Newport Beach, CA & Seattle, WA, April 22, 2020: Myosana Therapeutics, Inc., a new biotech company developing novel platform technology for non-viral gene delivery, raised up to $1M in seed financing from CureDuchenne Ventures. Myosana will use this initial funding to advance development of its innovative non-viral gene therapy to deliver full length dystrophin for Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD).
Myosana Therapeutics was founded in 2018 by University of Washington School of Medicine faculty members Nick Whitehead and Stan Froehner. They developed a pioneering non-viral gene delivery platform technology that specifically targets muscle cells to produce the missing protein caused by a mutation of a gene. Without regard to gene size, this new approach delivers the gene to the cell nuclei. Myosana’s platform technology is applicable for both skeletal and cardiac muscles, and therefore an ideal therapy for Duchenne muscular dystrophy. Additionally, many other neuromuscular diseases may also significantly benefit from this gene delivery approach, as it overcomes the many limitations of adeno-associated virus (AAV) gene therapy.
“We are extremely pleased to receive this funding from Cure Duchenne Ventures. This is an important milestone for Myosana and will help accelerate our novel platform technology for non-viral, full length dystrophin gene delivery,” said Steve Runnels, Chief Executive Officer of Myosana Therapeutics, Inc.
“Our muscle targeted, non-viral gene delivery platform overcomes many of the limitations of AAV viral vectors which deliver “micro-dystrophin genes”, said, Nick Whitehead, Chief Scientific Officer of Myosana. “Unlike current AAV delivered gene therapy, our task is to use full length dystrophin gene therapy to dramatically improve patients suffering from devastating diseases.”
“The strength of Myosana’s team and early work made this an obvious investment on behalf of the Duchenne community”, said Debra Miller, CEO and Founder of CureDuchenne. “We have been a leader in funding solutions for future problems like immunogenicity to traditional AAV gene therapy programs. We’re very excited at the prospect of Myosana’s non-viral gene therapy offering full-length dystrophin to potentially treat 100% of the Duchenne population. This first and early financing into Myosana highlights our commitment to use venture philanthropy to fund meaningful treatments for this generation of boys living with Duchenne. CureDuchenne extends our gratitude to those of the Duchenne community who have helped us raise the money used for this investment” As part of the transaction, Debra Miller will join Myosana’s Board of Directors.
About Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD)
DMD is a severe X-linked form of muscular dystrophy that affects approximately 1 in 5000 males. DMD is caused by the absence of the dystrophin protein. Dystrophin is a large protein that provides multiple cellular functions and helps to protect skeletal and cardiac muscle against injury, inflammation and fibrosis. Individuals with DMD show progressive muscular degeneration and lose the ability to walk by early to mid-teens and progress to full loss of upper body function. Cardiopulmonary complications are the primary cause of death.
About Myosana Therapeutics
Myosana Therapeutics, Inc. is a spin out from the University of Washington. Founders of the company are Stan Froehner and Nick Whitehead. Stan is the UW Medicine Distinguished Professor and Chair of the Department of Physiology & Biophysics in the School of Medicine at UW and also serves as the Chairman of Myosana Therapeutics. Nick is a Research Associate Professor in the department and his discovery for delivery of whole genes to skeletal and cardiac muscles using a non-viral platform have great potential to overcome many limitations of viral delivery. He also serves as CSO for Myosana. The initial focus of the Company is on disease-modifying therapeutics for Duchenne muscular dystrophy, but this therapeutic approach also opens the opportunity for treatment of other neuromuscular genetic diseases. Please see www.myosanatherapeutics.com for additional information.
CureDuchenne is recognized as a global leader in research, patient care and innovation for improving and extending the lives of those with Duchenne muscular dystrophy. As the leading genetic killer of young boys, Duchenne affects more than 300,000 individuals living today. CureDuchenne is dedicated to finding and funding a cure for Duchenne by breaking the traditional charitable mold through an innovative venture philanthropy model that funds groundbreaking research, early diagnosis, and community education. For more information on how to help raise awareness and funds needed for research, please visit www.cureduchenne.org.