August 22, 2019 — Renovacor Inc, a preclinical-stage biopharmaceutical company, announced the successful completion of an $11 million Series A financing for its recombinant adeno-associated virus (AAV)-based gene therapy for dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM). The gene therapy is indicated for patients with DCM due to mutations in the BAG3 gene.
The foundational understanding of BAG3 mutations and the company’s gene therapy product are based on 10 years of research performed by Arthur Feldman, M.D., Ph.D., the Laura H. Carnell Professor of Medicine (Cardiology) at the Lewis Katz School of Medicine Temple University. Proceeds from the Series A financing will be used to advance the company’s first-of-its-kind gene replacement therapy through filing of an investigational new drug (IND) application in preparation to initiate human clinical trials in DCM patients who have mutations in their BAG3 gene.
Dilated cardiomyopathy is a condition affecting more than 3 million patients in the U.S. and growing steadily. Many patients develop DCM due to ischemic heart disease. Recently subpopulations have been identified that develop DCM due to mutations in specific genes that have been shown to result in the development of DCM. One of these specific genes is the Bcl2-associated athanogene 3 (BAG3) gene. The prevalence of disease causing BAG3 haploinsufficiency is estimated at approximately 35,000 individuals in the United States, representing an orphan disease by U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) guidelines. It is estimated a similar number of DCM patients with BAG3 mutations exist in Europe. These patients are typically younger and progress to end-stage heart failure sooner than patients with ischemic heart disease.
Currently DCM patients with a BAG3 mutation are treated with standard of care for heart failure. Despite improvements in pharmacotherapy and care, the five-year survival of a patient with DCM is only 50 percent. Development of a BAG3 gene replacement therapy for patients with DCM that carry BAG3 mutations could potentially prevent progression of disease in this otherwise healthy population of young adults.
The financing round was co-led by Novartis Venture Fund, Broadview Ventures and BioAdvance, and joined by New Leaf Venture Partners and Innogest Capital. In conjunction with the financing, Renovacor announced its leadership team and board of directors including Feldman, M.D., Ph.D., FACC, Renovacor’s founder; Magdalene Cook, M.D., Renovacor’s president/CEO; Thomas Needham, MBA, director, Broadview Ventures; Campbell Murray, M.D., managing director, Novartis Venture Fund; and Edward J. Benz, M.D., president and CEO emeritus of the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, and currently the Richard and Susan Smith Distinguished Professor of Medicine, professor of pediatrics, and professor of pathology at Harvard Medical School.
For more information: www.renovacorinc.com