Flagship Pioneering’s Senda Bio secures $123M for new ‘programmable medicines’


Senda Biosciences got down to overcome challenges in drug supply. Its analysis has led the startup to nanoparticles, which executives say provide a path to “programmable medicines” that may be directed to particular cells and tissues. The startup now has $123 million to help its analysis because it appears towards bringing its medicines into medical testing throughout the subsequent two years.

The financing introduced Tuesday is a Sequence C spherical of funding. Cambridge, Massachusetts-based Senda says it has raised $266 million up to now in what has been a winding street for the startup.

Senda was shaped in 2019 by enterprise capital agency Flagship Pioneering. The startup’s analysis initially targeted on overcoming the challenges of transferring a therapeutic payload throughout organic obstacles. Sooner or later, Flagship determined to mix Senda with Kintai Therapeutics, one other startup shaped inside its labs. Kintai was growing small molecule medication primarily based on insights into the results that intestine micro organism and their metabolites have on human well being.

The brand new Senda revealed just a little extra about its modified focus final yr when it expanded its Sequence B financing to $98 million. On the time, CEO Guillaume Pfefer mentioned the biotech’s strategy was primarily based on insights into the molecules that transfer between people and micro organism. The corporate coined a time period for this new space of analysis: “intersystems biology.” Senda utilized synthetic intelligence to investigate the interactions between people and micro organism, which Pfeffer mentioned supplied perception into potential therapeutic approaches.

Senda’s analysis has since turned to nanoparticles. Extra particularly, the biotech is curious about pure nanoparticles which have advanced to exactly transfer biomolecules into human cells. The corporate’s analysis has recognized many of those nanoparticles, and it has constructed a map of them. The corporate claims this “Senda Atlas” now totals practically 50,000 molecules from 4 kingdoms of life. AI remains to be a part of Senda’s strategy. However the startup now says it’s making use of its know-how to nanoparticles and data molecules, like mRNA. With insights from the atlas, Senda says it may well program a nanoparticle for supply to a specific tissue or mobile sort. The mRNA may be programmed to supply a therapeutic intervention upon reaching its vacation spot.

“The big therapeutic promise of knowledge molecules, reminiscent of mRNA, siRNA, and gene editors—which allow programming inside cells of curiosity—has but to be realized, owing partly to an lack of ability to program to cells of curiosity,” Pfefer mentioned within the funding announcement. “Senda’s in depth physique of preclinical information in small and enormous animals, and throughout a variety of illness fashions, reveals that by combining these programmed nanoparticles with data molecules, we will program inside and to cells.”

Final yr, Senda mentioned it had three applications it anticipated to advance to the clinic in 2022. These applications, which spanned cardiovascular situations, metabolic illness, and most cancers, have but to succeed in human testing. With the brand new financing, Senda now says it plans to additional refine its know-how platform and nominate its first drug candidates. The corporate expects that it’ll transfer these candidates into the clinic in 2024.

Apart from Flagship, contributors in Senda’s Sequence C financing embrace new traders the Samsung Life Science Fund, Quatar Funding Authority, Bluwave Capital, and Stage 1 Ventures. Earlier traders that returned for the newest spherical embrace Alexandria Enterprise Investments, Longevity Imaginative and prescient Fund, Mayo Clinic, Companions Funding, and the State of Michigan Retirement System.

Photograph: Larry Washburn, Getty Photographs

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