Ensoma Buys A Startup To Advance ‘in Vivo Cell Therapy Work
- In a pair of announcements on Thursday, Ensoma announced it will acquire startup Twelve Bio and announced $85 million in new funding to advance research into "in vivo" cell therapies.
- The funding, led by 5AM Ventures and Arix Biosciences, will help Enzuma develop its "smart" live cell therapy platform and expand its pipeline of generic drugs for use in immuno-oncology and "other therapeutic applications."
- Meanwhile, Twelve Bio's acquisition of Ensoma's three-year-old CRISPR technology can dynamically and precisely edit genes, he said.
Current cell therapy is known as "extracorporeal" therapy, where the patient's cells are genetically modified outside the body. But these therapies, like CAR-T cell therapy for cancer, require long and laborious procedures that involve removing the cells from the patient, genetically modifying them in the lab, and then reusing them. To avoid this process, many biotech companies have tried more convenient ways to process and recycle the body's cells.
Some biotech companies are looking for "critical" therapies instead of the customized cell therapies available today. Other biotechnologies focus on "in vivo" processes, which can involve changing cells while they are inside the body.
Ensoma was founded in 2021 with $70 million in funding and a partnership with pharmaceutical company Takeda. The company has set a goal of developing traditional medicines for common and rare diseases. Thursday's announcement is a step forward in building the financial and technological resources to move closer to that goal.
"Inzuma now has capital, know-how and dedicated partners," Inzuma CEO Emil Nusser said in a statement.
Ensoma plans to use Twelve Bio's technology, which uses an engineered Cas12A enzyme, to better engineer stem cells with "multiple" edits in a single injection.
Mark Chen, CEO of Arix Biosciences and Director of Twelve Bio, will join Ensoma's Board of Directors. In addition, Stefano Stella, co-founder and chief scientific officer of Twelve Bio, will join Ensoma as deputy chief gene editor. Insoma's scientific advisory board will have two members from Twelve Bio, including Guillermo Montoya and co-founder Shengdar Tai.
Insuma said certain conditions must be met for the acquisition to be completed, including approval from the Danish Business Authority.