Sofinnova, Atlas lead next-gen autoimmune upstart’s $35M Series A

Perennial life science investors Atlas and Sofinnova have co-led a $35 million startup funding round for Delinia, a newly emerged biotech that starts life with designs on “rebalancing the immune system” to help treat autoimmune diseases.

The Cambridge, MA-based biotech’s lead program is a targeted regulatory T-cell (Treg) therapy that it says could “selectively treat immune disorders” without broadly suppressing a patient’s immune system.

Delinia said in a statement that it plans to use its new cash pot to work on its Treg therapy through to clinical proof-of-concept.

“We are excited to advance what we believe is a new paradigm for the treatment of patients with severe autoimmune disease,” said Saurabh Saha, president and CEO of Delinia and a Venture Partner with Atlas.

“Rarely does a company have the opportunity to develop a therapy with a unique combination of compelling biology, novel mechanism of action, and clinical validation of the target.”

Dr. Saha is well known in the industry, being previously the CMO at Synlogic, and formerly the global head of the New Indications Discovery Unit at Novartis.

Delinia’s protein therapeutic platform is built on tech created by co-founder and CSO, Jeffrey Greve, and aims to try and better the safety profile of current autoimmune meds.

This platform specifically targets, activates and enhances the levels of Tregs, a cell type that exists in the body and controls the inflammatory response of other cells.

Its approach is to re-establish healthy immune regulation, rather than overwhelm the immune system--something that can result with marketed autoimmune meds.

French biotech TxCell is also working in this space, using T-cell treatments for chronic inflammatory and autoimmune diseases (although it has had its share of manufacturing problems in the past year).