Neurological disease remains the largest cause of disability and second leading cause of mortality, worldwide, but life-changing therapies could be on the horizon.
Pioneering genetic therapies for neurodegenerative disease
Back in December 2018, we had the pleasure of sitting down with leading neurologist and neuroscientist Professor Christopher Shaw, molecular neurobiologist Dr. Youn Bok Lee and vector biologist Dr. Do Young Lee, the driving forces behind AviadoBio’s science, to learn more about their vision to develop transformative gene therapies for neurological disorders like frontotemporal dementia and ALS. Dr. Shaw described the remarkable genetic discoveries his team had uncovered in his lab at King’s College London and the journey that led them to develop the technology that inspired us to build a company around the promise we saw. The improved understanding of the genetic and pathological underpinnings of these neurodegenerative diseases and emerging clinical efficacy from use of targeted therapies in neurology have driven an increased interest in genetic medicines for these diseases – as well as a deeper understanding of key challenges in CNS gene therapy such as distribution and delivery.
Company building and incubation is some of the most rewarding work we engage in and, in fact, AviadoBio’s early home was our London office. In its earliest stages, we were delighted to work with Jonathan Jones, part of the founding team of CRISPR Therapeutics, and Graeme Fielder, former Head of Business Development at Audentes, as Entrepreneurs-in-Residence alongside a team of pioneers and experts in neurodegenerative disease, neurosurgery and genetic medicine. Recently, the company has emerged from stealth with former Novartis executive, Lisa Deschamps, joining as CEO and an $80 million Series A financing.
Although we have seen an unparalleled pace of development for a wide range of diseases and a record number of drugs being approved by the FDA over the last several years, there have been some disease areas that have shown little progress. One of those is the challenging disease space of neurodegenerative disorders where there are limited treatment options for patients and major obstacles during the drug development process.
At F-Prime, we remain optimistic that we could be at the forefront of a breakthrough because of companies like AviadoBio.
“F-Prime believed in AviadoBio’s promise and supported us by providing a management team, a generous workspace and the finances needed to advance. Their commitment led us from a scientific concept and personal passion to a potential reality of hope for patients in less than 3 years!”— Lisa Deschamps, CEO