Tune Therapeutics' epigenetic platform resonates with investors as it snags $40M in financing

Tune Therapeutics launched with financing from New Enterprise Associates, Emerson Collective and other venture shops. (Colin Behrens/Pixabay)

Tune Therapeutics wants in on the rising epigenomic field, spotlighted last month by Chroma Medicine's $125 million launch. Now, Tune has emerged with $40 million for its own epigenomic controls. 

The goal is to dial gene expression up or down to potentially thwart cancers, genetic diseases and aging. Tune's genetic tuning platform is designed to do so without breaking or rewriting DNA. Gene editing, on the other hand, runs the risk of inducing breaks in DNA and changes to its sequence.

The new Durham, North Carolina-based biotech claims it has found targets that gene editing approaches have no shot at finding or accessing. For its part, Chroma Medicine also hopes to turn on or turn off genes to regulate gene expression.

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"Until now, scientists and bioengineers lacked the combined understanding, clinical expertise and technology needed to make epigenomic therapies a practical reality. Now, we have all three," said Matt Kane, Tune's CEO, in a statement. 

Tune will have to beef up quickly as Chroma has already consumed another epigenome player. The one-year-old biotech bought Italian competitor Epsilen Bio en route to revealing its $125 million bank account. 

Next to Tune's Kane in the C-suite are acting Chief Scientific Officer Charlie Gersbach, Ph.D., and co-founder Akira Matsuno, who is president and chief financial officer. Gersbach, a Duke professor, previously co-founded Element Genomics and Locus Biosciences. UCB acquired Element for up to $30 million in April 2018, and CRISPR company Locus has partnered with the likes of Johnson & Johnson.

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The new biotech is also home to Jocelynn Pearl, a senior scientist and podcast host who made the list of Fierce's 2021 Fiercest Women in Life Sciences.

New Enterprise Associates, Emerson Collective, Hatteras Venture Partners, Mission BioCapital and others backed the round. Tune has teams in Durham and Seattle.