Therachon’s Rare Genetic Diseases Program Gets $60 Million Boost

Swiss-based biotechnology firm, Therachon, has closed $60 million round of funding, which will advance its achondroplasia program toward a drug trial, with treatments expected sometime in 2019.

Novo Holdings led a cast of existing and new investors in the funding round.

The financiers were Cowen Healthcare Investments, Pfizer Ventures, and funds managed by Tekla Capital Management LLC and the returning investors were Versant Ventures, OrbiMed, Bpifrance, and Inserm Transfert Initiative.

After the funding round, Jørgen Søberg Petersen, a venture partner at Novo Holdings, and Timothy Anderson, a director at Cowen Healthcare Investments joined the Therachon’s board.

Therachon’s managing director and Chief Executive Officer, Luca Santarelli said with the financing, the biotechnology firm would be able to devote more resources to its lead clinical program in achondroplasia.

The effects of rare diseases are devastating, calling for the digital transformation of healthcare to speed up delivery of novel treatments to market. Therachon advances genetic disease treatment, working on TA-46, a novel therapy for achondroplasia, the most common form of short limbed dwarfism, affecting one in 25,000 children.

In 2017, Santarelli said the TA-46 had “demonstrated exceptional preclinical efficacy and holds the promise of fully restoring normal growth and mitigating some of the devastating complications in children suffering from achondroplasia,” optimism that was clearly reflected by the number of investors that participated in the funding round.

Since the end of June, Therachon has been conducting what it called the Dreambird study on children aged between 0 and 10 years old, which will follow up on 200 participants drawn from sites in Europe, Canada, and the United States.

The company, which was founded in 2014, is among many healthcare startups advancing therapies for rare genetic diseases such as skeletal dysplasias and has a rare oncology program at different stages of development, according to Therachon’s development pipeline.

Learn the 11 steps to effective online reputation management for doctors