Updated: Aug 7
Ring Therapeutics, a life sciences firm established by Flagship Pioneering to transform gene therapy with its commensal virome platform, announced on July 28, 2021 that it raised $117 million in Series B funding. The round included contributions by Partners Investment, Invus, UPMC Entreprises and Altitude Life Sciences Ventures, as well as accounts and funds advised by T. Rowe Price Associates, Inc., among others, in conjunction with Flagship Pioneering. Funds from the financing will be utilized to back the continued development and expansion of Ring’s novel vector AnnellogyTM platform, the first major disruption of the gene therapy space in over 50 years.
Established by Flagship Labs in 2017, Ring has created the world’s first and only annellovirus database with thousands of newly discovered anello-based vector candidates. This diverse and high prevalent population of commensal (harmless) viruses reside as innocuous denizens in human bodies. They have co-evolved and can be found throughout the human population. Ring has developed a platform to tap the special characteristics of commensal annelloviruses to produce an extensive array of vectors with tissue-specific tropism and the potential capacity to be re-dosed. This could bring about gene therapies and nucleic acid drugs that could possibly be administered several times over the course of an individual’s life without leading to an adverse immune response. Ring’s AnellovectorsTM can be engineered for a wide spectrum of therapeutic modalities and delivered through several routes of administration. Annellovirus vectors possess circular single-stranded DNA molecules that do not go together with a person’s existing DNA (“non-integrating”), defeating some of the major difficulties and limitations of existing viral gene therapy platforms.
Ring has successfully built a novel platform based on the commensal virome to create a completely new class of vector, giving us the potential to revolutionize gene therapy, a field that has historically been hindered by limited breadth, inability to re-dose, and poor tolerability,: disclosed Dr. Tuyen Ong, CEO of Ring Therapeutics and CEO-Partner of Flagship Pioneering. “With this funding, and the partnership of an exceptional group of investors joining us on this exciting journey, we are well positioned to deliver on the promise of Ring’s platform to unlock the full potential of gene therapy and deliver precision medicines.”
Dr. Ong added, “Annelloviruses have been a part of the human body for millennia, making Ring’s Anellovectors the ideal tool to unlock the potential of human biology through the natural advantages of annelloviruses. We are expanding the applications of nucleic acid-based treatments, enabling a wider array of modalities and extending the reach of conventional gene therapy, to provide more solutions to more patients.”
“With its groundbreaking approach to gene therapy, the progress we have made at Ring Therapeutics is a great example of the type of transformative bioplatforms we focus on at Flagship Labs, in this case with an emphasis on programmable therapeutic modalities,” noted Co-Founder and Chairman at Ring Therapeutics and General Partner at Flagship Pioneering, Avak Kahvejian, Ph.D. “We welcome this group of new investors as Ring advances its work to harness the human commensal virome to create a gene therapy platform applicable to many diseases and with the potential to have a profound and far-reaching impact on human health.”
Ring has developed a fully integrated and proprietary vector bioplatforms to discover and vectorize annelloviruses to bring about breakthrough programmable medicines. Ultimately, the firm will have a database of Anellovectors for external and internal clinical programs that may focus on CNS, cardiology, oncology, ophthalmology, rare diseases, pulmonary and others.