The US biopharmaceutical company Kriya Therapeutics, specialised in the development of gene therapies, has acquired the spin-off of the Autonomous University of Barcelona (UAB) Tramontane Therapeutics, co-founded by Dr Fátima Bosch, director of the Centre for Animal Biotechnology and Gene Therapy (CBATEG) at the UAB, and Professor Francesc Gòdia, member and former president of SEBiot.
Tramontane is a private gene therapy company focused on developing treatments for metabolic and neurodegenerative diseases. With the transaction, Kriya acquires a portfolio of Fibroblast Growth Factor 21 (FGF21) assets including Tramontane’s lead program, an adeno-associated virus (AAV) vector designed to express a steady level of the native FGF21 protein. FGF21 has beneficial metabolic effects across several target organs including the liver. Importantly, FGF21 has been established as a clinically-validated biological target in Nonalcoholic Steatohepatitis (NASH) , which Kriya has prioritized as its lead FGF21 program.
The one-time intramuscular AAV gene therapy designed to express native FGF21 protein is a novel approach to treating NASH with significant potential for a better efficacy, safety, tolerability and pharmacokinetic profile than other products in development.
“We are very impressed with the data associated with the Tramontane FGF21 program, which has consistently established strong efficacy and durability across multiple validated animal models of obesity and NASH,” said Shankar Ramaswamy, M.D., Co-Founder and CEO of Kriya. “The addition of Tramontane’s FGF21 program strategically aligns with our Metabolic Disease portfolio which also includes a one-time gene therapy candidate for insulin-dependent diabetes.”
Kriya’s FGF21 gene therapy for treating people with NASH can eliminate the problems of complying with complex medication regimens by being a single intramuscular administration of AAV vectors. It can also improve the distribution of the therapeutic protein in tissues and provide a constant level of circulating native FGF21 protein. It therefore has the potential to offer therapeutic efficacy over several years in the context of chronic disease.
“People with NASH are in desperate need of better treatment options and FGF21 is a clinically-validated target for preventing fibrosis in this disease,” said Fátima Bosch, Ph.D., Professor in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at UAB, Co-Founder, President and Chief Scientific Advisor of Tramontane Therapeutics, and Kriya Scientific Advisory Board Member.