RARE Daily

Tessera Raises More Than $230 Million to Advance ‘Gene Writing’ Platform

January 12, 2021

Rare Daily Staff

Six months after its unveiling by founder Flagship Pioneering, Tessera Therapeutics raised more than $230 million in a series B financing to advance its Gene Writing platform, a new technology that has the ability to write therapeutic instructions into the genome to treat diseases at their source.

Alaska Permanent Fund, Altitude Life Science Ventures, and SoftBank Vision Fund 2i co-led the financing with participation from Qatar Investment Authority and others.

Tessera says by changing any base pair to another, making small insertions or deletions, and writing entire genes into the genome, Gene Writing can unlock the potential to cure genetic diseases and create life-changing therapeutics in cardiovascular, oncological, neurodegenerative, and infectious diseases.

“The ability to write in the code of life will be a defining technology of this century and drive a fundamental change in medicine. Today’s support is a testament to Tessera’s outstanding team of scientists and our focus on bringing the extraordinary promise of Gene Writing to patients,” said Geoffrey von Maltzahn, CEO and co-founder of Tessera Therapeutics.

“Tessera has pioneered an entirely new platform for curing diseases at their source: DNA,” said Noubar Afeyan, chairman and co-founder of Tessera Therapeutics and founder and CEO of Flagship Pioneering.

Gene Writing is inspired by and builds on nature’s most prevalent class of genes: mobile genetic elements. Tessera’s computational and high-throughput laboratory platform has enabled the team to design, build, and test thousands of engineered and synthetic mobile genetic elements for writing and rewriting the human genome.

Tessera says its Gene Writing technologies overcome the limitations of gene editing and gene therapies and expand the universe of diseases tractable by genetic approaches by: efficiently engineering the genome of somatic cells without double stranded-breaks and with minimal reliance on host DNA repair pathways, unlike nuclease-based gene editing technologies; making any base pair substitution, small insertion, or deletion at specific sites in the genome; permanently adding new DNA to dividing cells, unlike AAV-based gene therapy technologies; and writing new DNA sequences into the genome by delivering only RNA.

Tessera will use the latest round of funding to position multiple therapeutic programs for clinical development by accelerating research and development in its technologies, expanding its team, and establishing manufacturing and automation capabilities critical for its platform and programs.

Listen to our recent podcast with Tessera CEO Geoffrey von Maltzahn

Photo: Geoffrey von Maltzahn, CEO and co-founder of Tessera Therapeutics

Stay Connected

Sign up for updates straight to your inbox.