Gene therapy to restore muscle power to the heart nets UW spinoff $2.5 million

fake heart

Damaged or weakened heart muscle that can’t pump enough blood to the rest of the body causes a host of problems that fall under the classification of heart failure. Researchers at the University of Washington have discovered a gene-based method they think can restore strength to those muscles and are progressing toward the clinic

The startup they co-founded, BEAT BioTherapeutics Corp., just announced a $2.5 million seed round from CET Capital Partners and the W Fund, which invests in university spinouts in Washington. According to a U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission filing, that funding is coming in the form of debt.

BEAT says it will use the funds to move its therapy into clinical development. That therapy was built on researchers’ discovery that a small increase in a naturally occurring molecule called dATP appeared to boost the pumping power of the heart muscles, both in speed and force. In animal models, the treatment increases dATP levels in the heart and has shown to restore wall motion and improve overall cardiac performance, the company says.


That technology was spun into a company in 2008 with grants from the National Institutes of Health. Seattle-based BEAT is now led by Michael Kranda, a former chief operating officer of Immunex and CEO of Vaccinogen.

Celladon Corp. and Belgium-based Cardio3 Biosciences are among the companies with heart failure gene therapies already in clinical trials.

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