Durham’s Kriya Therapeutics Snaps Up Duke Spinout to Establish Rare Diseases Unit

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Kriya Therapeutics is setting up a rare diseases unit in the Triangle with its latest acquisition.

This week, the biotech startup with dual headquarters in Durham and Palo Alto, California, announced that it had acquired Durham-based Warden Bio, a startup developing novel adeno-associated virus (AAV)-mediated gene therapies for glycogen storage disorders (GSDs).

The gene therapy is based on research led by Duke University’s Priya Kishnani, M.D., and Aravind Asokan, Ph.D., and includes a portfolio of five investigational programs for GSDs that have no existing FDA-approved treatments available.

“We are incredibly enthusiastic about the compelling research that has led to the development of Warden Bio’s pioneering gene therapies for GSDs,” said Shankar Ramaswamy, M.D., co-founder and chief executive officer of Kriya.

The exact terms of the deal were not disclosed. “This acquisition and the establishment of our Rare Disease Division align with our commitment to accelerating the advancement of best-in-class gene therapies,” Ramaswamy added.

The acquisition comes after Kriya landed a whopping $100 million in capital in 2021. That’s on top of $80.5 million raised in 2020.

It operates a 51,000-square-foot manufacturing facility in RTP.

A Kriya spokesperson said the company’s existing capabilities would support this division.

Launched in 2019, Kriya is the brainchild of Ramaswamy, former chief business officer for Axovant Gene Therapies; Fraser Wright, co-founder of Sparks Therapeutics; and Roger Jeffs, the former United Therapeutics CEO who has deep roots in North Carolina.

It has billed itself as a “next-generation gene therapy company” focused on designing and developing treatments for highly prevalent and severe chronic conditions, like diabetes and obesity.

GSDs are a group of rare disorders caused by distinct single enzyme deficiencies involved in the synthesis or breakdown of glycogen.

Currently, approved therapies are only available for one type of GSD, Pompe disease (GSD II).

With the acquisition, Warden Bio co-founder Kunal Kishnani joined Kriya as president of its rare disease division, where he will lead overall strategic, development, and partnership activities, the company said.

Chantal Allam, NCBiotech Writer
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