CELL AND GENE THERAPY
Tune Therapeutics | December 03, 2021
Tune Therapeutics, a biotechnology company pioneering the creation of epi-therapeutic medicines, launched today with its powerful and precise genetic tuning platform, TEMPO. This cutting-edge technology dials gene expression up or down to desired levels – with the potential to reverse pathways of cancer, genetic disease, and aging by changing cell fate and function at will.
"Genetic medicine is at a tipping point. We now understand that the driving force of human health and disease is not our genes, but the epigenomic elements that shape and control them. Until now, scientists and bioengineers lacked the combined understanding, clinical expertise, and technology needed to make epigenomic therapies a practical reality. Now, we have all three."
Matt Kane, CEO of Tune Therapeutics
Tune's proprietary TEMPO platform can rapidly target and adjust the epigenomic machinery of the cell, which shapes DNA and controls gene expression. By varying specific control modules in an iterative process, TEMPO can fine-tune expression toward healthy levels – even in diseases involving multiplex or polygenic interactions.
Unlike genome editing, the tuning process does not generate double- or single-strand breaks in DNA and makes no permanent changes to the DNA sequence. This de-risks the precise targeting of entire gene networks, allowing Tune to simultaneously turn silenced genes on and dial over-expressed genes down, in a practical, therapeutic context.
Tune has already shown that TEMPO can locate epigenomic elements involved in several intractable genetic conditions – revealing targets and networks that would be invisible or inaccessible to gene editing approaches. Moreover, Tune can optimize TEMPO to command expression of individual genes or networks with remarkable specificity and precision. This opens the door to an entirely new class of epi-therapeutics.
"The exciting challenge in front of us is taking these transformative advances in technology and extending their potential for our greater society," said Charlie Gersbach, PhD, Acting Chief Scientific Officer, Tune Therapeutics. "From proof of concept in rare, single-gene disorders to common conditions that aren't linked to a single gene mutation – but are treatable through epigenomic control and constitute the vast majority of human diseases."
Veteran Genomic Medicine Leadership Team
Tune is launching with a veteran leadership team, endowed with deep expertise in gene and cell therapy, genome editing, and epigenetics.
Matt Kane, Chief Executive Officer
Akira Matsuno, Co-Founder, President and Chief Financial Officer
Charlie Gersbach, Ph.D., Co-Founder, Acting Chief Scientific Officer
Fyodor Urnov, Ph.D., Co-Founder, Scientific Advisory Board
Heidi Zhang, Ph.D., Executive Vice President, Head of Technical Operations
Blythe Sather, Ph.D., Vice President, Head of Research
In addition, Tune's Board of Directors includes Mr. Kane, Dr. Gersbach, Ali Behbahani, M.D., (New Enterprise Associates), and co-founder Dan McHugh
Drawing upon deep, local talent pools in Durham and Seattle, Tune has assembled two highly seasoned discovery and development teams, secured foundational intellectual property from Duke University, and raised $40 million from top-tier investors – including co-leads New Enterprise Associates and Emerson Collective, with Hatteras Venture Partners, Mission BioCapital, and others joining the round. This financing will enable Tune to rapidly advance its preclinical research, attract top-tier talent, and further develop its therapeutic platform.
"Tune is effectively pioneering a brand-new therapeutic modality," said Dr. Behbahani. "With the unbound potential of this approach, and their collective successes in the field, Tune is primed to become a transformative presence in modern biomedicine."
About Tune Therapeutics
Tune Therapeutics, Inc. is orchestrating the power of the epigenome to treat complex, pervasive diseases that have long eluded treatment. With its versatile and powerful TEMPO epigenomic control platform, Tune's experienced team is pioneering a new therapeutic modality that can fine-tune any gene network. In breaking free from the limitations of traditional gene and cell therapies, Tune is developing solutions for even the most challenging and intractable diseases – and building the capacity to transform human health and medicine.
Westlake Village BioPartners | December 15, 2020
Westlake Village BioPartners today announced the launch of two new funds totaling $500 million to build and put resources into promising life sciences organizations with transformative therapeutic technologies.
The first fund, known as Opportunity 1, is $70 million and permits Westlake to contribute extra Series B or later-round capital into promising organizations they incubated or invested into with their original fund, Westlake BioPartners 1 (WBP1). One example is a beginning phase biotechnology organization zeroed in on creating accuracy medicines for genetically characterized neurological and immunological illnesses.
The second fund, Westlake Village BioPartners 2 Fund (WBP2), is $430 million and will focus in on hatching and putting resources into approximately 12 Series A new businesses or co-lead Series A rounds with different financial specialists, and will likewise consider additional Series B or later-round investments in the most encouraging of these companies.
