Vita raises $32m to drive muscular dystrophy cell therapy

Vita Therapeutics’ oversubscribed series A financing, led by Cambrian Biopharma, will support advancement of lead asset, VTA-100 to IND and beyond.

Vita Therapeutics, a cell engineering company seeking to harness the power of genetics to develop cellular therapies that follow an autologous and universal hypoimmunogenic approach, has announced the completion of an oversubscribed $32 million Series A. The financing was led by Cambrian Biopharma with participation from Kiwoom Bio, SCM Life Sciences, and Early Light Ventures.

Longevity.Technology: Cell engineering has massive longevity potential, as Cambrian’s interest demonstrates. Although medications and therapy can help alleviate symptoms and slow the course of the disease, there is no cure for muscular dystrophy. Vita is working to deliver long-term disease-modifying cell engineered treatments for patients living with muscular dystrophies and other high unmet medical needs, and development of cell therapies for muscular dystrophy could have knock-on benefits for sarcopenia and frailty.

Muscular dystrophy is caused when genetic mutations interfere with the production of proteins needed to form healthy muscle; this leads to progressive muscle weakness. Limb-Girdle Muscular Dystrophy (LGMD) sufferers do not reach their full life expectancy and are often dependent on a wheelchair as the disease progresses.

Read our Q&A with Cambrian CEO James Peyer here.

“At Vita Therapeutics our mission is to deliver long-term disease-modifying cell engineered treatments for patients living with muscular dystrophies and other high unmet medical needs,” said Douglas Falk, MS, Vita Therapeutics CEO. “We are pleased this high-caliber group of new and existing investors share our enthusiasm and belief in Vita’s ability to progress our innovative treatments to help these patients. This oversubscribed round of financing will enable the company to take the next steps toward achieving our mission.”

“Cell therapies have two grand challenges – getting enough cells and differentiating them into the right cell type to make a long-term impact on a patient’s disease,” said James Peyer, PhD, newly-appointed board member of Vita and CEO of Cambrian Biopharma.

James Peyer - Cambrian
James Peyer, PhD, board member of Vita and CEO of Cambrian Biopharma

“By mastering the transition from iPSC to muscle stem cell, Vita can make an unlimited amount of carefully defined muscle stem cells, which has never been possible before. I am so glad to count Vita as a Cambrian affiliate, and I have no doubt Vita will become a genre-defining cell therapy company.”

Vita’s lead therapy, VTA-100, is currently undergoing investigational new drug (IND)-enabling studies for the treatment of limb-girdle muscular dystrophy (LGMD) 2A/R1. It is designed to be an autologous treatment that combines gene correction and induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC) technology to help repair and replace muscle cells. Vita’s second therapeutic, VTA-200, is a genetically engineered iPSC derived hypoimmunogenic treatment designed to treat multiple types of muscular dystrophy.

The Series A financing will support the completion of all remaining IND-enabling studies for VTA-100 and its subsequent IND submission to the US FDA. This funding will also support the manufacturing of cells needed for clinical evaluation as well as patient recruitment efforts for the first clinical trial. In addition, this financing will be used to further the development of VTA-200 and the development of VTA-300, an undisclosed cell type.

Images courtesy of Vita Therapeutics and Cambrian Biopharma.