Prime Movers Lab and Juvenescence back cell therapy company through its Phase 2a liver disease trial.
Cell therapy company LyGenesis has successfully secured over $19 million in a Series A-2 funding round. The funding will support the company through the completion of its ongoing Phase 2a clinical trial, which is centered on the development of ectopic livers for individuals who are afflicted with end-stage liver disease.
Pittsburgh-based LyGenesis uses patients’ lymph nodes as bioreactors to foster the growth of fully functional ectopic organs. The company’s flagship liver therapy, known as LYG-LIV-001, begins with donated livers that undergo a multi-step process, culminating in the isolation and suspension of hepatocytes in solution. These hepatocytes are then prepared for engraftment into a patient’s mesenteric lymph nodes using endoscopic ultrasound.
The patient’s lymph node serves as an in vivo bioreactor, facilitating the engraftment, proliferation, and generation of functional ectopic liver tissue. LyGenesis claims that, because its therapy does not involve any genetic engineering, it benefits from a shorter manufacturing time and lower associated costs, potentially making it a more economically viable option than CRISPR or CAR-T therapies, for example.
Beyond its work on ectopic livers, the funding will also support further development across LyGenesis’s broader pipeline of cell therapies targeting conditions including type 1 diabetes, end-stage renal disease, and aging-related ailments.
The round was led by Prime Movers Lab and includes follow-on funding from existing backer Juvenescence.
“LyGenesis’s regenerative cell therapies have the potential to transform the lives of patients who are either medically ineligible for an organ transplant or are awaiting an organ to become available,” said Justin Briggs from Prime Movers Lab, who joins LyGenesis’s Board of Directors. “Using lymph nodes as bioreactors to grow ectopic organs is the type of platform technology that could revolutionize the treatment of multiple diseases and beneficially affect millions of lives.”
“We’re delighted to continue our support for LyGenesis on its mission to restore the function of failing vital organs,” said Richard Marshall, CEO of Juvenescence. “The Series A-2 financing was also supported by Juvenescence and other investors. By combining allogeneic cells from donated but discarded organs with a cost effective manufacturing process and engrafting their cell therapies using a low risk outpatient endoscopic ultrasound procedure, LyGenesis represents a truly remarkable opportunity.”