Akouos nabs meaty $105M raise, adds VC and biotech veterans to board

Boston-based hearing loss gene therapy biotech Akouos has grabbed a $105 million series B funding round.

A whole host of big names waded into this financing, including the likes of 5AM Ventures, New Enterprise Associates, Novartis Venture Fund and Partners Innovation Fund (which also was an early investor in Akouos' $50 million series A) as well as new participants Cowen Healthcare Investments, Polaris and Pivotal bioVenture Partners, which led the round.

The biotech has also appointed Vertex and Biogen research veteran Vicki Sato, Ph.D., and Pivotal bioVenture Partners Managing Partner Heather Preston, M.D., to its board.

The newly raised cash will be used to push Akouos’ lead program AK-OTOF into the clinic as well as to build up its in-house GMP manufacturing work at its new digs at the Boston Seaport.

It says it also wants to “accelerate the development of multiple pipeline programs that address other forms of sensorineural hearing loss with well-defined mechanisms and/or gene targets, and expand its team across research, clinical development and manufacturing.”

The biotech is targeting monogenic forms of sensorineural hearing loss. These forms arise when changes to single genes cause sensory cells or nerve fibers in the inner ear to malfunction.

“This year is poised to be one of growth for Akouos, and we are delighted to have the support from a world-class syndicate of investors in our Series B financing to advance our current programs and pipeline of potential genetic medicines for hearing loss,” said Manny Simons, Ph.D., founder, president and CEO of Akouos.

“We are also pleased to welcome Drs. Sato and Preston, two highly regarded life science leaders, to our board of directors. Together, these milestones bring us closer to potentially providing new options to the deaf and hard-of-hearing community, who have limited therapeutic options today.”