Integra Therapeutics (Integra Tx), founded in Barcelona in 2020, has just completed its first round of funding securing €4.5 million. The biotech startup is creating next-generation gene writing tools to boost the efficiency and safety of advanced therapies.
Founded by researchers Marc Güell and Avencia Sánchez-Mejías, the young company is a spin-off from the Pompeu Fabra University (UPF) in Barcelona, based on technology developed in the Translational Synthetic Biology Lab led by Dr Marc Güell.
Advanced therapies are currently one of the pillars of future medicine, and are aimed at both preventing and treating genetic and oncological diseases that, for now, are incurable. The research being done by companies such as Integra Tx is a crucial step to developing solutions to these incurable diseases that impact all members of society.
The novel gene writing technology that the Integra TX researchers are developing has great potential in that it resolves some of the main technical limitations of gene therapy as it can be used to paste DNA sequences of any size gene with high precision.
Dr Marc Güell, co-founder and CSO of Integra Tx, explained: “the Integra Tx technology platform is very promising because it is an evolution of the CRISPR-Cas techniques. We’ve found a way to merge them with transposase and integrase proteins that have a great capacity for gene transfer and to not depend on viral vectors for transporting the components into the cell, which is a step forward in making these therapies safer.”
The fresh funding just injected into the innovative company represents the growth and competitiveness of the biotech ecosystem in Spain. It will enable the startup to complete the prototype of the new gene writing technology platform, carry out preclinical validation using in vivo and ex-vivo models, and manage its patent portfolio in 2022 and 2023. After that, the company plans to open a Series A round to seek regulatory approval and carry out clinical trials with patients.
Dr Avencia Sánchez-Mejías, cofounder and CEO, said: “We’re very proud to be transferring our scientific knowledge and technological skills in gene editing from the lab to society. We thank all our investors for their commitment to Integra Tx and to making advanced therapies safer and more effective, and getting them to patients that urgently need them.”
The €4.5 million funding includes participation from Advent France Biotechnology (France), Invivo Capita l (Spain) and Takeda Ventures (USA). The biotech company is also supported by organisations in the healthcare and biomedicine sector, including ACCIÓ-Government of Catalonia, Biocat, ”la Caixa” Foundation and Innovalora programme at UPF.