US gene therapy company Renovacor, which is engaged in developing BAG3 gene therapy and other gene therapies for cardiovascular disease, has raised $11 million through a Series A financing round led jointly by Novartis Venture Fund, Broadview Ventures, and BioAdvance.
New Leaf Venture Partners and Innogest Capital also joined the Series A funding round.
The lead program of the Philadelphia-based gene therapy company is a recombinant adeno-associated virus (AAV)-based gene therapy intended for patients suffering from dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) caused by mutations in the BAG3 gene.
Renovacor plans to use proceeds from the financing round to advance the BAG3 gene therapy by filing an investigational new drug (IND) to prepare for starting human clinical trials in dilated cardiomyopathy patients who have mutations in their BAG3 gene.
According to the US gene therapy company, the BAG3 protein plays a role in various critical cellular processes. Included in these are autophagy (protein quality control) and the apoptosis prevention.
Renovacor claims that through extensive preclinical studies, it has demonstrated that deficiencies in BAG3 results in a pathology that mimics human dilated cardiomyopathy. Furthermore, the biopharma company could show that its BAG3 gene therapy treatment can restore normal left ventricular function.
Dilated cardiomyopathy patients with a BAG3 mutation are currently treated with standard of care for heart failure. In spite of improvements in pharmacotherapy and care, the five-year survival of dilated cardiomyopathy patients is only 50%, says Renovacor.
Magdalene Cook – President and CEO of Renovacor, commenting on the investigational BAG3 gene therapy, said: “There are currently no precision medicine options for cardiovascular patients with specific genetic mutations – a deficiency that Renovacor hopes to address.
“By bringing the first precision therapy for a cardiovascular disease to the market, we aim to change the therapeutic paradigm that has existed in this field for more than three decades.”
The US gene therapy company believes that development of a BAG3 gene replacement therapy for dilated cardiomyopathy patients with BAG3 mutations can potentially prevent progression of the disease.
Dr. Arthur M. Feldman – founder of Renovacor, commenting on the BAG3 gene therapy, said: “Renovacor’s gene therapy is the only gene replacement strategy being carried out in a heart failure population today.
“By replacing a missing gene that is causative of disease, Renovacor’s potentially curative treatment aims to stop the progression of the disease and save the lives of otherwise healthy young adults.”