BOSTON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Strand Therapeutics, the programmable mRNA company developing curative therapies for cancer and other diseases, today announced it has added an additional $45M to its Series A financing round, bringing the total amount raised in the Series A to $97 million. New investor FPV led the round, with participation from Eli Lilly and Company, Potentum Partners, and existing investors Playground Global, and a further unannounced syndicate.
The funding will be used to advance Strand’s first drug candidate, a programmable mRNA therapy for solid tumor immuno-oncology into Phase 1 clinical trials next year. The funds will also be used to further develop its systemic delivery mechanism, which is designed to deliver tumor microenvironment-modifying mRNA to tumor sites and immune cells. To support these efforts, Strand will expand its multidisciplinary team across biology, bioengineering, bioinformatics, manufacturing, automation, and various G&A functions.
Strand’s mission is to improve the efficacy, safety, ease of delivery and cost-effectiveness of treatments for deadly and chronic illnesses, through the use of long-acting programmable mRNA-based therapeutics that can deliver multi-functional treatments. mRNA therapeutics sense biomarkers found in cancer cells and express proteins only inside cancer cells. Strand is developing a pipeline of programmable, long-acting mRNA therapeutics that will be delivered in nanoparticles. The result is the ability to precisely control the location, timing, and expression level of mRNA within the patient, which is expected to have a better safety profile.
“We raised this round at a step-up valuation from several of the most reputable global investors in the industry,” said Jake Becraft, Ph.D., CEO & Co-Founder, Strand Therapeutics. “The idea behind Strand and programmable mRNA in cancer, is to stimulate an immune response against the tumor using messenger RNA. With support from a world-class investor consortium, we are set to accelerate clinical development for our lead candidate in oncology with first-in-human data expected shortly following trial initiation. Our technology will enable mRNA to reach its full potential and expand beyond the scope of vaccines into a rigorous therapeutic modality.”
“Strand is bringing the promise and potential of messenger RNA-based therapeutics beyond vaccines to treat some of the hardest diseases to target such as cancer,” said Pegah Ebrahimi, Co-Founder & Managing Partner of FPV. “mRNA is a future cornerstone of medicine, and Strand is on an ambitious path to push the industry beyond the challenges of traditional mRNA technologies with their precision. The convergence of biology and technology with next-generation programmable mRNA will fuel new opportunities for this ground-breaking technology to improve human lives, beginning with the millions of patients with cancer who desperately need new therapies with better efficacy and safety. We could not be more thrilled to back this remarkable team.”
“The COVID-19 vaccines introduced the world to the astounding promise of mRNA therapeutics. While these vaccines literally saved the world, they represent “mRNA 1.0” which suffers from poor expression and nonspecific targeting of diseased tissues which have severely limited the scope of use,” said Jory Bell, General Partner at Playground. “Over a decade ago, scientists at MIT began developing a synthetic biology solution to enable truly programmable drugs with the ability to target diseased tissues while avoiding healthy tissues. Those scientists eventually founded Strand Therapeutics to realize the full potential of “mRNA 2.0” and we are thrilled to continue to support Strand in its mission to bring precision mRNA therapies to patients.”
Strand genetically programs logic circuits that control the location, timing, and intensity of expression of therapeutic proteins within the patient’s body, to enable the precise and controlled delivery of multiple disease treatments in an RNA-modality agnostic manner. Such genetic programming enables Strand’s mRNA to sense and implement cell-type specific expression by sensing and classifying the unique microRNA expression signatures of cells. The company signed a partnership deal with BeiGene to develop and commercialize multi-functional mRNA treatments for solid tumors.
About Strand Therapeutics
Strand Therapeutics is a next-generation biotechnology company committed to transforming the lives of patients by developing first-in-class programmable mRNA therapeutics. Founded by leaders in mRNA-based synthetic biology at MIT, Strand is creating the first platform for programmable, long-acting mRNA therapeutics that are bioengineered to enable precise control of the location, timing, intensity, and duration of therapeutic activity. Strand’s mission is to develop improved treatment options for cancer and other life-threatening diseases. The company is headquartered in Boston, MA. For more information, visit www.strandtx.com. Follow us on Twitter @StrandTx.
FPV is a new $450m fund focused on backing and serving mission-driven founders throughout their entire journey. Founded by industry veterans Wesley Chan (Founder of Google Analytics and Google Voice) and Pegah Ebrahimi (former COO and CIO at Morgan Stanley and COO of Cisco Collaboration), the firm has backed well-known, high-impact startups including Canva, Flexport, Guild Education, Xilis, and Manifold Bio.