Avrobio's corporate tremor attracts Tectonic for reverse merger

Some seven months after sounding the strategic search alarm, Avrobio will merge with Tectonic Therapeutic, with the latter’s GPCR-targeted meds now the combined company's clinical focus.

The biotechs’ melding, announced Tuesday, was coupled with $130.7 million in new financing from the likes of Vida Ventures, TAS Partners, 5AM Ventures, Polaris Partners and Farallon Capital Management. The company, which will operate under Tectonic’s name, is set to have $165 million in cash and equivalents moving forward, enough to last into the middle of 2027. 

First on the docket is advancing Tectonic’s lead asset, TX45, currently in a phase 1 study in healthy volunteers to nail down proper dosing levels. More pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic data are expected in the middle of this year before the asset is advanced into a phase 1b study for patients with heart failure with preserved ejection fraction (HFpEF). Preliminary data from that study are teed up for 2025. 

Tectonic doesn’t expect to launch a human trial of its second program to treat hereditary hemorrhagic telangiectasia until the fourth quarter of 2025 or the first quarter of 2026. Behind that is a bispecific molecule slated to treat fibrosis. 

Tectonic CEO Alise Reicin, M.D., said in a release that the company anticipates “multiple clinical catalysts over the next three years.”

Pre-merger Avrobio shareholders will own 22.3% of the new company while Tectonic shareholders will control 40.2%. Tectonic’s management team will continue to lead the fused venture, while Avrobio will get one director tacked onto the board. 

Avrobio had been on the hunt for an exit since July 2023, when the company halted work on its remaining gene therapy programs, laid off half its staff and went on the hunt for buyers.

A month or so before the pivot, the biotech sold its hematopoietic stem cell gene therapy program to Novartis for nearly $88 million.