Monday, 20 May 2019

Sana Biotech launches engineered cells to create a new class of medicines

15 February 2019 | News

Sana is bringing together research, development, and manufacturing capabilities across cell therapy, gene therapy, and gene editing as well as a team of executives, board members, investors, and scientists with deep experience in these areas.

Sana Biotechnology, a new company focused on creating and delivering engineered cells as medicines for patients has announced its launch. Recent scientific advances make it possible to reprogram cells in the body or replace damaged cells and tissues, creating a new class of medicines to treat a broad array of diseases.

Sana is bringing together research, development, and manufacturing capabilities across cell therapy, gene therapy, and gene editing as well as a team of executives, board members, investors, and scientists with deep experience in these areas. 

"Cell and gene engineering provide the opportunity to address the underlying cause of disease and provide benefits to patients that have previously been not possible," said Steve Harr, Sana Co-Founder and CEO. "There are challenges in making and delivering these kinds of medicines to patients, but also the opportunity to treat illnesses that today have few, if any, options. Our goal with Sana is to bring together the people, technologies, and resources needed to address these challenges, changing both how we approach treating disease and what we expect as outcomes for patients."

The company is building critical core capabilities around –

  • Making cells at scale ex vivo to replace any damaged or missing cells in the body,
  • In vivo delivery to specific cell types of any payload – including DNA, RNA, and proteins to reprogram cells,
  • Immunology expertise to hide allogeneic cells (cells from a donor) or delivery vehicles from the immune system so that the body does not reject or eliminate them,
  • Controllable gene and protein expression systems,
  • Scaled, cost-efficient manufacturing solutions, and
  • Discovery and development of new technologies that will enable the ultimate breadth of application of cell and gene engineering.

"I am thrilled to join the leadership team and board as we launch Sana," said Hans Bishop, Co-Founder and Executive Chair of Sana. "We have assembled a scientific team and a portfolio of potential medicines and technologies from proven scientific innovators, including Flagship Pioneering, Harvard University, the University of California San Francisco, and the University of Washington School of Medicine. I look forward to working again with ARCH Venture Partners, focusing on advancing the technologies in the company today as well as bringing in additional technologies and capabilities to make our vision around engineered cells a reality."

"Flagship Pioneering originates companies that apply new biological breakthroughs to tackle the most intractable challenges in health, and we believe Sana is one of those companies," said Noubar Afeyan, Sana Co-Founder and Founder and CEO of Flagship Pioneering. "We are thrilled about the opportunity to combine the novel, cell-specific in vivo gene delivery platforms pioneered during several years of R&D within Flagship Labs with the other technologies and potential medicines to form Sana. We look forward to collaborating with our co-founders and partners to develop this best-in-class company."

"ARCH partners with experienced, world-class management teams to assemble the technology, talent, and capital to create companies that solve big problems for patients," said Robert Nelsen, Sana Co-Founder and Managing Director and Co-Founder of ARCH Venture Partners. "We believe the time is right to commit the resources needed to create a new pillar of medicine that not only treats disease, but hopefully cures it. Sana is a unique company in a transformative time in science, and we believe this team, combined with its co-founders, has the experience, creativity and know-how to make a big impact on medicine."

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