Aura Biosciences nabs $4 million for its pseudovirion-based targeted cancer therapy

A hot segment of targeted cancer therapy is using synthetic viruses, or pseudovirions, to serve as mini drug delivery capsules. These tiny protein shells are engineered to hone in to attack certain cancerous cells – avoiding healthy tissue completely. This model of treatment prevents the toxic cancers from affecting the non-cancerous parts of the body. Cambridge-based pseudovirion developer Aura […]

A hot segment of targeted cancer therapy is using synthetic viruses, or pseudovirions, to serve as mini drug delivery capsules. These tiny protein shells are engineered to hone in to attack certain cancerous cells – avoiding healthy tissue completely. This model of treatment prevents the toxic cancers from affecting the non-cancerous parts of the body.

Cambridge-based pseudovirion developer Aura Biosciences has raised $4 million, according to regulatory filings. It is primarily focused on developing a viral vector that targets metastatic ovarian cancer and non small-cell lung cancer, though it is also working to target certain undisclosed orphan diseases.

The company’s tech comes out of the National Cancer Institute, patented by researcher John T. Schiller.

Aura has slowly and steadily been raising capital since its 2009 launch, with a notable 2012 raise of $3.2 million in a round that included Henri Termeer, former president of Genzyme.

Gotta love this quote, though it’s dated (back to 2009!) and from the former chairman at Aura, Edmundo Muniz.

“Aura’s technology mimics an intercontinental ballistic missile,” Muniz wrote in an e-mail to Ryan McBride over at Xconomy. “We know we can send it to a target thousands of miles away and we know the missile is so precise it can penetrate through the window of a building in a specific city, in a specific block, and inside a specific floor.”