Tenaya Therapeutics launches to go after heart disease
With $50M investment, Gladstone Institutes look to push basic science discoveries toward cures for heart disease
SAN FRANCISCO—The world will soon see the full emergence of a new biopharmaceutical company, Tenaya Therapeutics Inc., that has been formed and launched to build on discoveries in cardiovascular disease research made at the Gladstone Institutes. Specifically, the new company will concentrate on regenerative medicine and drug discovery for the treatment of heart failure.
“When heart muscle is damaged, the body is unable to repair the dead or injured cells,” explained Dr. Deepak Srivastava, director of the Gladstone Institute of Cardiovascular Disease and a co-founder of the new company. “Right now, the only possible cure for heart failure is a heart transplant. We hope that this new venture will bring us closer to a more scalable cure.”
Tenaya is supported by a $50-million Series A financing from The Column Group. Dr. David Goeddel, a managing partner at the group and a pioneer of the biotechnology industry, is the board chair of Tenaya. Dr. J.J. Kang, an associate at The Column Group, is a board director and president of the new company.
“There has been limited commercial investment in the cardiac field, despite the remarkable progress made at Gladstone and elsewhere,” noted Dr. Stephen Freedman, vice president for corporate liaison and ventures at Gladstone. “Tenaya will advance some of the innovative work coming out of Gladstone, with the aim of developing new therapeutics for heart failure.”
Tenaya is set to take Gladstone’s work in cellular reprogramming and put that toward a search for cures for heart failure. One program will translate cellular reprogramming technology to the clinic to regenerate heart muscle cells in patients with heart failure. Other programs will use cellular models of heart disease created from stem cells to identify potential new drug targets.
The new company is the first formed out of BioFulcrum, an entrepreneurial initiative within Gladstone that takes a milestone-driven approach to science. BioFulcrum aims to accelerate the discovery of cures by bringing together scientists, multiple non-profit institutions and industry partners such as Goeddel, who sits on the board of BioFulcrum.
“The key ingredients for a successful company are a great team and great ideas,” said Goeddel. “With the stellar group of scientists that we’ve assembled, we’re confident that we will be able to build something transformative from the cutting-edge research of the Gladstone Institutes.”
“Inspired by the collaborative research at BioFulcrum, we wanted to establish Tenaya to integrate new findings and tools in the cardiac field and advance them towards clinical translation,” added Kang. “Our goal is to build a science-focused company that discovers novel therapies for heart failure patients.”