Decibel Therapeutics, a clinical-stage biotechnology company developing novel restorative gene therapeutics to treat hearing loss and balance disorders, raised US$ 82.2M in Series D financing.
The round was led by OrbiMed, with new investments from BlackRock Health Sciences, Casdin Capital, Janus Henderson, Samsara BioCapital and Surveyor Capital. Existing investors also participated in the financing, including Foresite Capital, GV, S-Cubed Capital, Sobrato Capital, SR One, Third Rock Ventures and other institutional investors.
The funds raised will be used to propel Decibel’s lead programs into and through the clinic, including gene therapy for children with congenital deafness and a program that was left from its early days designed to protect hearing in cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy.
About Decibel Therapeutics
Founded in 2015 by Gabriel Corfas and M. Charles Liberman, Decibel Therapeutics is a hearing company focused on discovering and developing new medicines to protect, repair and restore hearing.
Combining recent innovations in hearing science with leading diagnostic tools, biological insights, modeling and therapeutic delivery techniques, Decibel is developing a comprehensive approach to defining the underlying biological causes of hearing loss. It is developing a pipeline of breakthrough drugs targeted to specific indications and patients.
“Decibel took a very broad approach to explore therapeutic opportunities, mainly for the treatment of different forms of hearing loss. It casts a wide net, including disorders where children are born deaf, or become deaf early in life, as well as hearing loss that comes with aging or with extremely loud noises,” said Laurence Reid, Ph.D., former chief of Warp Drive Bio and Decibel’s CEO.
“We’re doing that either by gene replacement providing normal copies of genes inherited in a mutant form from a child’s parent that cause hearing loss—and by gene therapy to drive particular cellular pathways that could cause the regeneration of hair cells in the vestibule or the cochlea,” he said, referring to parts of the inner ear.
The capital will be used to fund DB-OTO, a program developed with Regeneron to treat children who were born deaf due to mutations in the otoferlin gene. The gene codes for a protein of the same name, which allows the cells in the inner ear to communicate with the auditory nerve. The gene therapies and regenerative medicines Decibel is working on will most likely hit the clinics in 2022.
The funds will also support DB-020, which is in development to prevent ototoxicity, or hearing loss, in cancer patients undergoing cisplatin chemotherapy. “DB-020 is a legacy program, a reflection of our older strategies but it’s still an important program with a very interesting rationale,” said CEO Reid.
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