Taysha Gene Therapies, a patient-centric gene therapy firm, has announced that it has raised $95 million in its mission to eradicate monogenic CNS disease. The Series B, which comes several months after Taysha's $30 million seed round, will be used to further the production of the company's pipeline of 17 adeno-associated viruses (AAV) based gene therapy product candidates. Taysha will be collaborating with the University of Texas Southwestern Gene Therapy Program for the project.
After selling AveXis to Novartis for $8.7 billion, CEO Sean Nolan and SVP RA Session II regrouped to bring Taysha into life. PBM Capital, an investor in AveXis, provided seed financing for the new venture.
The latest $95 million financing will enable Taysha to take its lead asset into the clinic this year, file a further three INDs by the end of 20121, and develop a commercial-scale production plant. Besides, the company has options to take up four additional programs across three different franchises, including neurodevelopment disorders, neurodegenerative diseases, and genetic forms of epilepsy.
TSHA-101, the company's candidate for the treatment of GM2 gangliosidosis, is in prime position to be the first drug to make it to the clinic. At the American Society of Gene and Cell Therapy annual meeting earlier this year, University of Texas Southwestern's Steven Gray, one Taysha's scientific advisors, and his partners showed delivering the gene therapy to mice through a lumbar puncture may improve symptoms at doses low enough to prevent adverse implications.
Led by Session, Taysha intends to file a flurry of INDs to expand its clinical pipeline beyond the GM2 gangliosidosis program rapidly. The company is initially targeting the kind of rare diseases that have served as a general testing ground for gene therapies but has hopes of applying its technology to large patient populations.
The $95 million Series B financing is led by Fidelity Management & Research Company LLC. Other new investors include funds and accounts managed by BlackRock, GV (formerly Goggle Ventures), Franklin Templeton, Casdin Capital, Invus, Perceptive Advisors LLC, Octagon Capital, Sands Capital, Venrock Healthcare Capital Partners, and ArrowMark Partners.