Seattle-based Sana specializes in creating off-the-shelf cell therapies to treat a wide variety of diseases. By genetically modifying and differentiating stem cells, Sana develops therapies that are hidden from the body’s immune system, thus aren’t so easily rejected or hindered. Cofounder Hans Bishop also founded Juno in 2013, the company was one of the earliest names in CAR-T cell therapy technologies.
Recently, Sana saw investor interest in its cell and gene therapies to the tune of $700 million. Investors included ARCH Venture Partners, Baillie Gifford, Flagship Pioneering, F-Prime Capital, Bezos Expeditions, and GV, among others.
CEO Steve Harr, M.D. says that Sana will remain dedicated to modulating genes in cells, and replacing the body’s damaged cells, which this round of funding will certainly help them do. “The commitment from this group of long-term investors enables us to concentrate on making discoveries that overcome the most important challenges to making gene and cell therapies that improve the lives of a broad swath of patients.”
The company will use the funds for discovery and development efforts for its cell and gene therapies. They are currently developing in vivo delivery methods of DNA, RNA, and proteins that can reprogram specific cells. They are also developing ways in which to keep allogenic cells off the immune system’s radar, expanding treatment options from people’s own cells to cells harvested from healthy donors.
Sana’s CAR-T treatment for multiple myeloma, orvacabtagene autoleucel, was presented last month at the annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology. Another CAR-T cell therapy developed by Juno, lisocabtagene maraleucel, is currently under review by the Food and Drug Administration to treat non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
The company’s primary focuses, which include gene delivery,stem cell biology, immunology, and gene modification, will continue to be developed with this influx of funding. The long-term investor commitment will enable Sana to focus their efforts on discovery, ultimately improving the health and lives of a wide variety of patients. At a time when countless companies are having to slow down operations due to a global pandemic, Sana seems to be going strong.