Rare Daily Staff

Forge Biologics, a viral vector gene therapy manufacturing and development company with a platform to develop proprietary gene therapy products, has launched with $40 million in series A financing.

Perceptive Xontogeny Venture Fund led the funding with participation from Drive Capital. Forge will use the proceeds to expand AAV and for the development of a novel gene therapy pipeline.

Forge Biologics is a viral vector contract development and manufacturing organization (CDMO) and therapeutics developer located in a Columbus, Ohio. It plans to offer AAV manufacturing services at a scale that can support biotech and pharma clients’ ability to accelerate their gene therapy programs from preclinical development through clinical and commercial stage manufacturing.

“Forge is a true gene therapy development engine, bringing together access to viral vector design expertise, quality AAV manufacturing, a management team with significant gene therapy experience, and an exciting pipeline of new therapies for patients,” said Timothy Miller, co-founder, president and CEO of Forge Biologics. “As gene therapy programs continue to demonstrate clinical success, the need for AAV manufacturing has never been greater. Our mission is to enable access to potentially life-saving therapies and help bring them from idea into reality.”

In addition to its CDMO capabilities, Forge is developing its own pipeline of innovative gene therapies aimed at treating patients with genetic diseases. The company’s lead program is a novel AAV and umbilical cord transplant combination approach to treat infantile Krabbe disease, a devastating neurodegenerative disorder. Krabbe disease has a predicted incidence of about 1 in 12,000 people in the U.S. with symptoms developing in babies and rapidly progressing to death by age two.

The combination treatment was pioneered at the University of Pittsburgh in the lab of Maria Escolar, who joins Forge as chief medical officer. Escolar is currently a professor of Pediatrics and director, Program for the Study of Neurodevelopment in Rare Disorders at University of Pittsburgh.

Forge CEO Miller was previously president, CEO and co-founder of Abeona Therapeutics.  The management team also includes co-founders Jaysson Eicholtz, chief operations officer, and Erandi De Silva, chief strategy officer. Eicholtz was previously responsible for Nationwide Children’s Hospital’s gene therapy manufacturing facility, and Silva was previously head of program management at Myonexus Therapeutics.

Chris Garabedian, manager of the Perceptive Xontogeny Fund for Perceptive Advisors and CEO of Xontogeny, will head the Forge board of directors as chairman.

“Given the overwhelming demand for a CDMO that can successfully take a gene therapy program from inception through commercialization,” he said, “we believe Forge serves the industry in filling this important gap and has the team that can do this successfully.”.

Photo: Timothy Miller, co-founder, president and CEO of Forge Biologics

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