Kenai Therapeutics Announces $82 Million Series A Financing to Advance Next Generation Allogeneic Cell Therapies for Neurological Diseases

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Business Wire India

– Proceeds to be used to complete clinical proof-of-concept trial for lead candidate, RNDP-001, for the treatment of Parkinson’s disease –

– Financing co-led by Alaska Permanent Fund Corporation, Cure Ventures and The Column Group, with participation from Euclidean Capital and Saisei Ventures –

 

Kenai Therapeutics, a biotechnology company leveraging induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC) technology to discover and develop a platform of allogeneic neuron replacement cell therapies for neurological disorders, today announced an $82 million Series A financing co-led by Alaska Permanent Fund Corporation, Cure Ventures and The Column Group, with participation from Euclidean Capital and Saisei Ventures. 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 behavioral 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 1 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, M.D., 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 robust pipeline of advanced 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, a leading expert in iPSC technology and research, for manufacturing and development services.

 

“As a global leader in the field of iPSCs, we are thrilled to support the Kenai Therapeutics team to achieve progress in this promising area of science for patients with neurodegenerative diseases,” said Tomoyuki Hasegawa, president and chief executive officer at FUJIFILM Cellular Dynamics, Inc.

 

“Kenai’s approach to treating Parkinson’s disease is meaningfully differentiated from competing cell therapy approaches and has disease-modifying potential for patients with limited, primarily symptomatic, treatment options,” said Jeff Goater, partner at The Column Group. “We are proud to be able to support Kenai in its mission to advance RNDP-001 to help families and patients suffering with this devastating disease.”

 

About Kenai Therapeutics

 

Kenai Therapeutics (Kenai) is a biotechnology company pioneering next generation approaches to cure neurological disorders. The Company utilizes allogeneic induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC) technology, a Nobel Prize-winning breakthrough that enables scientists to manufacture many human cell types, in order to advance Kenai’s off-the-shelf neuron replacement therapeutics. By focusing on an iPSC technology platform, and forging partnerships with global leaders in surgical delivery and clinical development, Kenai is dedicated to advancing a best-in-class pipeline targeting neurological diseases. For additional information, please visit: www.kenaitx.com.

 

About Alaska Permanent Fund Corporation

 

The Alaska Permanent Fund Corporation (APFC) was created by the Alaska Legislature in 1980 as a quasi-independent state entity tasked with the important mission of prudently investing and managing the assets of the Alaska Permanent Fund. The Fund’s total assets are approximately $80 billion and are invested across a broad range of assets including equities, fixed income, alternatives and real estate. The Fund has been an active investor in biotechnology and life sciences dating back to 2013 and these assets now represent approximately 8% of APFC’s $15 billion private equity portfolio. For more information, please visit: www.apfc.org.

 

About Cure Ventures

 

Founded in 2021, Cure Ventures is a life sciences venture capital firm focusing on de novo company formation around groundbreaking curative technologies. Above all else, the Cure team leads with respect for people and for science. Led by highly accomplished industry veterans, Cure’s investment thesis is founded on three tenets: A seed funding model that allows Cure to de-risk the science and set companies up for success; genetic validation that increases the probability of success; and embedded Cure operators to drive the best day-to-day decision making in collaboration with founders. For more information, please visit: www.curevc.com.

 

About The Column Group

 

The Column Group (TCG) is a leading venture capital firm based in San Francisco that seeks to partner with exceptional scientific founders, entrepreneurs, executives, and investment organizations with a shared vision for building the next generation of drug discovery and development companies. TCG invests in disease-focused drug discovery companies with the potential to become leaders in their respective fields. These companies are strongly supported by the unique and complimentary skill sets of TCG’s team, which includes prominent authorities in the scientific, operational, and financial arenas. For more information, please visit: www.thecolumngroup.com.

 

About FUJIFILM Cellular Dynamics, Inc.

 

FUJIFILM Cellular Dynamics, Inc. is a leading developer and manufacturer of human iPSCs and iPSC-derived cells utilized in drug discovery, contract development and manufacturing services for cell therapies. For its partners, FUJIFILM Cellular Dynamics utilizes its iPSC platform to advance the progress of therapeutic candidates in the clinic and provides contract development and manufacturing (CDMO) services. In addition to cell therapy, FUJIFILM Cellular Dynamics also offers life science research tools including the company’s inventoried iCell® products, which are available in almost any cell type and are sourced from multiple cell lines which can be applied for target identification as well as toxicity testing. The company also offers custom cell services and cell banking. FUJIFILM Cellular Dynamics’ goal is to leverage the vast utility of iPSCs to advance human health and improve the quality of life for patients around the world. For more information, please visit: www.fujifilmcdi.com.