INDUSTRIAL IMPACT

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.

About Laronde
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.

Spotlight

Babies less than one-year-old can get seriously sick from eating honey. Honey contains C. botulinum bacteria, which can produce a toxin in a baby’s large intestine, leading to a rare but serious illness known as “infant botulism.” Fortunately, infant botulism is not very common, and infant botulism due to honey is even rarer. But the FDA recommends waiting until your baby is one year old to feed them the sweet treat.

Spotlight

Babies less than one-year-old can get seriously sick from eating honey. Honey contains C. botulinum bacteria, which can produce a toxin in a baby’s large intestine, leading to a rare but serious illness known as “infant botulism.” Fortunately, infant botulism is not very common, and infant botulism due to honey is even rarer. But the FDA recommends waiting until your baby is one year old to feed them the sweet treat.

Related News

RESEARCH

Chemistry42, an AI System from Insilico, has been Incorporated into UCB's Drug Discovery Programmes

Insilico Medicine | March 15, 2021

Insilico Medicine, an AI drug discovery company, reported that UCB will incorporate Insilico's Chemistry42™ into UCB's inward drug discovery pipeline. UCB's initial appropriation of Insilico Medicine's restrictive innovation will give UCB's researchers the capacity to plan novel hit compounds that fulfill various predefined boundaries quickly and smooth out lead enhancement. With the Chemistry42™ platform, UCB researchers will likewise lessen the endeavors and expenses commonly connected with the plan, testing and commercialization of new drugs. Chemistry42™ v1.0 will be modified and conveyed on UCB's cloud-based supercomputing infrastructure. Chemistry42™ is an adaptable, easy to understand programming platform that incorporates man-made brainpower (AI) strategies with the fields of therapeutic and computational science for the plan of novel little atoms with client characterized druglike physicochemical properties. The platform is an adaptable conveyed web application equipped for running various assignments in equal very quickly. Container coordination and work process the executives consider unsurprising equipment freethinker asset distribution and the execution on one or the other cloud or neighborhood HPC infrastructures. "UCB is one of the leading companies in small molecule drug discovery. It was their insight and approach at the forefront of this science that encouraged us to move into AI-powered chemistry over five years ago and it gives me great pleasure to see UCB among the launch partners of our Chemistry42 operating system," said Alex Zhavoronkov, Ph.D., CEO of Insilico Medicine. "Insilico Medicine has been very responsive in this quickly developing area of science and we are delighted to be one of the launch partners for Chemistry42," Jiye Shi, Global Head of Computer-Aided Drug Design at UCB said. "Our hope is that this platform will further enhance the digital transformation of our drug discovery capabilities for the benefit of patients worldwide." About Insilico Medicine Insilico Medicine develops software that leverages generative models, reinforcement learning (RL), and other modern machine learning techniques to generate new molecular structures with specific properties. Insilico Medicine also develops software for the generation of synthetic biological data, target identification, and the prediction of clinical trial outcomes. The company integrates two business models: providing AI-powered drug discovery services and software through its Pharma.AI platform (www.insilico.com/platform/) and developing its pipeline of preclinical programs. The preclinical program is the result of pursuing novel drug targets and novel molecules discovered through its platforms. Since its inception in 2014, Insilico Medicine has raised over $52 million and received multiple industry awards. About UCB UCB, Brussels, Belgium is a global biopharmaceutical company focused on the discovery and development of innovative medicines and solutions to transform the lives of people living with severe diseases of the immune system or of the central nervous system.

