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AskBio Partners with TPG and Vida Ventures

Leading gene therapy company announces $235 million investment to accelerate growth.

Asklepios BioPharmaceutical, Inc (AskBio), a developer and manufacturer of Adeno-Associated Virus (AAV) gene therapy therapeutics for underserved patient populations with rare and generally untreatable genetic disorders, announced today $235 million in funding to augment and accelerate its business.

TPG Capital and Vida Ventures are investing $225 million for a minority stake in the company. As part of the transaction, AskBio’s founders and board members are co-investing $10 million. The investment provides AskBio with additional capital to help advance and expand clinical trials, enhance its manufacturing capabilities and capacity, and drive long-term growth. Additional terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

AskBio was founded in 2001 by Dr. Jude Samulski, Ph.D., the first scientist to clone AAV, along with Dr. Xiao Xiao, who was the first to develop a miniaturized dystrophin gene enabling the advancement of gene therapy for Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, and company CEO Sheila Mikhail, an accomplished life sciences executive. Formed in the Gene Therapy Center at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, AskBio offers proprietary AAV technology, best-in-class manufacturing capabilities, and a robust pipeline of in-house clinical programs. An early innovator in the space, the company holds over 500 patents in areas such as AAV production, chimeric vectors, and self-complementary DNA. AskBio’s engineered viral vectors are able to target particular tissues, de-target other tissues, and minimize the effects of neutralizing antibodies.

“It’s humbling to imagine that my Ph.D. project several decades ago has ushered in a new generation of transformative therapies that will impact so many lives,” said Dr. Jude Samulski, Ph.D., President and Chief Scientific Officer of AskBio. “I am excited to partner with TPG and Vida to catalyze the next generation of gene therapy innovation and translate discovery into life changing therapeutics.”

“With the funding from TPG and Vida, we will be able to accelerate our development of a broad range of transformative therapies for those affected by serious and oftentimes incurable genetic diseases,” said Sheila Mikhail, CEO and Co-Founder of AskBio. “We look forward to advancing our approaches for repeat administration and avoidance of neutralizing antibodies into the clinic to maximize the number of patients who benefit from AAV therapies.”


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[Originally posted by Business Wire — April 11, 2019]

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