Replay at it again, this time targeting rare skin disease with 2nd company launch

Less than a month after unveiling its first gene therapy company, Replay is now launching rare skin-disease-focused Telaria.

While other biotechs are culling pipeline programs and staff, newly launched gene writing biotech Replay is using its $55 million seed financing to send out a series of companies armed with next-generation genomic products.

At the end of October, the company revealed its first offshoot—Eudora, an HSV gene therapy company targeting inherited retinal diseases. Replay plans to form a total of four gene therapy product companies that use its high payload capacity HSV delivery platform, dubbed synHSV.

The platform was developed by Joe Glorioso, Ph.D., a co-founder of Eudora and Telaria as well as a synHSV senior adviser at Replay. Telaria's other co-founders are John McGrath, M.D., head of the genetic skin disease group at St. John’s Institute of Dermatology at King’s College London, and Alexander Silver, co-founder of the Epidermolysis Bullosa Research Partnership, founder of Phoenicis Therapeutics and founding partner at P2 Capital Partners.  

Telaria will initially focus on recessive dystrophic epidermolysis bullosa (RDEB), an inherited disease that can cause fragile skin that blisters easily. There’s currently no cure for the disease, which can affect multiple internal organs and causes serious medical issues for the 50,000 patients impacted globally.

“Leveraging Replay’s synHSV technology that enables the delivery of large genes, Telaria is developing a potentially best-in-class polygenic gene therapy to heal existing skin lesions more swiftly and effectively, and to prevent the formation of new ones,” McGrath said in a Nov. 21 release.  

The synHSV technology can deliver up to eight times the payload of adeno-associated virus (AAV) vectors, allowing for polygenic gene therapy and the delivery of genes too big for AAV. The Replay team has even bigger ambitions, however, including working on an HSV vector that can deliver up to 30 times more than an AAV payload.

“There is currently no approved cure for individuals suffering from RDEB and I am aware, from my own personal experience, that the current standard of care is limited and does not provide long-term and sustainable benefit to patients,” Silver said in the release, adding that Replay’s tech allows for the delivery of big DNA to the skin through its differentiated payload capacity.

Replay’s "hub-and-spoke" business model is structured so that tech development is separate from product development within different product companies. Its other two companies, which have yet to debut, will apply the same big DNA gene therapy principles to genetic diseases of the brain and muscle.