SwanBio Raises $56 Million to Advance Novel Gene Therapies for Neurological Conditions
May 18, 2022
SwanBio Therapeutics raised $56 million in a series B financing round to advance a pipeline of adeno-associated virus (AAV)-based therapies for the treatment of devastating, inherited neurological conditions.
Founding investors Syncona Limited and Mass General Brigham Ventures led the financing, bringing SwanBio’s total financing raised to date to $133 million.
“Since our initial investment, SwanBio has made excellent progress, including rapidly advancing its lead program for AMN toward the clinic. In parallel, the company has built the platform capabilities that will allow it to advance its broader pipeline of AAV gene therapies for spinal cord-related disorders toward clinical development,” said Chris Hollowood, chief investment officer of Syncona and chair of SwanBio.
The funding comes just three weeks after SwanBio disclosed that it had laid off one quarter of its 60-person workforce as it was unable to secure additional funding.
The new funds will support the company’s ongoing evolution into a fully integrated research and development organization, with an initial focus on the clinical advancement of SBT101, including plans to dose patients in a phase 1/2 trial by the end of this year.
SBT101 is the first clinical-stage AAV-based gene therapy candidate for the treatment of adrenomyeloneuropathy (AMN), which has been designed to compensate for the disease-causing ABCD1 mutation in people living with AMN. This mutation disrupts the function of spinal cord cells and other tissues, leading to nerve degeneration, causing loss of mobility in adulthood, incontinence, debilitating pain, and sexual dysfunction. Patients often experience adrenal gland dysfunction as well. Between 8,000-10,000 men in the United States and European Union are living with AMN. There are no approved therapies for the treatment of the disease; current standard of care is limited to symptom management.
In early 2022, the FDA cleared SwanBio’s Investigational New Drug application for SBT101 and granted Orphan Drug and Fast Track designations to SBT101. In preclinical studies, treatment with SBT101 demonstrated dose-dependent improvement of disease markers and functional improvement in AMN mouse models. SBT101 was also shown to be well-tolerated in non-human primates at six months post-treatment. The clinical program for SBT101 builds on this positive preclinical data, plus the company’s deep understanding of the underlying pathophysiology of the disease and the patient experience of AMN, including new insights being gathered in SwanBio’s ongoing, proprietary natural history study, CYGNET.
“We are determined in our pursuit of AAV-based therapies targeting the root cause of disease and are building our pipeline to develop treatments where there is a significant unmet need,” said Tom Anderson, CEO and director, SwanBio. “The strategic decisions we make as a company are motivated by our drive to help those affected by neurological diseases as soon as possible because they can’t wait – and we don’t want them to.”
Beyond SBT101, SwanBio is developing a pipeline of gene therapy candidates designed to be delivered intrathecally to targets in both the central and peripheral nervous systems, with an initial focus on spinal cord-related disorders like AMN. The series B funding will be used to further progress the pipeline and apply learnings from SBT101 to other monogenic disorders, as well as polygenic disorders.
Author: Rare Daily Staff
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