Nuevocor wants to restore cardiac function to diseased hearts through gene therapy and now has the backing of Boehringer Ingelheim through a $24 million series A.
The preclinical biotech's lead candidate is an adeno-associated virus-based gene therapy for patients with dilated cardiomyopathy caused by mutations in the lamin A/C gene.
Dilated cardiomyopathy causes the heart’s main pumping chamber to stretch and expand, limiting the heart’s ability to pump blood. The condition is often undetected but can cause irregular heartbeats, blood clots or sudden death, according to the Mayo Clinic. Patients with the lamin A/C mutation have an increased risk of irregular heartbeats and sudden cardiac arrest and are not eligible for conventional gene therapies.
“The current standard of care for dilated cardiomyopathy only serves to delay disease progression, and the only cure is to have a heart transplant,” Nuevocor CEO Dr. Yann Chong Tan said in a statement. “At Nuevocor, we hope to give patients a new lease of life through our technology."
Singapore-based Nuevocor also plans to apply its novel target discovery platform to other “untreatable” cardiomyopathies.
The series A round was led by EVX Ventures and Boehringer Ingelheim Venture Fund (BIVF). Other investors were EDBI, Xora Innovation and SEEDS Capital.
EVX Ventures Chairman XQ Lin said Nuevocor is the latest biotech to emerge from the firm’s “venture creation ecosystem,” which also includes Carmine Therapeutics. The firm also invests in other companies, such as the recently relaunched AltruBio.
BIVF has invested in 45 companies, including three that have gone on to be acquired by Boehringer Ingelheim, the largest private pharmaceutical company and owner of the venture fund.
"Nuevocor is trying to apply a very innovative and challenging approach using gene therapy for the treatment of genetically-driven, dilated cardiomyopathies,” said Dr. Weiyi Zhang, Managing Director of BIVF Asia. “We are excited to see that the company is exploiting the potential of genetic suppressors to change the course of these diseases and hopefully to significantly extend the life span and improve the life quality of DCM patients.”