HAYA closes US$5M seed extension led by Humboldt Fund to advance the development of its anti-fibrotic lead program targeting Wisper, a cardiac long non-coding RNA
HAYA Therapeutics Establishes U.S. Location
LAUSANNE, Switzerland & SAN DIEGO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--HAYA Therapeutics, SA, a company developing precision medicines that target tissue and cell-specific long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs), today announced that the company has established a new laboratory space at JLABS @ San Diego, part of Johnson & Johnson Innovation’s global network of life science incubators.
HAYA’s main headquarters and laboratory facilities will remain in Lausanne, Switzerland. The company also announced that it has successfully closed a US$5 million seed extension led by Humboldt Fund, with participation from existing investors including Broadview Ventures, Apollo Health Ventures, BERNINA BioInvest, 4See Ventures, Schroder Adveq and Viva BioInnovator. This brings the total amount raised for the seed round to approximately US$25 million.
“Over the past year, we have made tremendous progress demonstrating the validity of our lead candidate and continue to make new advances with our lncRNA drug discovery engine,” said Samir Ounzain, Ph.D., Co-founder and CEO of HAYA Therapeutics. “We are excited to have this additional financial support from Humboldt Fund and our existing seed investors, and look forward to starting our journey in the U.S. and join other world-leading companies in the RNA-therapeutics space.”
The company will use the funding to grow its team in Switzerland and San Diego as well as advance its lead therapeutic candidate, an antisense oligonucleotide targeting the lncRNA Wisper, a cardiac tissue-enriched driver of fibrosis in the heart. The therapy is being developed to treat non-obstructive hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, an orphan indication with limited treatment options. HAYA is also expanding its pipeline of lncRNA targeting anti-fibrotics using its proprietary DiscoverHAYA™ drug discovery engine for other indications.
“Our goal at Humboldt Fund is to back visionary founders and early-stage biotechs disrupting the field through innovative technologies that can improve human health using creative and novel platforms,” said Sebastian Bernales, Ph.D., General Partner at Humboldt Fund. “HAYA is developing the next generation of RNA-based treatments with its unique approach of targeting lncRNA, and we enthusiastically support their efforts in developing precision therapeutics.”
“On behalf of all the investors I welcome Sebastian Bernales to HAYA,” said Jens Eckstein, Ph.D., Chairman and Managing Partner at Apollo Health Ventures. “Humboldt’s vision aligns well with HAYA’s innovation aspirations and the additional funds will accelerate our progress towards bringing novel therapeutics to the clinic.”
In May, HAYA announced the closing of its US$20 million seed round.
About HAYA Therapeutics
HAYA Therapeutics is a precision therapeutics company that discovers and develops innovative tissue- and cell-selective genomic medicines for fibrotic diseases and other serious health conditions associated with aging, including cancer. The company’s discovery engine focuses on long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs) within the “dark matter” of the human genome -- key tissue and cell-specific drivers of fibrosis and other disease processes -- to identify novel targets and drug candidates with the potential for greater efficacy and safety than existing treatments. HAYA’s lead therapeutic candidate is an antisense molecule targeting Wisper, a cardiac-enriched master driver of fibrosis, which has shown in preclinical testing the ability to halt and potentially reverse the fibrotic processes underlying heart failure. The company is also developing a pipeline of lncRNA-targeting candidates for the tissue-specific treatment of fibrotic diseases in other tissues, including lungs, kidney, liver, and the micro-environment of solid tumor cancers. Headquartered at the life sciences park Biopôle in Lausanne, Switzerland with laboratory facilities at JLABS @ San Diego, HAYA is led by a world-class team of experts in lncRNA biology and fibrotic disease, and is supported by a strong investor consortium. For more information on the company, please visit our website at www.hayatx.com. Follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn.
About Humboldt Fund
Humboldt Fund is a VC firm focused on companies building the technology stack supporting biology's transition from a descriptive science (knowledge) to engineering and applications (solving actual challenges). The fund invests in companies leveraging both the huge amounts of data/data analytics capabilities and the convergence of different fields (from tissue engineering to synbio) to create truly versatile technology platforms. Examples include Metagenomi (gene-editing discovery platform), Cellino (automate iPSC production) and Ansa Biotechnologies (enzyme-based DNA synthesis). Humboldt currently has a portfolio of over 20 companies and is mainly focused on financially supporting early stage companies from Seed/Series A to IPO. The fund partners have a well-balanced team – science, strategy and business.