SOLVE FSHD, a venture-philanthropic organization catalyzing the pace of innovation to accelerate a cure for facioscapulohumeral muscular dystrophy (FSHD), announces an investment of $10 million in Vita Therapeutics, a cell engineering company harnessing the power of genetics to develop novel cellular therapies to treat muscular dystrophies and solid tumors.
Chip Wilson, founder of lululemon athletica and SOLVE FSHD, said, “Living with FSHD for over 30 years, my upper body muscles are quite wasted. We are hopeful that the Vita cell therapy approach will stimulate muscle regeneration and will help people like me to build up muscle faster than it breaks down.”
The investment is part of a $31M Series B financing round led by Cambrian Biopharma. In addition to Solve FSHD joining, other new investors included Riptide Ventures and Cedars Sinai, which participated alongside TEDCO and other existing investors. Proceeds from the financing will be used to advance Vita’s lead pre-clinical program VTA-100 for limb-girdle muscular dystrophy (LGMD2A) to the clinic. It will also fund the development of Vita’s newest program, VTA-120, for the treatment of patients with FSHD and to further expand Vita’s discovery pipeline. Since inception, Vita has raised a total of $66 million.
“Currently there are no treatments available for FSHD, and there is an urgent need to develop disease-modifying treatments that not only regenerate muscle but also correct the genetic defect that otherwise leads to the muscle’s inability to repair itself,” said Eva Chin, Executive Director for SOLVE FSHD. “We are pleased to support Vita as they continue to expand their induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC) technology towards FSHD while further progressing their treatment for LGMD.”
[Source(s): SOLVE FSHD, GlobeNewswire]