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Capstan Therapeutics Launches with $165 Million to Develop In Vivo Cell Engineering Therapies

September 14, 2022

Capstan Therapeutics, which is focused on developing and delivering precise in vivo cell engineering to patients, launched with $165 million in financing to develop therapies that combine the power of cell therapy with the precision of genetic medicines.

Photo: Laura Shawyer, Capstan Therapeutics

The company’s technology builds on research conducted in the laboratories of mRNA and cell therapy scientists at the University of Pennsylvania.

Capstan’s funding includes a recently closed $102 million series A financing led by Pfizer Ventures and joined by Leaps by Bayer, Eli Lilly and Company, Bristol Myers Squibb, Polaris Partners, Alexandria Venture Investments, and all existing investors. In November 2021, the company completed a $63 million seed financing that Novartis Venture Fund and OrbiMed led that was joined by RA Capital and Vida Ventures.

The company plans to use the funds to further its mission of advancing the clinical promise of cell-based therapies by enabling precise in vivo engineering of cells with payloads necessary to benefit patients across multiple disease categories. Capstan’s modular platform leverages the biological and technological expertise of its founding scientists and includes proprietary targeted lipid nanoparticles (tLNP) technology, a suite of targeting moieties to mediate cell type-specific uptake, and disease-specific mRNA payloads aimed at directly engineering or eliminating pathogenic cells through in vivo generated CAR T cells.

Capstan is prioritizing programs based on the potential to transform clinical standards of care. The company’s initial efforts will focus on developing first-in-class in vivo CAR therapies, with the goal to deliver treatments in an outpatient setting for patients who have diseases for which there are no effective treatments. Capstan also plans to leverage its precision delivery and engineering technology to advance new therapies for certain monogenic blood disorders.

Laura Shawver has joined the company as president and CEO. She brings more than 20 years of experience in executive leadership positions in oncology and other serious diseases to this role, most recently serving as CEO of Silverback Therapeutics and president and CEO of Synthorx.

“Our ambition at Capstan is to invent new clinical paradigms through targeted in vivo reprogramming of cells,” said Shawver. “Our founding scientific and operational team is purpose-built to advance programs to the clinic that unite decades of combined experience in groundbreaking CAR therapies with the latest advances in mRNA delivery technology.”

Author: Rare Daily Staff

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