Authored by James Sheppard
The US based venture capital company Fidelity Bioscience has partnered with biotechnology firm REGENX to launch a new company utlising adeno-associated virus (AAV) gene therapy. The company will have access to world class technology and development expertise.
The new company, called Dimension Therapeutics will be focused on developing gene therapies for rare diseases. Dimension will focus on advancing its platform for gene therapy programs through clinical development, starting with lead programs in haemophilia. To aid progress in the rare disease and gene therapy field Dimension will benefit from the expertise of Dr James Wilson, one of the first gene therapy pioneers and Dr Emil Kakkis CEO of ultra-rare disease company Ultragenyx. Both Dr Wilson and Dr Kakkis will act as advisors to Dimension Therapeutics.
Dimension Therapeutics completed its first round of series A funding for an undisclosed amount. The funding was led by Fidelity Biosciences who also made an investment into REGENX. The deal includes the appointment of interim CEO Dr Thomas Beck. Dimension has also appointed Dr Sam Wandsworth as chief science officer. Dr Wandsworth was previously Head of Gene Therapy research at rare disease behemoth, Genzyme. Ben Auspitz, partner at Fidelity Biosciences, has been appointed chairman and will be joined by directors Allan M. Fox, founding and managing partner of FOXKISER, the entrepreneurial force behind REGENX; Donald J. Hayden, an experienced pharmaceutical executive and the chairman of REGENX; and Dr Beck.
Thomas R. Beck, executive partner at Fidelity Biosciences and interim CEO of Dimension Therapeutics said ‘Gene therapy is a fundamental method of disease intervention, changing a patient’s genetic code to treat genetic disease, and in some cases providing a potential lifelong benefit following a single treatment.’
Gene therapy continues to go from strength to strength with investors beginning to return to the sector. With a number of promising academic studies beginning to start the long journey through clinical testing the future is looking brighter for gene therapy. With considerable challenges remaining it is too early to say that gene therapy is truly back, but for now we will continue to celebrate the success of companies such as Dimension Therapeutics and REGENX.