Kriya Acquires Gene Therapy Biotech To Enter NASH Market With Novel Approach

Kriya Therapeutics, NASH, Cell & Gene Therapy, M&A, nonalcoholic steatohepatitis

Kriya Therapeutics, a prominent player in the biotech industry, has continued its acquisition spree, this time securing Tramontane Therapeutics to bolster its nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) program. With this move, Kriya now possesses the entire portfolio of fibroblast growth factor 21 (FGF21) assets from Tramontane Therapeutics, a spinout from the Autonomous University of Barcelona (Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona or UAB).

Tramontane Therapeutics is known for its lead program, which utilizes adeno-associated virus vectors to express a consistent level of the native FGF21 protein. This protein has shown promising metabolic effects across various organs and is a critical target in addressing NASH, a severe form of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease. NASH can progress to liver fibrosis, or scarring, and potentially result in irreversible damage such as cirrhosis or liver failure.

Financial specifics of the acquisition remain undisclosed. Kriya’s CEO, Dr. Shankar Ramaswamy, expressed enthusiasm about the Tramontane FGF21 program, emphasizing its strong efficacy and durability in multiple validated animal models of obesity and NASH. This addition strategically aligns with Kriya’s existing portfolio of metabolic disease therapies, which includes a one-time gene therapy candidate for insulin-dependent diabetes. Kriya has a robust pipeline of gene therapies spanning ophthalmology, neurology, and metabolic diseases, marking its entry into the competitive NASH space.

Notably, there are currently no approved treatments for halting or reversing NASH, making it a significant area of interest. Analysts estimate that the NASH market could grow to a substantial $108.4 billion worldwide by 2030.

Kriya’s expanding portfolio is further fortified by its impressive fundraising track record, having raised over $600 million to date. In 2022, the company secured the fifth largest private biotech fundraising round, with a substantial $270 million series C investment in May, which was later extended by an additional $150 million in July, totaling $430 million for the round.

Kriya’s strategic vision revolves around becoming a leading gene therapy provider, starting with an emphasis on expanding its manufacturing capabilities. Within just three months of closing its series A funding round in May 2020, the company acquired an operational manufacturing facility in North Carolina. Since then, Kriya has been actively acquiring smaller gene therapy firms and establishing licensing agreements to strengthen its early-stage pipeline.

In November, Kriya made a significant move by acquiring Redpin Therapeutics, adding neurology treatments, particularly for epilepsy and trigeminal neuralgia, to its growing portfolio. This series of strategic initiatives underscores Kriya Therapeutics’ commitment to advancing groundbreaking therapies across various medical domains.

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