Startups, BioPharma

OrbiMed-backed LogicBio raises $4M for hemophilia gene therapy

Fledgling startup LogicBio Therapeutics has raised $4 million from OrbiMed Advisors for its hemophilia gene therapy therapeutic candidate.

DNA data

LogicBio Therapeutics, a gene therapy startup backed quietly by OrbiMed Advisor’s Israeli arm, is in the midst of an early capital raise: It’s brought in $4 million of a proposed $5.4 million round, according to a regulatory filing.

Looks like LogicBio uses recombinant adeno-associated virus-mediated gene targeting (rAAV) to target inherited diseases like hemophilia. The applications of this technology in association with CRISPR gene editing seem promising.

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The company was founded in 2014 by Adi Barzel, a former Stanford University post-doc who completed his research in hemophilia. Its president and CEO is Leszek Lisowski, a former director of gene transfer at San Diego’s Salk Institute for Biological Sciences. Listed on the regulatory filing as a director is OrbiMed Israel’s Erez Chimovitz. Another listed director is Mark Kay, director of Stanford’s program in human gene therapy.

Though LogicBio is still fairly stealth and doesn’t appear to have a website (we’re still waiting to hear back from the company to learn more), Lisowski’s LinkedIn profile describes the startup’s mission:

LogicBio develops gene therapy vectors for previously incurable genetic and infectious diseases, including: hemophilia, HIV/AIDS and methylmalonic acidemia (MMA). Our proprietary technology based on the non-pathogenic Adeno-Associated Viral (AAV) vector offers superior efficiency and safety compared to all competitors on the market, and is uniquely suited for the treatment of children as well as adults.

This may be a stretch, but there’s an interesting Investor Village thread referencing LogicBio from January 2015, in which it links the technology to Sangamo BioSciences’ zinc finger approach to treating similar indications.

Specifically, the poster asks Sangamo CEO Elizabeth Wolffe about a Nature paper on hemophilia authored by LogicBio founder Barzel. According to the forum thread:

“I heard back from Liz Wolffe at Sangamo. They are very familiar with the rAAV work being done at Stanford and with the claims made by Horizon. Based on the relatively low efficiencies achieved so far with these techniques, Sangamo does not consider them to be a competitive threat.”

Cambridge, UK-based Horizon Discovery is also conducting rAAV work – making it a contender in this promising new gene therapy pathway.