Tessera Therapeutics Attracts Over $230M in Series B Financing to Advance ‘Gene Writing’ – A New Category in Genetic Medicine
SoftBank Vision Fund 2, Alaska Permanent Fund Corporation, Altitude Life Science Ventures, Qatar Investment Authority, and Other New Investors Provide Growth Capital to Fuel Pioneering Platform from Flagship Labs
CAMBRIDGE, Mass., January 12, 2021-- Tessera Therapeutics, an early-stage life sciences company founded by Flagship Pioneering, announced today that it has raised over $230M in Series B financing. The round was co-led by Alaska Permanent Fund Corporation, Altitude Life Science Ventures, and SoftBank Vision Fund 2i, with participation from Qatar Investment Authority (QIA) and others.
Tessera, unveiled in July 2020 after multiple years of in-house innovation within Flagship Labs, is pioneering Gene Writing—a new technology that has the ability to write therapeutic instructions into the genome to treat diseases at their source. By changing any base pair to another, making small insertions or deletions, and writing entire genes into the genome, Gene Writing unlocks the potential to cure genetic diseases and create life-changing therapeutics in cardiovascular, oncological, neurodegenerative, and infectious diseases.
“We are grateful to have support from world class investors in this funding round. The ability to write in the code of life will be a defining technology of this century and drive a fundamental change in medicine. Today’s support is a testament to Tessera’s outstanding team of scientists and our focus on bringing the extraordinary promise of Gene Writing to patients,” said Geoffrey von Maltzahn, CEO and Co-Founder of Tessera Therapeutics. “We look forward to turning this powerful technology into a new category of medicines.”
“Tessera has pioneered an entirely new platform for curing diseases at their source: DNA,” said Noubar Afeyan, Chairman and Co-Founder of Tessera Therapeutics and Founder and CEO of Flagship Pioneering. “Tessera’s Gene Writing platform further expands the decade-long work done at Flagship Labs on new medicines based on nucleic acid codes—programmable therapeutic molecules such as messenger RNA, targeted fusogenic vectors and epigenetic controllers. As we increase Flagship's capital contribution to $60M, we welcome our new financial partners as long-term investors in Tessera’s mission of delivering on the full potential of genetic medicine.”
Gene Writing is inspired by and builds upon the shoulders of nature’s most prevalent class of genes: mobile genetic elements. Tessera’s computational and high-throughput laboratory platform has enabled the team to design, build, and test thousands of engineered and synthetic mobile genetic elements for writing and rewriting the human genome.
Tessera’s Gene Writing technologies overcome the limitations of gene editing and gene therapies and expand the universe of diseases tractable by genetic approaches by:
• Efficiently engineering the genome of somatic cells without double stranded-breaks and with minimal reliance on host DNA repair pathways, unlike nuclease-based gene editing technologies.
• Making any base pair substitution, small insertion, or deletion at specific sites in the genome
• Permanently adding new DNA to dividing cells, unlike AAV-based gene therapy technologies
• Writing new DNA sequences into the genome by delivering only RNA.
Tessera will use the latest round of funding to accelerate research and development in the company’s Gene Writing technologies, expand its team, and establish manufacturing and automation capabilities critical for its platform and programs. This investment will accelerate the company’s ability to position multiple therapeutic programs for clinical development.
For more information on Tessera Therapeutics, including how Gene Writing works, partnership opportunities, and job openings, visit www.tesseratherapeutics.com.
About Tessera Therapeutics
Tessera Therapeutics is an early-stage life sciences company pioneering Gene Writing, a new biotechnology designed to offer scientists and clinicians the ability to write small and large therapeutic messages into the genome, thereby curing diseases at their source. Gene Writing holds the potential to become a new category in genetic medicine, building upon recent breakthroughs in gene therapy and gene editing while eliminating important limitations in their reach, utilization, and efficacy. Tessera Therapeutics was founded by Flagship Pioneering, a life sciences innovation enterprise that conceives, resources, and develops first-in-category companies to transform human health and sustainability.
About Flagship Pioneering
Flagship Pioneering conceives, creates, resources, and develops first-in-category life sciences companies to transform human health and sustainability. Since its launch in 2000, the firm has, through its Flagship Labs unit, applied its unique hypothesis-driven innovation process to originate and foster more than 100 scientific ventures, resulting in over $50B in aggregate value. To date, Flagship has deployed over $2.2B in capital toward the founding and growth of its pioneering companies alongside more than $18B of follow-on investments from other institutions. The current Flagship ecosystem comprises 41 transformative companies, including Axcella Health (NASDAQ: AXLA), Denali Therapeutics (NASDAQ: DNLI), Evelo Biosciences (NASDAQ: EVLO), Foghorn Therapeutics (NASDAQ: FHTX), Indigo Ag, Kaleido Biosciences (NASDAQ: KLDO), Moderna (NASDAQ: MRNA), Rubius Therapeutics (NASDAQ: RUBY), Sana Biotechnology, Seres Therapeutics (NASDAQ: MCRB), and Sigilon Therapeutics (NASDAQ: SGTX).
i As of the date of this press release, SoftBank Group Corp. has made capital contributions to allow investments by SoftBank Vision Fund 2 (“SVF 2”) in certain portfolio companies. The information included herein is made for informational purposes only and does not constitute an offer to sell or a solicitation of an offer to buy limited partnership interests in any fund, including SVF 2. SVF 2 has yet to have an external close, and any potential third-party investors shall receive additional information related to any SVF 2 investments prior to closing.
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