RARE Daily

Kelonia Launches with $50 Million to Pioneer Precision Targeted Genetic Medicines

April 28, 2022

Kelonia Therapeutics, a company focusing on in vivo gene delivery, launched with a $50 million series A financing to advance novel genetic medicines for a wide range of diseases.

Photo: Kevin Friedman, president and chief scientific officer of Kelonia

Kelonia believes its platform overcomes the central challenge that has prevented the full realization of gene therapy for patients. Despite life-changing responses, existing gene therapies are highly complex, costly, and limited by complicated treatment paradigms, tractable therapeutic applications, and dose-limiting toxicities. By enabling precisely targeted, highly efficient, manufacturable, off-the-shelf, in vivo gene delivery, Kelonia’s technology has the potential to dramatically expand the impact and reach of genetic medicines.

Kelonia is backed by a strong syndicate of investors that includes Alta Partners, Horizons Ventures, Venrock and other investors.

The company will use the funding to redefine what’s possible for genetic medicines starting with an off-the-shelf chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) to treat hematologic cancer that may enable the clinical benefit of CAR T without the typical toxicities and with the ease of access of conventional medicines. Additionally, the company will advance other programs for oncology and non-oncology indications, and further expand its gene delivery platform and capabilities.

“The cell and gene therapy field has been searching for solutions to durable in vivo genetic modifications regardless of whether applying gene editing, RNA expression or viral-mediated gene integration,” said Kevin Friedman, president and chief scientific officer of Kelonia. “At Kelonia, we believe we have found an in vivo gene delivery solution that is safe, effective, and manufacturable for broad therapeutic application. With our series A funding and key strategic collaborations, we will advance our lead product candidate toward clinical studies and further optimize our technology to explore treating diseases never thought possible with genetic medicines.”

Based on discoveries made in the lab of Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Michael Birnbaum, and leveraging pioneering research from leading scientists at the French National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS), Kelonia’s in vivo gene delivery technology enables a few potent lentiviral vector-like particles armed with an adjustable targeting system to precisely, efficiently, and safely deliver payloads exactly where needed to treat a broad range of diseases. The company’s early applications combine oncology-targeted therapeutics, such as CAR and T cell receptor molecules, with Kelonia’s precision in vivo targeting technology. When used in concert, this combination enables potent and precise tumor targeting with limited “off-tumor” toxicity, which would otherwise be a concern.

Administered directly in vivo as an off-the-shelf medicine, Kelonia’s transformational therapies in development for solid and hematologic tumors have the potential to democratize patient access to genetic medicines. Beyond oncology, the company will advance its technology to unlock delivery to previously hard-to-reach tissues, such as neurological, muscular, or renal, to deliver different types of genetic cargo with the goal of radically transforming the treatment of diseases in these areas.

In addition to the completion of its series A, Kelonia has established strategic collaborations with Adimab and ElevateBio that are already successfully underway.

Kelonia will leverage Adimab’s antibody discovery and engineering expertise and proprietary technologies, across a range of applications, to access tissue-specific antibodies that enable unlocking precise in vivo gene delivery to different tissues as well as antibodies that can be leveraged within the therapeutic genetic cargo.

Through an expanding partnership, Kelonia will utilize ElevateBio’s lentiviral vector platform, process and analytical development expertise, and cGMP manufacturing capabilities to develop and advance novel manufacturing processes for Kelonia and manufacture of Kelonia’s products.

Author: Rare Daily Staff

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