Read More

Angstrom Bio Launches AMPD™, Platform for High-accuracy, High-frequency, Low-cost COVID-19 and Respiratory Pathogen Testing

Angstrom Bio | October 14, 2020

Angstrom Bio, Inc. today announces the launch of AMPD™, its nanopore sequencing and machine learning powered platform for high-accuracy, high-frequency, low-cost COVID-19 and respiratory pathogen testing. AMPD leverages the extreme resolution and bandwidth of nanopore sequencing to provide the accuracy and volume necessary to detect the earliest stages of exposure to pathogens like SARS-CoV-2 and influenza and to enable schools and places of work to reopen safely and confidently. Angstrom will partner with businesses, schools, and public sector organizations to implement cost-effective testing programs designed to maximize employee and stakeholder safety and to minimize the potential for operational disruption. The company intends to bring more than 1,000,000 results per day online in 2021, at prices that enable nearly any organization to have access to repeated, high-quality testing. "Despite the tremendous progress made in diagnostics since the beginning of the pandemic, it is clear that testing today remains an area plagued by too many tradeoffs between availability, accuracy, and speed, as well as ease of collection, cost, and adaptability," said Carlos F. Santos, Ph.D., Angstrom's CEO. "We designed AMPD to eliminate the need for such tradeoffs. By leveraging the extraordinary resolution and bandwidth of nanopore sequencing and the power of our machine learning-driven diagnostic pipelines, and by rethinking pre-COVID-19 diagnostic workflows, we have been able to design a platform that can provide the extreme scale and accuracy required to meet the unprecedented challenges posed by COVID-19." At the heart of AMPD is a novel nucleotide chemistry and computational biology platform designed to harness the bandwidth and resolution of Oxford Nanopore Technologies' nanopore Third-Generation Sequencing (TGS) systems. Unlike diagnostic systems that rely upon fluorescence-driven workflows for diagnostic analysis, nanopore TGS counts individual DNA molecules that pass through each of hundreds of nano-scale pores in a specially-designed membrane. The combination of single-molecule resolution and parallelism allow for the processing of tens of thousands of diagnostic results per AMPD run, while enabling orders of magnitude greater sensitivity than is currently available. This makes AMPD ideal for parties that require timely access to affordable, repeated testing, but that cannot compromise safety.

Read More

CELL AND GENE THERAPY

Xylyx Bio partners with Inventia Life Science to develop tissue-specific, digitally-printed bioinks for drug discovery

Xylyx Bio, Inc. | September 02, 2021

Xylyx Bio, a New York-based leader in advanced biomaterials, and Inventia Life Science, a Sydney-based biotechnology company, today announced their strategic partnership following promising results developing more realistic, scalable, and reproducible 3D cell cultures for drug discovery and biomedical research. As researchers seek to develop more physiologically relevant in vitro models, 3D bioprinting provides promising tools to quickly and more precisely culture cells to develop more effective drugs. Inventia Life Science differentiates from other bioprinting solutions with their RASTRUM™ 3D cell culture platform, which empowers biologists with easy access to reproducible and tunable tissue models at scale. By incorporating liver-specific extracellular matrix (ECM) components developed by Xylyx Bio, the partners are developing robust 3D bioprinted liver tissue models. Inventia will complete product development and offer these solutions for research and drug discovery applications, with plans to expand offerings to other tissue types. Dr. John O'Neill, Xylyx Bio Co-Founder and Chief Scientific Officer, stated: "Xylyx is collaborating with groundbreaking companies like Inventia to lead the industry transition to physiologically relevant disease modeling and compound testing 'in matrico'." Dr. Julio Ribeiro, Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Inventia Life Science, is very enthusiastic about this partnership. He stated, "At Inventia Life Science we strive to provide an automated 3D cell culture solution to accelerate drug discovery and biomedical research. This partnership with Xylyx is a significant step in the right direction in further expanding our matrix portfolio to enable the generation of complex tissue models in a reproducible and tissue specific manner." About Xylyx Bio Xylyx Bio is a pioneer in advanced biomaterials, serving customers across research, clinical and commercial applications. The Company's products provide the full suite of components from the natural cell microenvironment essential for the most accurate and actionable results for scientists working in pharmaceutical development, cell biology research, and regenerative medicine. About Inventia Life Science Inventia Life Science is a fast-growing biotech start-up based in Sydney, Australia, that is revolutionizing biomedical research, drug discovery and regenerative medicine. The award-winning RASTRUM™ 3D cell culture platform has already been adopted in leading medical research institutes and biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies worldwide, which are creating bioprinted tissue models that mimic real human biology.

Read More