RARE Daily

Locanabio Raises $100 Million to Advance RNA-Targeted Gene Therapies

December 14, 2020

Rare Daily Staff

Locanabio has raised $100 million in a series B financing to advance RNA-targeting gene therapies for patients with severe neurodegenerative, neuromuscular and retinal diseases.

Vida Ventures led the financing with participation from new investors RA Capital Management, Invus, Acuta Capital Partners, and an investment fund associated with SVB Leerink, and existing investors ARCH Venture Partners, Temasek, Lightstone Ventures, UCB Ventures, and GV.

“This financing positions us to accelerate our efforts to advance multiple promising programs into IND-enabling studies in 2021 and to further develop our novel RNA-targeting platform, which has the potential to be a major new advance in medicine that can bring hope to patients with many devastating genetic diseases,” said Jim Burns, CEO at Locanabio.

The new funding will be used to advance Locanabio’s portfolio of RNA-targeted gene therapies and expand the technology platform to pursue a broad range of therapeutic indications. Its unique and multi-dimensional approach uses gene therapy to deliver RNA binding protein-based systems to correct the message of disease-causing RNA and thereby change the lives of patients with devastating genetic diseases.

Locanabio is currently developing therapies to treat multiple genetic diseases with no approved therapeutic alternatives, including Huntington’s disease, spinocerebellar ataxia type 1, myotonic dystrophy type 1, genetic forms of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and retinal diseases.

Locanabio said Rajul Jain, director of Vida Ventures, will join its board of directors. Prior to joining Vida, Jain, a physician-scientist by background, was on the executive team and headed development for Kite Pharma, and previously was global development lead for Amgen.

“The unique approach in RNA targeting using gene therapy to deliver RNA binding proteins developed by Locanabio represents the next frontier of genetic medicine with the ability to target the root cause of a range of genetic diseases,” said Jain. “They have built a strong management team to execute this bold vision and we are proud to support them.”

Photo: Jim Burns, CEO at Locanabio

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