London startup Orchard Therapeutics is joining the ranks of commercial-stage gene therapy companies with a new $110 million Series B round to take its lead program through late-stage trials.
The round was led by Baillie Gifford and ORI Capital, while Temasek, Cowen Healthcare Investments, and existing investors joined.
This week may mark a tide turning for the gene therapy crowd, which has been long-riddled by failures and skepticism. Just yesterday, the FDA rolled out a historic approval for Spark Therapeutics’ gene therapy for blindness.
Now, Orchard’s sizeable round will help the company develop its gene therapy OTL-101 against adenosine deaminase severe combined immunodeficiency (ADA-SCID or also known as “bubble boy syndrome”). The therapy aims to fix the disease-causing gene by infusing patients’ own stem cells in their bodies.
The large fundraising round is notable considering Orchard was just founded in 2016 with $33 million to start with. The company is led by individuals who worked on GSK’s ADA-SCID gene therapy Strimvelis, and they positioned Orchard to take on the Big Pharma’s product. Some of this new cash will go towards manufacturing capabilities.
The capital will also fuel Orchard’s late-stage trials. The company’s CEO, Mark Rothera, told Reuters he expects to file a marketing application with the FDA before the end of next year and the drug to be launched in the United States and Europe in 2019.
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