Durham Biopharma Company Kriya Acquires Gene Therapy Startup

Kriya Therapeutics Inc., with dual headquarters in Durham and Palo Alto, Calif., has acquired a gene therapy startup that Kriya says will align with its approach to treating metabolic disease.

Tramontane Therapeutics Inc., a Barcelona, Spain, startup in gene therapy for metabolic and neurodegenerative diseases, is now a wholly owned subsidiary of Kriya. The acquisition will help Kriya develop a one-time intramuscular gene therapy for treating a condition known as NASH, or nonalcoholic steatohepatitis, the company said in a statement. NASH is a more severe form of fatty liver disease.

Tramontane’s science is based on fibroblast growth factor 21 (FGF21), a hormone that regulates metabolism. The company’s lead program is an adeno-associated virus (AAV) vector that expresses the FGF21 protein at steady levels.

Kriya Shankar photo
Shankar Ramaswamy, MD, Kriya CEO

With the acquisition, Kriya said it anticipates having its NASH gene therapy candidate in clinical trials by the first half of 2025. A one-time intramuscular AAV gene therapy has the potential to treat NASH with greater efficacy and safety than other approaches, the company said.

“We are very impressed with the data associated with the Tramontane FGF21 program, which has consistently established strong efficacy and durability across multiple validated animal models of obesity and NASH,” said Shankar Ramaswamy, MD, co-founder and CEO of Kriya.

Kriya and Tramontane are familiar with each other: Fatima Bosch, Tramontane’s co-founder and president, is a member of Kriya’s scientific advisory board. She spun Tramontane out of a lab at a university in Barcelona, where she serves as a professor of biochemistry and molecular biology.

Kriya has raised more than $600 million from investors in just four years since its founding. In July, the company announced a $150 million add-on to its Series C financing round that will be used to continue building its engineering, computational and manufacturing platforms. Kriya is developing gene therapies in metabolic disease, ophthalmology and neurology.

Ramaswamy is the brother of Republican presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy. He co-founded Kriya in 2019 after serving as chief business officer at Axovant Sciences, and before that was at Roivant Sciences, the pharmaceutical company founded by his brother.

Kyle Marshall, NCBiotech Writer
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