UF Innovate | Sid Martin Biotech, a biotechnology incubator at the University of Florida, announced on 8/13/18 that resident company Lacerta Therapeutics, Inc., has closed on a $30 million investment round. Lacerta is a clinical-stage gene therapy company using a constellation of proprietary adeno-associated virus (AAV) vector technologies to develop treatments for central nervous system and lysosomal storage diseases. Sarepta Therapeutics (NASDAQ: SRPT), a commercial-stage biopharmaceutical company focused on the discovery and development of precision genetic medicine, has made a $30 million equity investment in Lacerta Therapeutics, gaining rights to multiple CNS-targeted gene therapy programs. Lacerta will use the new funding to advance the company’s clinical pipeline.
Joseph Reddy, Ph.D., President and Chief Executive Officer, Lacerta Therapeutics, said, “This investment is further validation of our technologies and business model. It has also been facilitated by being a resident company at Sid Martin Biotech. I joined the company a little over a year ago and immediately decided to establish laboratory operations at Sid Martin. Unquestionably, without the support of the incubator’s staff and startup programs, closing this investment round would have been more difficult to accomplish in such a short time frame.”
Lacerta is actively seeking partnerships and out-licensing opportunities. They are currently developing treatments for the following conditions:
Sanfilippo Syndrome Type B
Aromatic L-amino acid decarboxylase deficiency
Sarepta has an extensive developmen pipeline of RNA and DNA focused therapies. Exondys 51, Sarepta's commercially available product, is an RNA based therapy indicated for the treatment of Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) in patients who have a confirmed mutation of the DMD gene that is amenable to exon 51 skipping.