Here’s the 13-slide pitch deck ReCode Therapeutics used to raise $120 million from OrbiMed and Pfizer to develop new mRNA medicines
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- The genetics company ReCode Therapeutics just raised $120 million in an extended Series B round.
- The startup creates lipid nanoparticles, like the ones used in the mRNA COVID-19 vaccines.
- ReCode is developing ways to deliver genetic treatments to organs like the lungs and brain.
Amid a severe downturn in the biotech market, the startup ReCode Therapeutics just raised $120 million to advance its plans of unlocking the next wave of messenger-RNA medicines beyond COVID-19 vaccines.
The Menlo Park, California- and Dallas-based biotech has been developing a unique technology that can deliver genetic information like mRNA to new organs, paving the way to treat more diseases. ReCode aims to start human testing by next year with its first drug candidate, which uses its technology called SORT, or selective organ targeting.
“The administration of billions of doses of COVID vaccines is heralding a new era for genetic medicines,” ReCode CEO Shehnaaz Suliman told Insider. “We are thrilled and excited to be at the cusp of innovation for genetic-medicine delivery.”
ReCode’s specialty is lipid nanoparticles, or the tiny balls of fat used to deliver certain genetic medicines. LNPs have most notably been used in the Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines, where the mRNA molecules that instruct cells to produce the spike protein are enclosed in these lipid containers. Because of their chemical makeup, LNPs typically wind up in the liver. While that’s great for tackling liver diseases, researchers hope new LNPs that go to other organs could unlock more treatments.
ReCode’s SORT technology is designed to help these delivery vessels reach more organs and types of cells. Its lead programs are focused on respiratory diseases — primary ciliary dyskinesia and cystic fibrosis. It’s also researching diseases of the spleen and brain. The biotech plans to file its first Investigational New Drug Application to the Food and Drug Administration in the fourth quarter of this year. If regulators accept that application, ReCode could start dosing its first patients.
The biotech’s latest cash infusion came from extending its Series B round, which brought in $80 million in October. Extending a Series B is an unusual approach, but Suliman said it allowed the company to raise more cash to fuel its research at the same valuation. After the October round, ReCode’s valuation was $372 million, according to PitchBook; Suliman said that figure was “in the right ballpark.” The company has attracted a mix of biotech specialist investors, like OrbiMed and EcoR1 Capital, and corporate venture arms of drug giants like Pfizer, Bayer, and Sanofi.
“The appetite to invest in good science, even in this market, is still there,” Suliman said. “There is now a widespread understanding and appreciation for the fact that packaging matters.”