Pfizer, BMS vet hits Replay with $55M seed financing, 'Big DNA' ambitions

New biotech Replay—led by former Pfizer and Bristol Myers Squibb executive Adrian Woolfson, Ph.D.—has unveiled with a $55 million seed financing to reprogram biology and author next generation genomic products.

Replay intends to use the money to build out its toolkit of platform technologies to write and deliver so-called “big DNA” that targets complex conditions, including solid tumors and polygenic diseases.

The $55 million seed funding was led by global investment firm KKR and fund OMX Ventures, which focuses on early-stage tech-bios. Artis Ventures—a venture capital with recent investments in biotechs Cartography Biosciences and Locus Biosciences—also participated, along with Lansdowne Partners, SALT, DeciBio Ventures and Axial.

The new biotech is led by president, chair and co-founder Woolfson, former head of R&D at genomic medicine biotech Sangamo Therapeutics. Woolfson has also held leadership roles with Big Pharmas Pfizer and BMS.

Woolfson said it became apparent over his 30 of years of experience that a more robust and comprehensive toolkit of molecular genetic platform techs was needed to realize the full therapeutic potential for complex diseases. That’s why Replay is pulling together a team of entrepreneurs, experts, and genomic medicine and synthetic biology tech to solve current challenges that limit clinical progress. Replay intends to deliver medicines that cut costs, improve production speed and expand potential for genome engineering.

Headquartered in both San Diego and London, the biotech uses a hub-and-spoke business model, structured so tech development is separate from product development within disease area-specific product companies.

So far, five discrete product companies have been incorporated into Replay’s portfolio, including a high payload capacity HSV delivery platform, a hypoimmunogenic cell therapy platform and a genome writing platform.