Serotiny | March 01, 2022
Serotiny, a leader in high-throughput therapeutic Multi-Domain Protein engineering, and Tessera Therapeutics, a biotechnology company pioneering a new approach in genetic medicines known as Gene Writing technology, today announced a collaboration to engineer programmable Gene Writer proteins. This collaboration will build on Tessera’s innovations in genome engineering technologies and apply Serotiny’s tMDP mining and design expertise to further optimize Tessera’s programmable Gene Writer proteins, capable of making diverse and directed alterations to the genome.
“We’re extremely excited to be working with the Tessera team. It provides Serotiny a unique opportunity to extend the validation of our platform and to continue to advance our efforts in discovering and developing proteins with novel function for the purpose of enhancing the therapeutic utility of next-generation genetic medicines.”
Colin Farlow, J.D., Serotiny’s CEO
Tessera’s Gene Writer candidates can allow the substitution, insertion, or deletion of DNA sequences, as well as the writing of entire genes into the genome, offering the potential for a new category of genetic medicines. By partnering with Serotiny, Tessera will have the ability to identify, screen, and optimize a variety of proteins that can serve as the foundation of future Gene Writer therapies across a variety of disease states.
“Tessera’s mission is to cure disease by writing in the code of life and we’re committed to continuously innovating to improve and expand our Gene Writing platform,” said Geoffrey von Maltzahn, PhD, co-founder and CEO of Tessera. “Our R&D engine seeks to learn from billions of years of mobile genetic element evolution to generate novel Gene Writing systems with the ability to solve important challenges in genetic medicine. Serotiny’s multi-domain engineering expertise has the potential to further optimize our Gene Writer protein libraries and we’re delighted to partner with the Serotiny team.”
Under terms of the agreement Serotiny will receive an upfront payment and is eligible for certain future consideration, contingent upon the collaboration achieving pre-specified performance thresholds.
Serotiny is a pre-clinical discovery company building better gene and cell therapies through high-throughput engineering of therapeutic Multi-Domain Proteins (tMDP) such as Chimeric Antigen Receptors (CARs), CAR alternatives, accessory proteins, and next generation gene editors. At the heart of Serotiny’s technology is a discovery platform that harmonizes computationally aided protein design, high-throughput cellular assays, and next generation sequencing. Serotiny’s platform enables a cross disciplinary approach to engineering large and often unstructured multi-domain proteins, applying expertise from synthetic biology, immunology, machine learning, software engineering and bioinformatics.
About Tessera’s Gene Writer platform
Tessera’s Gene Writer proteins are based on nature’s genome architects, Mobile Genetic Elements (MGEs)—the most abundant class of genes across the tree of life, representing approximately half of the human genome. Tessera has evaluated tens of thousands of natural and synthetic MGEs to create Gene Writer candidates in multiple categories including
RNA Gene Writer proteins that use target-primed reverse transcription (TPRT), which evolved in a class of MGEs known as retrotransposons. TPRT uses three steps to make an alteration: DNA-binding, DNA-nicking (without double strand breaks to DNA), and reverse transcription. Tessera’s Gene Writing technology requires a DNA sequence match at all three steps, reducing the likelihood of off-target editing. Tessera’s Gene Writer components can be delivered as therapeutic compositions comprised of RNA molecules within lipid nanoparticles, offering the potential for scalable, re-dosable genetic medicines with the ability to make the full spectrum of small and large edits to genome, from single or multi-base pair corrections, insertions, deletions, to writing entire genes.
DNA Gene Writer proteins are derived from recombinases and integrases and enable permanent integration of whole-gene sequences, delivered as DNA, into the genome without the introduction of double-strand breaks. This opens up the potential for treating pediatric patients leveraging validated delivery modalities
Tessera’s research engine further optimizes the discovered Gene Writer candidates for efficiency, specificity, and fidelity—essentially compressing eons of evolution into a few months.
About Tessera Therapeutics
Tessera Therapeutics is pioneering Gene Writing technology, which consists of multiple technology platforms designed to offer scientists and clinicians the ability to write therapeutic messages into the human genome, thereby curing diseases at their source. The Gene Writing platform allows the correction of single nucleotides, the deletion or insertion of short sequences of DNA, and the writing of entire genes into the genome, offering the potential for a new category of genetic medicines with broad applications both in vivo and ex vivo. Tessera Therapeutics was founded by Flagship Pioneering, a life sciences enterprise that conceives, resources, and develops first-in-category bioplatform companies to transform human health and sustainability.