Frequency Therapeutics, Woburn, Mass, a company developing a pipeline of new drugs that activate progenitor cells within the body, announced the closing of a $32 million Series A financing. The funding round was led by CoBro Ventures. Additional participating investors included Morningside Ventures, Emigrant Capital Corp, Korean Investment Partnership, Alexandria Real Estate Equities, and other US and international investors.
Frequency was founded in 2015 to advance the breakthrough work in Progenitor Cell Activation (PCA™) by Robert Langer, ScD, and Jeffrey Karp, PhD, at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Harvard Medical School. According to the company, Frequency’s precise and controlled approach transiently causes Lgr5+ progenitor cells to divide and differentiate, much like what is seen in naturally regenerating tissues such as the skin and intestine. Frequency activates “stemness” through mimicking signals provided by neighboring cells (the stem cell niche) with small molecules, and this proprietary approach is known as the Progenitor Cell Activation (PCA™) platform.
Frequency believes that PCA has the potential to yield a whole new category of disease-modifying therapeutics for a wide range of degenerative conditions. To fuel its drug discovery programs, Frequency is leveraging a PCA screening platform using primary human cells, including cochlear progenitor cells and adult human progenitor cells from the GI tract. Using its proprietary PCA platform, Frequency’s lead product candidate stimulates the regrowth of sensory hair cells in the inner ear to treat chronic noise-induced hearing loss. The foundational science by Frequency’s co-founders has been widely published, including a publication in Nature Methods and, most recently, as a cover feature in February’s Cell Reports. Frequency has a worldwide exclusive license to related intellectual property from MIT and Partners Healthcare, and intends to pursue the potential application of PCA for a wide range of therapeutic indications including hearing loss, skin disorders, muscle regeneration, and gastrointestinal diseases.
“Bob Langer and Jeff Karp’s vision is to gain much of the same effect as gene therapy and CRISPR by using small molecules, which we believe are safer and allow for easier delivery. Our data is very compelling and we are excited to be moving to the clinic in the next 12 to 18 months,” said Marc Cohen, co-founder of CoBro Ventures and chairman of Frequency’s Board of Directors, as reported online in February in the Hearing Review. “Hearing loss is not just a symptom of aging, but an indication that affects a significant percentage of the world’s population in people of all ages. The US loses on average $56 billion in annual productivity due to the complications associated with chronic noise-induced hearing loss alone.”
“With no effective therapy available, this presents an enormous market opportunity and we believe there is even broader potential in indications beyond hearing loss with the further development of the PCA platform. Frequency is building a next-generation regenerative medicine company with a truly breakthrough approach designed to awaken the body’s innate ability to restore function to damaged or diseased tissues,” said David Lucchino, co-founder, president, and CEO of Frequency.
Source: Frequency Therapeutics