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Kyverna Therapeutics Closes $85 Million Series B Financing led by Northpond Ventures
- Proceeds will support initiation of a Phase 2 clinical trial for lead asset KYV-101 in 1H2022 and expand development of engineered allogeneic and autologous T-cell therapies across the spectrum of autoimmune diseases -
EMERYVILLE, Calif., January 26, 2022-- Kyverna Therapeutics ("Kyverna"), a cell therapy company engineering a new class of therapies for serious autoimmune diseases, today announced it has closed an oversubscribed $85 million Series B financing round led by Northpond Ventures. Additional investors included the company's founding investors Westlake Village BioPartners ("Westlake"), Vida Ventures, and Gilead Sciences ("Gilead"), with new investors RTW Investments, LP ("RTW"), CAM Capital, Insight Partners, HealthCor, LYFE Capital, Intellia Therapeutics, Argentum Peak, Hudson Bay Capital, and jVen Capital.
Proceeds from the financing will be used to advance KYV-101, an autologous version of a novel clinical-stage anti-CD19 chimeric antigen receptor T-cell (CAR T) construct with properties uniquely suited for use in B cell-driven autoimmune diseases such as lupus nephritis, systemic sclerosis, and inflammatory myopathies. Kyverna has obtained exclusive, worldwide licenses from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to use this novel CD19 construct in both autologous and allogeneic CAR T-cell therapies. Kyverna intends to advance KYV-101 into clinical development for autoimmune diseases in the first half of 2022.
Consistent with a recently announced licensing and collaboration agreement between Kyverna and Intellia Therapeutics, the financing proceeds will also be used to support the development of KYV-201, an investigational candidate for the treatment of select B cell-driven autoimmune diseases combining Kyverna's novel CD19 CAR T construct with Intellia's proprietary ex vivo CRISPR/Cas9-based allogeneic platform.
Proceeds from the financing will also support the continued development of Kyverna's synReg T-cell platform, engineering a synthetic version of Regulatory T cells (Tregs) by reprogramming T cells into CAR Treg cells. Kyverna has established a strategic collaboration and license agreement with Gilead to develop engineered T-cell therapies for the treatment of autoimmune diseases based on Kyverna's synReg T-cell platform and synNotch technology from Kite, a Gilead Company.
"This financing reflects significant investor confidence in the science behind Kyverna's cell therapies, world-class team, and commitment to bringing new therapies to patients suffering from serious autoimmune diseases," said Ian Clark, chair of Kyverna's board of directors.
Dominic Borie, M.D., Ph.D., president and CEO of Kyverna said, "With this investment from this outstanding group of investors, we will advance Kyverna's strategy to engineer T cells either as CAR T cells or CAR Tregs to address autoimmune disease drivers and provide transformative treatments to patients afflicted with these chronic and devastating diseases. We look forward to generating proof-of-concept data as we bring KYV-101 to the clinic in the first half of this year."
As part of the financing, Shaan Gandhi, M.D., D.Phil., director at Northpond Ventures and Chris Liu, Ph.D., senior analyst at RTW will join Kyverna's board of directors as board member and board observer, respectively. Dr. Gandhi joins current board members: Ian Clark, former CEO of Genentech and chair of Kyverna's board of directors; Beth Seidenberg, M.D., founding managing director at Westlake and one of Kyverna's founding investors; Fred Cohen, M.D., D. Phil., co-founder and senior managing director at Vida Ventures and one of Kyverna's founding investors; Brian Kotzin, M.D., principal fellow and senior vice president at Nektar Therapeutics and board member of Rigel Pharmaceuticals; Mark Genovese, M.D., senior vice president, inflammation development at Gilead; Dominic Borie, M.D., Ph.D., president and CEO of Kyverna; and, Daniel K. Spiegelman, chairman of the board of Tizona Therapeutics, Inc., and board member of Myriad Genetics, Spruce Biosciences, and Opthea.
"When it comes to treating autoimmune diseases, the industry has reached a scientific tipping point," said Dr. Gandhi. "The cell therapies in Kyverna's pipeline hold significant promise for modulating the immune system in such a way as to achieve optimal and long-lasting disease control. I am excited to join this stellar board to help advance Kyverna's next-generation T-cell therapies for patients in need of new treatment options."
"Kyverna stands out as a leader in the field of cell therapy with its multipronged T-cell engineering platform and team of world-class scientists and clinicians," said Dr. Beth Seidenberg. "We believe this company has the ability to harness its demonstrated experience and skill in developing innovative and proprietary approaches for autoimmune diseases to address the needs of patients with more than 80 autoimmune diseases and advance what we believe could become a new treatment paradigm for autoimmunity."
In addition to Dr. Liu, Kyverna's board observers include Desmond Padhi, Pharm.D., principal at Westlake, and Heba Nowyhed, Ph.D., vice president of translational research at IconOVir Bio and science advisor at Vida Ventures.
About Kyverna Therapeutics
Kyverna Therapeutics is a cell therapy company engineering a new class of therapies for autoimmune and inflammatory diseases. The Kyverna therapeutic platform combines advanced T-cell engineering and synthetic biology technologies to suppress or eliminate the autoreactive immune cells at the origin of autoimmune and inflammatory diseases. In addition to developing next-generation chimeric antigen receptor T-cell (CAR T) therapies in both autologous and allogeneic settings, Kyverna is creating synReg T cells, a synthetic version of Regulatory T cells (Tregs), powerful natural immune cells that control immune homeostasis through multiple immunosuppressive mechanisms. By offering more than one mechanism for taming autoimmunity, Kyverna is positioned to transform how autoimmune diseases are treated. For more information, please visit https://kyvernatx.com.