Dyno Therapeutics closes $100m to accelerate gene therapy

Dyno Therapeutics closes $100 million Series A led by Andreessen Horowitz to accelerate AI-powered gene therapy platform.

Dyno Therapeutics, Inc, a biotech applying AI to gene therapy, has announced a $100 million Series A financing led by Andreessen Horowitz, with participation from a syndicate of new investors including Casdin Capital, GV, Obvious Ventures and Lux Capital. Founding investors Polaris Partners, CRV and KdT Ventures all participated in the round. Funds from this financing will directly fund expansion of the company’s CapsidMap™ platform, which uses AI technology for the design of novel Adeno-Associated Virus (AAV) gene therapy vectors, broadening the functionality and enhancing the therapeutic impact of gene therapies developed by Dyno’s biopharmaceutical partners.

Longevity.Technology: Cambridge, Massachusetts-based Dyno has the goal of making AAV gene therapies more effective, safer, more manufacturable and applicable to more diseases. By applying AI and quantitative high-throughput in vivo experiments to gene therapy, Dyno’s proprietary CapsidMap™ platform can rapidly discover and systematically optimise AAV capsid vectors that significantly outperform current approaches for in vivo gene delivery, thereby expanding the range of diseases treatable with gene therapies.

This financing will enable it to expand capacity to meet partnership demand, augmenting existing partnerships to develop AAV vectors for Novartis, Sarepta and Roche and building capacity to work with new ones. The funds will also allow Dyno to significantly increase its employee base across science, machine learning and business functions.

CapsidMap works in two stages; first it measures capsid properties in high-throughput using next-generation DNA library synthesis and DNA sequencing. Then, using these vast quantities of in vivo data, CapsidMap generates improved capsid sequences by applying advanced search algorithms that leverage machine learning. Dyno’s map of capsid sequence space and AI‑powered tools are able to accelerate the design of AAV gene therapies, meaning improved targeting ability, payload size and immune evasion when compared with naturally-occurring virus capsids.

Proceeds from the financing will accelerate building Dyno’s CapsidMap platform to design improved vectors targeting liver, muscle, eye and central nervous system (CNS) disease, as well as growing into new areas of lung, heart and kidney disease. Dyno will also use the proceeds to support its multiple partnership efforts with leading gene therapy biopharmaceutical companies by growing its operations, intellectual property, business development and partner success teams.

“Dyno’s AI-powered approach to designing gene therapy vectors has transformative potential to expand the treatment landscape for gene therapies, opening new opportunities to cure thousands of diseases for patients,” said Jorge Conde, General Partner at Andreessen Horowitz.

A machine learning tool could be key to the future of gene therapy delivery, following latest research at the Wyss Institute at Harvard.
The Dyno Therapeutics team with George Church.

“Up until now, gene therapies have been stymied from treating more diseases and reaching more patients due to the limitations of naturally occurring AAV vectors. The field needs improved gene delivery and is eager to discover and adopt improved AAV vectors. Dyno directly addresses and solves this challenge.”

As part of the Series A financing, Mr Conde joins the company’s board of directors. Dyno launched in late 2018 and has funded operations to date from its seed financing and financial resources generated from partnerships with biopharmaceutical companies.

“This Series A financing accelerates our AI-powered discovery of best-in-class capsids targeting all major organs and cell types, enabling Dyno to grow our business infrastructure and establish more partnerships to become the premier developer of gene therapy vectors,” said Eric Kelsic, PhD, founder and CEO of Dyno Therapeutics.

“Dyno was the first to combine machine learning with data from high-throughput in vivo experiments to optimize and accelerate the design of improved capsids for gene therapy. Our CapsidMap platform brings unprecedented scale and technical sophistication to solving in vivo delivery, the key challenge for gene therapy, making therapies more effective, safe, manufacturable and capable of benefiting more patients.”

Kelsic added, “Culturally, we’re focused on achieving what we call Collective Innovation: empowering a diverse team of the best problem solvers to drive cutting-edge science towards improving patient health. We’re delighted to welcome a group of experienced investors to our team, and excited to ramp up recruiting of diverse and driven team members to help us realize the full potential of gene therapy.”

Just last week, Longevity.Technology reported the emergence from stealth mode of Capsida Biotherapeutics Inc, another biotech also using an adeno-associated virus (AAV) engineering and cargo development platform to develop tissue-targeted gene therapies.

The flexibility of AAV capsids as building blocks for gene therapy vectors are prioritising targeted design over mass screening meaning a faster and more efficient route to therapy.

Image credits: National Cancer Institute / Unsplash and Dyno Therapeutics