RARE Daily

Kyverna Raises $60 Million to Advance CAR T-Cell Therapies for Autoimmune Diseases

August 3, 2023

Rare Daily Staff

Kyverna Therapeutics closed an oversubscribed $60 million series B financing round extension, bringing the total series B financing round to $145 million.

New investors Bain Capital Life Sciences and GordonMD Global Investments LP joined existing investors Gilead Sciences, Westlake Village BioPartners, Vida Ventures, Northpond Ventures, RTW Investments, Insight Partners, CAM Capital, LYFE Capital, jVen Capital, and others in the financing.

Chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cell therapy involves modifying a patient’s immune T cells to recognize and remove B cells in the patient’s body. Kyverna’s anti-CD19 CAR T-cell therapies, KYV-101 and KYV-201, specifically target CD19, a protein expressed on the surface of B cells which is involved in various types of autoimmune diseases including lupus nephritis. These novel therapies have the potential to offer new hope to patients who have exhausted current treatment options.

KYV-101 is an autologous version of a novel, fully human clinical-stage anti-CD19 CAR T-cell construct with properties well suited for use in B cell-driven autoimmune diseases such as lupus nephritis and other B cell-driven autoimmune diseases. In a 20-patient phase 1/2 study in oncology, expected anti-lymphoma activity was associated with a significant reduction of cytokines released that translated into a strong reduction of cytokine-driven side effects, such as the rate of immune effector cells-associated neurotoxicity syndrome (ICANS).

The fully human anti-CD19 CAR also translated into reduced immunogenicity that favorably impacted cell persistence at one month. Kyverna recognized that these properties singled out KYV-101 as a product ideally poised for use in autoimmune disease patients, and the company obtained exclusive, worldwide licenses from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to use this anti-CD19 construct in both autologous and allogeneic CAR T-cell therapies. KYV-101 has initiated a phase 1 clinical trial in lupus nephritis in the U.S. and a phase 1/2 trial in Germany.

Lupus nephritis (LN) is one of the most serious complications of systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), disease comprising a spectrum of vascular, glomerular, and tubulointerstitial lesions that develops in approximately 50 percent of SLE patients within 10 years of their initial diagnosis. LN is associated with considerable morbidity, including an increased risk of end-stage renal disease requiring dialysis or renal transplantation and an increased risk of death. There are limited approved therapies for the treatment of LN. Management typically consists of induction therapy to achieve remission and long-term maintenance therapy to prevent relapse.

KYV-201 is an allogeneic version of Kyverna’s novel, fully human clinical-stage anti-CD19 chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cell construct with properties well suited for use in B cell-driven autoimmune diseases such as lupus nephritis and other B cell-driven autoimmune diseases. KYV-201 leverages the power of genome editing through a proprietary ex vivo CRISPR/Cas9-based allogeneic platform for use in B cell-mediated autoimmune diseases.


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