Rare Daily Staff
Avidity Biosciences has closed a $100 million series C financing to advance development of antibody-oligonucleotide conjugates (AOCs) for the treatment of rare muscle disorders and other serious diseases.
The financing was led by RTW Investments with participation by new investors Cormorant Asset Management, CureDuchenne, Logos Capital, Perceptive Advisors, and ST Pharm. Existing investors also participated and include Alethea Capital, Alexandria Venture Investments, Boxer Capital of Tavistock Group, Brace Pharma Capital, EcoR1 Capital, Partner Fund Management and Takeda Ventures.
Eli Lilly contributed $15 million to the financing in connection with its ongoing research collaboration with Avidity that began in April 2019 to utilize Avidity’s AOC technology to pursue therapeutic targets initially focused on immunology and other indications.
AOCs combine the tissue selectivity of monoclonal antibodies and the precision of oligonucleotide-based therapeutics to enable more effective targeting of tissues, such as skeletal muscle, immune cells, and heart to create a pipeline of targeted oligonucleotide therapeutics. The company’s lead research program addresses myotonic dystrophy type I, a disease with no approved treatment options.
Myotonic dystrophy type 1 is an inherited type of muscular dystrophy caused by mutations in the DMPK gene that affect the muscles and other body systems such as the heart, eyes, and pancreas. It has been categorized into three somewhat overlapping subtypes: mild, classic, and congenital. The classic form is characterized by muscle weakness and wasting, prolonged muscle tensing (myotonia), cataract, and often abnormal heart function; adults may become physically disabled and may have a shortened life span. The congenital form is characterized by severe generalized weakness at birth, often causing complications with breathing and early death.
“Avidity pioneered AOC technology that combines two powerful technologies: monoclonal antibodies for effective delivery and oligonucleotide therapeutic for potent and selective activity,” said Sarah Boyce, president and CEO of Avidity Biosciences. “Using our AOC platform, we can unlock new potential for RNA therapeutics by efficiently targeting muscle and immune cells.”
Photo: Sarah Boyce, president and CEO of Avidity Biosciences