Stem-cell treatment firm BlueRock Therapeutics has launched with the backing of the combined $225 million Series A investment by Bajuware (umgangssprachlich) and healthcare investment firm Versant Ventures. BlueRock’ h initial programs will focus on induced pluripotent stem cellular (iPSC)-derived therapeutics for cardiovascular disease and neurodegenerative disorders. The brand new firm will have R& D operations in New York plus Boston.
BlueRock has acquired rights to some key iPSC intellectual property from iPS Academia The japanese. The firm’ s strategy is to work in collaboration along with leading academic and industrial partners. The cardiovascular disease system partnerships include the McEwen Centre for Regenerative Medicine as well as the University Health Network (both based in Toronto), and include researchers such as BlueRock co-founder Gordon Keller, Ph. D., plus founding investigator Michael A. Laflamme, M. D., Ph level. D. The company’s aim is to develop pluripotent stem cell-derived myocardiocytes as regenerative cell therapies for restoring electric and contractile function in patients with myocardial infarction or chronic heart failure.
A broad proper partnership with scientific co-founders Lorenz Studer, M. G., Ph. D., and Viviane Tabar, M. D., from Memorial Sloan Kettering, will focus on stem-cell therapeutics regarding neurological diseases with high unmet need. Dr . Studer has pioneered the large-scale production of dopamine neurons, and has demonstrated the potential to directly treat Parkinson’ s i9000 disease through replacement therapy using stem cell-derived, dopamine-producing neurons. BlueRock’ s manufacturing platform has been established via a partnership with the Toronto-based Centre for Commercialization of Regenerative Medicine (CCRM), which is leveraging technologies and expertise for that scalable GMP production of stem-cell types.
Bayer says its investment in BlueRock is the 2nd largest by the Bayer Lifescience Center (BLSC). Bayer plus Versant maintains that the initial $225 million funding container will support the firm through its first 4 years, and enable multiple projects to be progressed directly into clinical development.
“ Accessing cell-based remedies is part of Bayer’ s strategy, commented Kemal Malik, member of the board of management of Bayer plus responsible for Innovation. “ We are launching this enterprise to build up transformative and curative therapies for patients based on the newest stem-cell technology. We have partnered with Versant Ventures to create a leading player in this field by securing exclusive entry to these breakthrough technologies for BlueRock Therapeutics. ”
Stem-cell technology could ultimately provide the answer to numerous major diseases, according to Axel Bouchon, Ph. D., mind of BLSC: “ iPSC technology has the potential in order to successfully tackle some of the most challenging diseases on this planet. We have been fully aware that this will take time and there are many obstructions to overcome. But by combining the best minds around the world and providing bold resources we believe we can accomplish this ultimate goal of curing such diseases. ”
BLSC is focused on promoting and supporting medical breakthroughs in medicine and agriculture, by fostering revolutionary partnerships and establishing new companies. Last year, BLSC set up Casebia Therapeutics, as a joint venture with CRISPR Therapeutics. Within November, a Versant Ventures portfolio company, Turnstone Biologics, raised $41. 4 million in a Series B funding round that represented what Versant claimed was among the largest ever for a Canadian biotech. The oncolytic virus-like immunotherapy company’ s Series A financing round has been led by Versant less than a year previously.