$82m investment in cell therapies for neurological diseases


Biotechnology company Kenai Therapeutics has raised $82 million in a Series A financing co-led by Alaska Permanent Fund Corporation, Cure Ventures and The Column Group.

Kenai Therapeutics previously raised seed funding under the name Ryne Bio.

“We are grateful for the support of a syndicate of leading life science investors and a team of industry veterans, including scientific co-founders Dr Howard Federoff and Dr Jeffrey Kordower, who see the promise in Kenai’s approach to treating central nervous system disorders,” said Nick Manusos, Chief Executive Officer of Kenai Therapeutics. “Their guidance will be invaluable as we soon advance our lead candidate, RNDP-001, into the clinic for the treatment of Parkinson’s disease.”

RNDP-001 is an iPSC-derived, allogeneic dopamine progenitor cell therapy for the treatment of both idiopathic and inherited forms of Parkinson’s disease, and has displayed robust survival, innervation and behavioural rescue in preclinical models of Parkinson’s disease.

Proceeds from the financing will enable the company to submit an IND for RNDP-001 and complete Phase I clinical trials, which will initiate within the year.

“Kenai’s proprietary platform leverages an emerging approach to treating central nervous system disorders by replacing neurons lost due to neurodegeneration,” said Jeff Jonas, Chair and Board Member of Kenai Therapeutics and partner at Cure Ventures. “The potentially curative nature of RNDP-001 for Parkinson’s disease could dramatically alter outcomes for patients with very few treatment options.”

Beyond RNDP-001, Kenai is developing a pipeline of off-the-shelf dopamine neuron replacement cell therapeutics for neurological disorders. The company will continue to work with its contract manufacturing partner, FUJIFILM Cellular Dynamics for manufacturing and development services.

Diana Spencer, Senior Digital Content Editor, DDW

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