Laronde Attracts $440M in First External Financing to Further Advance Endless RNA™ Platform
Laronde | August 30, 2021
Laronde, the company pioneering Endless RNA™ a novel, engineered form of RNA that can be programmed to express therapeutic proteins inside the body, today announced that it has raised $440 Million in a Series B Financing to advance the development of its eRNA platform and a broad pipeline of programs across a number of therapeutic categories. The financing round included the company's founder, Flagship Pioneering, along with funds and accounts advised by T. Rowe Price Associates, Inc., Invus, Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPP Investments), Fidelity Management & Research Company, funds and accounts managed by BlackRock, and Federated Hermes Kaufmann Funds, among others.
"Endless RNA represents a whole new approach to making medicines and treating disease," said Diego Miralles, M.D., Chief Executive Officer of Laronde and CEO-Partner at Flagship Pioneering. "Laronde is creating a new class of drugs that can be programmed to persistently express proteins in the body, is redosable, and can be administered through simple delivery mechanisms, resulting in highly tunable protein levels. The therapeutic possibilities enabled by eRNA are vast with the potential to greatly improve global human health. Having assembled such a knowledgeable and committed group of investors gives us the ability to not only advance this powerful technology platform but also build a transformative company to support our bold vision."
"Over the past few years, we have seen how programmable platforms like translatable mRNA can rapidly bring forward new medicines," said Avak Kahvejian, Ph.D., Co-Founder and Board Member of Laronde, and General Partner, Flagship Pioneering. "eRNA solves many of the limitations of other drug modalities and unlocks new opportunities for creating first- and best-in-class therapeutics. Since launch, we continue to advance the science of eRNA and have been able to precisely demonstrate a controlled expression of secreted peptides, proteins, antibodies, and vaccine constructs in vivo through the use of an array of delivery options, including subcutaneous administration. Given the programmability of the platform and its unique pharmacology, we anticipate accelerated development timelines and a higher rate of program success than traditional biotech programs."
"The field of biotech is at the leading edge of technological progress, challenging us to think beyond incremental advances and to take big leaps – Endless RNA is one of those big leaps," said Noubar Afeyan, Ph.D., Co-founder and Chairman of the Board of Laronde and Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Flagship Pioneering. "We are delighted that investors well familiar with the power and potential of Flagship's bioplatforms are fueling Laronde as we scale the company and the platform to realize the potential of this powerful new class of medicines."
About Endless RNA™
Ribonucleic Acids, or RNAs, play a significant role in biology. Among their functions, they provide the "code" that instructs cells to produce or regulate proteins, the building blocks of life and important regulators of disease processes. Because RNAs provide coded instructions to cells, they can be programmed to produce specific effects. This approach has been validated by the successful development of several important RNA-based medicines, but RNA's potential as a drug development modality has just begun. Endless RNA™, or eRNA, was invented at Flagship Labs and is a new class of synthetic, closed-loop RNA. Because eRNA has no free ends, it is not recognized by the immune system and is very stable, enabling a long duration of protein expression. In addition, eRNA can serve protein-coding and non-protein-coding functions, and its protein translation capabilities are completely modular switching an eRNA "protein sequence cassette" enables the expression of a different protein or multiple proteins that can be tuned as needed on an application-by-application basis.
Laronde is pioneering a platform that offers a completely novel way of modulating human biology. Endless RNA™, invented at Flagship Labs, is a uniquely engineered RNA that can be programmed to express diverse proteins inside the body. It is persistent, non-immunogenic, allows for repeat dosing, and offers flexibility in formulation and delivery. Laronde was founded in 2017 by Flagship Labs, the innovation foundry of Flagship Pioneering. The company is rapidly scaling to support the parallel development of multiple programs across many disease areas.
About Flagship Pioneering
Flagship Pioneering conceives, creates, resources, and develops first-in-category bioplatform companies to transform human health and sustainability. Since its launch in 2000, the firm has, through its Flagship Labs unit, applied its unique hypothesis-driven innovation process to originate and foster more than 100 scientific ventures, resulting in over $130 billion in aggregate value. To date, Flagship has deployed over $2.5 billion in capital toward the founding and growth of its pioneering companies alongside more than $19 billion of follow-on investments from other institutions. The current Flagship ecosystem comprises 41 transformative companies, including Denali Therapeutics , Indigo Ag, Moderna , Rubius Therapeutics , Sana Biotechnology , Seres Therapeutics , and Valo Health.