Therorna funding to accelerate circRNA-based platform

mRNA, biotech

Therorna Inc., a Chinese biotech company specializing in the development of circular RNA (circRNA) technology-based new vaccines and therapies, including for COVID-19, has completed a $42 million series A financing round. 

The funding was co-led by MSA Capital, with participation from Sherpa Healthcare Partners, 3H Health Investment, and existing investors Quan Capital and Cenova Capital.

When combined with previously completed angel and pre-A rounds, the company has to date raised more than $60 million.

With the new funding, Therorna plans to develop its technology platform and product pipeline, as well as clinical trials, regulatory applications, and international collaborations.

About the company

Therorna was founded in Beijing in April 2021. The company said its circRNA technology platform is intended to develop “next-generation vaccines and innovative therapies.” It added it already has a pipeline of novel prophylactic and therapeutic drugs to address high unmet medical needs. 

The founder of Therorna, Wensheng Wei said, “We really appreciate the support of our investors. As the world continues to suffer from the COVID-19, scientists are obliged to shoulder the responsibility to provide scientific solutions to end this pandemic. We are devoted to accelerating the clinical application of our circRNA-based vaccines against SARS-CoV-2 and its variants.”

MSA Capital founder and managing partner Yu Zeng added, “We are confident in the potential of circRNA technology for drug development in the area of protein expression and regulation. Compared with linear RNA, circRNA boasts breakthroughs in expression, stability, immunogenicity, and production. In terms of the technology, Chinese scientists have proven their internationally recognized capabilities at innovation and efficient transformation. 

“MSA Capital is impressed by Therorna’s strong team of scientists and entrepreneurs. As a serial entrepreneur, Professor Wei has deep expertise in gene editing and circRNA technology application, and Therorna’s management team has rich experience in drug R&D and industrial management. MSA Capital will make use of its resources to support the expansion of Therorna in international markets.”

Sherpa Healthcare Partners investment VP, Changzu Cai, said thanks to its unique structure, the circRNA as a tool for protein expression has been proven to maintain a relatively stable protein expression level in vivo for a longer time, which is expected to further expand the application scenarios of RNA therapy.

Cover image: Shutterstock

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