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On Cusp of Gene Therapy Clinical Trial, 4D Molecular Reels In $90M

Xconomy San Francisco — 

4D Molecular Therapeutics is already working with several large pharmaceutical companies to help them develop new gene therapies. Now, as its own gene therapy candidate approaches clinical trials, the company has raised $90 million in financing.

Viking Global Investors led the investment, a Series B round of financing.

Emeryville, CA-based 4D Molecular has developed technology to discover and develop adeno-associated viruses (AAV) that deliver a gene therapy into a cell. For the past two years, 4D Molecular has been working with Pfizer (NYSE: PFE) to develop gene therapies for heart diseases. Earlier this year, the company expanded a research partnership with Roche to include eye diseases, and added an alliance with AstraZeneca (NYSE: AZN) subsidiary MedImmune focused on chronic lung disease.

The 4D Molecular gene therapy is a potential treatment for choroideremia, a progressive loss of vision that ultimately leads to blindness. The condition, caused by a mutation of the REP-1 gene, has no FDA-approved treatments. The 4D Molecular gene therapy was developed to cause the expression of the REP-1 protein. Administered by injection into the back of the eye, 4D Molecular says, its gene therapy is meant to treat the entire retina. The 4D Molecular gene therapy is expected to start clinical trials in 2019.

In addition to supporting the choroideremia treatment, 4D Molecular says, the latest financing will support additional gene therapies in its pipeline. Other investors in the financing round include ArrowMark Partners, Janus Henderson Investors, The Biotechnology Value Fund, MiraeAsset Financial Group, Pappas Capital & Chiesi Ventures, Pfizer Ventures, Perceptive Advisors, Ridgeback Capital Investments, CureDuchenne Ventures, and Berkeley Catalyst Fund.

Photo by Flickr user Michael Gil via a Creative Commons license