Upstart GeneTx launches, going head to head with Ovid on rare Angelman syndrome
An Illinois nonprofit has launched a startup developing a drug to treat Angelman syndrome – the genetic condition that’s also being tackled by Jeremy Levin’s higher profile upstart Ovid Therapeutics $OVID.
Levin, who you might know as the former business development chief at Bristol-Myers, was also Teva’s CEO for a brief stint before jumping into the biotech startup business. Ovid, his latest venture, just closed a $75 million IPO last year with a drug to take on Angelman syndrome, a rare disease that affects the nervous system.
Now a new contender in the field has emerged: GeneTx Biotherapeutics, the startup just launched by the Foundation for Angelman Syndrome Therapeutics (FAST).
FAST chairperson Paula Evans will come on as CEO, while the nonprofit’s CSO Allyson Berent joins as COO. Both are serving on an unpaid basis, the foundation said in a statement.
GeneTx’s drug hopeful is called GTX-101, an antisense therapy that works to silence genes by binding to the messenger RNA produced by that gene.
“For the past eight years, FAST has narrowly focused on investing in leading-edge technologies to treat the underlying cause and debilitating symptoms of Angelman syndrome,” Berent said in a statement. “Our aggressive research agenda and collaboration with Texas A&M AgriLife Research has identified and characterized a promising therapeutic to address this devastating disorder. Angelman syndrome has such a significant unmet need, for which there are no approved therapeutics, and the landscape for bringing meaningful treatments to the community is significantly expanding.”