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MedNews: Holoclara closes $16 Million financing to advance worm-derived therapies for allergic and autoimmune disease

  • Financing led by BOLD Capital Partners, alongside early investments from Horizons Ventures and participation from a syndicate of leading angel investors in the life sciences

  • Capital to support clinical development of first-in-class, worm-derived medicines for allergies and autoimmune disorders and advancement of discovery engine

  • Peter Barton Hutt, former Chief Counsel for the Food and Drug Administration, joins Holoclara’s Board of Directors

Holoclara, a biotechnology company pioneering the development of worm-derived therapies for allergies and autoimmune disorders, today announced the completion of an oversubscribed $16 million Series A financing led by BOLD Capital Partners. Horizons Ventures, Tarrasque, Endurance28, Freeflow Ventures, and a syndicate of leading angel investors also participated in the round.

"With our world-class team and leading investors, we are taking matters into our own hands to usher in a new era of medicines inspired by nature that can transform the lives of millions of people." Post this

In connection with the financing, Peter Barton Hutt, former Chief Counsel for the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and currently senior counsel at Covington & Burling LLP, has been appointed to the company’s Board of Directors.

The capital will be used to progress development of Holoclara’s orally available therapeutics into the clinic this year. The company additionally continues to advance its broader discovery engine to isolate and identify from worms particular molecules with therapeutic potential.

“Holoclara was born out of an unmet clinical need. During my physician training, I met countless patients with life-altering allergies and autoimmune disorders that were often undiagnosed and untreated. Medicine lacked the tools to address these debilitating diseases — despite compelling evidence I and other worm scientists unearthed pointing to worms as a promising, if unexpected, therapeutic approach,” said Andrea Choe, M.D., Ph.D., co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of Holoclara. “With our world-class team and leading investors, we are taking matters into our own hands to usher in a new era of medicines inspired by nature that can transform the lives of millions of people.”

The company’s discovery engine builds on Dr. Choe’s research uncovering a unique pheromone language shared by roundworms, which may have evolved over hundreds of millions of years. She further discovered molecules derived from these worms that blocked formation of disease in animal models of allergic and autoimmune disease. These findings, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) journal, became the foundation of Holoclara’s technology, enabling the company to replicate therapeutic molecules using synthetic chemistry for the development of safe and orally available medicines with the potential to treat, and even cure, prevalent diseases.

"Holoclara’s ‘against the grain’ approach of seeking inspiration from worms intrigued the BOLD Capital team from the very start,” said Neal Bhadkamkar, Ph.D., General Partner of BOLD Capital Partners and member of Holoclara’s Board of Directors.

“By focusing on a particular worm species that had co-evolved with humans over hundreds of thousands of years as a gut-resident parasite, Holoclara discovered powerful immune modulatory compounds in their secretions. The company is mining this previously unexplored vein for the potential to create therapies for chronic inflammatory conditions that work with the immune system rather than against it.”

“I’m pleased to advise Holoclara as the company moves its groundbreaking science harnessing worm biology closer to the clinic and into the hands of countless patients suffering from allergic and autoimmune diseases today,” said Peter Barton Hutt. “Holoclara has assembled a strong and experienced scientific and medical team to pursue this new generation of medicine.”

Dr. Choe founded Holoclara with Paul W. Sternberg, Ph.D., professor at California Institute of Technology (Caltech), and Frank C. Schroeder, Ph.D., professor at Cornell University. Additional leading scientists and entrepreneurs sit on the company’s Board of Directors, including Dr. Bhadkamkar, Mr. Hutt, and Seemay Chou, Ph.D., CEO of Arcadia Science. Its advisors include Rick Maizels, Ph.D., professor at University of Glasgow; Brian Stoltz, Ph.D., professor at Caltech; Stan Lapidus, serial entrepreneur and former CEO of Cytyc Corporation and EXACT Sciences; Colleen Cutcliffe, Ph.D., CEO of Pendulum Therapeutics; Joe Betts-LaCroix, CEO of Retro Biosciences; and Carl LeBel, Ph.D., biotech executive formerly of Amgen, Otonomy, and Frequency Therapeutics.

About Holoclara

Holoclara is the first biotechnology company to create safe, orally available worm-derived therapies designed to provide relief to millions of people living with allergic and autoimmune disease. Founded and led by physician-scientist Andrea Choe, Holoclara mines potent immunomodulatory molecules from gut roundworms, building upon decades of preclinical data proving their therapeutic efficacy across a wide range of diseases. With a team of world-renowned experts in worm biology and biotechnology and the backing of leading life sciences and technology investors, Holoclara is uniquely positioned to harness the therapeutic potential of worms to address historically untreatable diseases.

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Source: Holoclara


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