at Passage Bio