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About a month after Lexeo Therapeutics acquired Stelios Therapeutics – bringing its gene therapy pipeline of 18 programs to 21 – investors are looking a little more out of their pockets to make sure New York-based biotechnology is up to the task. of the task.

Lexeo on Thursday morning unveiled a $ 100 million Series B funding round led by D1 Capital Partners and Eventide Asset Management. The funds will be used to support the company’s “next phase of growth,” according to CEO Nolan Townsend, with a particular focus on three leading gene therapies – one for CLN2 Batten disease, one for Batten’s disease. Alzheimer’s and one for a rare disease called Friedreich’s disease. ataxia.

Ronald Crystal

The company’s roots can be traced back to long-haul gene therapy Ronald Crystal, who has worked in the field since the 1980s. He brought his ideas to Weill Cornell Medicine in 1993, where he helped set up a large program. of gene therapy and has spent more than a decade developing potential candidates.

After deciding to separate, Crystal gathered an experienced mastermind to run Lexeo, including Townsend, who spent 12 years at Pfizer; President Steven Altschuler, who was previously president of gene therapy pioneer Spark Therapeutics; and executive vice president and chief marketing officer Jay Barth, who is from Amicus Therapeutics and PTC Therapeutics. Crystal also retained her position at Weill Cornell.

Nolan Townsend

The pipeline currently includes eight applicants for heart and CNS disorders, along with 13 other undisclosed programs. However, only two made it to the clinic: LX1004, which recently completed a Phase I / II study and is headed for a pivotal trial in 2022 for CLN2 Batten disease, an autosomal recessive lysosomal overload disease; and LX100, currently in Phase I for Alzheimer’s disease associated with APOE4.

Townsend also presented a third clinical candidate, dubbed LX2006, for Friedreich’s ataxia. FA is a rare degenerative multisystem disease caused by a genetic mutation that disrupts the normal production of the protein frataxin, which is essential for the functioning of mitochondria in a cell. Lexeo plans to submit an IND for this indication later this year.

Lexeo intends to maintain an ongoing research collaboration with Weill Cornell to strengthen their preclinical pipeline – and with the acquisition of Stelios in July, they acquired a new academic partner in the cardiology department at UC San Diego.

And while Lexeo remains well-funded (the latest round brings the startup’s total raise to $ 185 million), Townsend says he’s not ruling out an IPO: “We can create a lot of value and achieve clear milestones of value creation without IPO or additional funding here. So it’s not necessary, but obviously for any business we always think about the future and that’s, you know, one of the considerations that we have.

In addition to D1 and Eventide, a roster of new and old investors participated in the round including CAM Capital, Verition Fund Management, Laurion Capital Management, Gray’s Creek Capital Partners, Longitude Capital, Omega Funds, Lundbeckfonden Ventures, PBM Capital, Janus Henderson Investisseurs, Woodline Partners LP, Invus Capital and Alexandria Venture Investments.

This story has been updated to clarify that Ronald Crystal still holds his position at Weill Cornell.

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