Vida Ventures co-leads Dyne's $115M megaround for next-gen oligo therapies aimed squarely at muscles
Dyne Therapeutics started out last April with a modest $50 million to mine targeted muscle disease therapies from its in-house conjugate technology. The biotech has now convinced more investors that it’s got gems on its hands, closing $115 million in fresh financing to push its next-gen oligonucleotide drugs into the clinic.
Vida Ventures and Surveyor Capital led the round, joined by a group of other new backers including Wellington Management Company, Logos Capital and Franklin Templeton.
Atlas — where Dyne was incubated — also returned alongside Forbion and MPM.
Stefan Vitorovic, who co-founded Vida with Arie Belldegrun and others, took the lead on this one. Dyne’s FORCE platform matches exactly their appetite for bold visions in the future of medicine, with the potential to deliver “life-changing outcomes” for patients with muscle diseases, he said.
This is how the biotech plans to do it: By linking an antibody to an oligonucleotide, Dyne’s therapies are engineered to hone in on muscle cells and degrade only disease-causing RNA, thereby avoiding systemic toxicity issues.
Romesh Subramanian, a co-founder of what is now Translate Bio, helped launch the operations as an entrepreneur-in-residence at Atlas. He’s since handed the CEO baton to Joshua Brumm and moved to the CSO post.
“When you deliver a naked oligo, very little gets to the muscle,” he told C&EN back in 2019.
That means a lack of specificity and potential safety problems for drugs like Sarepta’s controversial Exondys 51. While Dyne is aiming directly at that market with its Duchenne muscular dystrophy program, its initial focus is on myotonic dystrophy.
Trailing closely is a third therapy for facioscapulohumeral muscular dystrophy, followed by discovery work in the cardiac and metabolic arenas.
How would the approach compare to gene therapies, which are cropping up at Sarepta and other newer players focused on muscle diseases? We didn’t get a chance to ask Dyne, which is shying away from interviews this morning — perhaps a sign of upcoming plans in a booming biotech IPO market.
Under Brumm, Dyne has been on a bit of a hiring spree recently, poaching Susanna High from bluebird to be COO, appointing ex-Celgene exec Daniel Wilson as VP of intellectual property, and scooping Debra Feldman from Sage Therapeutics as head of regulatory.