Magenta Therapeutics seeks to ‘transform’ stem cell transplant for immune and blood diseases

Company announces $48.5-million Series A financing that will help fund programs to make stem cell transplant more effective for patients with autoimmune diseases, genetic blood disorders and cancer

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CAMBRIDGE, Mass.—Magenta Therapeutics, a new biotechnology company developing therapeutics that “unlock the power of stem cell biology and bone marrow transplant,” on Nov. 6 announced the completion of a $48.5-million Series A financing. The round was led by Third Rock Ventures LLC and Atlas Venture, two firms that have built the company together over the past year with the vision to apply new stem cell science to reboot the immune and blood systems to treat patients with autoimmune diseases, genetic blood disorders and cancer.
Magenta Therapeutics aspires to develop a patient-focused set of therapeutics with the first complete platform that addresses the critical challenges in stem cell transplant. The programs could make transplants more effective for a broader range of diseases by improving patient preparation, stem cell harvesting and engraftment. This is reportedly the first time a company has taken a “total approach” to stem cell transplant medicine. Magenta plans to “fundamentally change” the use of transplant and bring this life-saving therapy to many more patients.
“Hematopoietic stem cells have the remarkable ability to develop into all cells in our blood and immune system, and have been used to transplant over one million patients in the past 50 years,” said Dr. Jason Gardner, CEO, president and co-founder of Magenta Therapeutics. “Technical and scientific hurdles have relegated stem cell transplantation to a last resort for deadly diseases today, but new science is ready to be advanced to the clinic that could fundamentally open up this powerful medicine to patients suffering from earlier stage cancers, blood disorders and a large set of aggressive autoimmune diseases, including multiple sclerosis and scleroderma.”
“There has been terrific innovation in stem cell science recently, and it is time to bring this forward to patients,” he added. “During the past year, we have incubated Magenta with Third Rock and Atlas, and conducted extensive diligence on the key science in collaboration with many leading experts in the field. We have recruited a strong team at Magenta and are working with an experienced set of founders and advisors around an important vision in medicine. Our ultimate goal is to reboot the blood and immune systems safely to make a significant impact on the overall quality of life for a much broader group of patients that can benefit from transplant.”
The current standard of clinical practice for stem cell transplantation is based on science developed decades ago. With recent breakthroughs and significant clinical opportunity, Magenta aims to broaden the range of patients eligible for transplant by improving three key aspects of the procedure: patient preparation using targeted antibodies, stem cell harvesting using new biologic agents, and increasing stem cell numbers by targeting self-renewal pathways.
David Scadden, Magenta’s chief scientific advisor, chair of the scientific advisory board and co-founder commented: “Stem cell transplants are curative. With new gene therapy and gene editing technologies and emerging clinical experience in autoimmune diseases, more patients with more diseases can be helped or cured. We think we can make stem cell transplants safer and more efficient and change the conversation with patients from risk-focused to benefit-focused. Our goal is to make transplantation a desired early option for people with many blood and immune disorders.”
SOURCE: Magenta Therapeutics news release

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