Replay, a genome writing company reprogramming biology by writing and delivering big DNA, has launched with $55 million in seed financing.
The round was led by KKR and OMX Ventures, with additional participation from ARTIS Ventures and Lansdowne Partners, SALT, DeciBio Ventures, and Axial.
Replay, which is based in San Diego, Cal., and London, U.K., has a portfolio of next-generation genomic medicine technologies aims to solve challenges currently limiting clinical progress, including the need for increased payload capacity and off-the-shelf cell therapies that substantially reduce cost of goods, improve production speed, volume and consistency, and expand the potential for genome engineering.
Replay’s genomic medicine toolkit comprises several synergistic technology platforms, including synHSV – a high payload capacity HSV vector able to deliver up to 30 times the payload of AAV. synHSV facilitates the delivery of large genes, genomic genes, multiple genes, and multiple transcriptional activators and repressors, thereby extending the reach of genomic medicine and opening up the possibility of polygenic therapy.
Another platform is uCell – a universal, renewable, off-the-shelf, genomically rewritten, hypoimmunogenic iPS cell source for regenerative medicine and cell therapy.
The company’s DropSynth is a genome writing platform enabling rapid, efficient, and low-cost synthesis of libraries of synthetic genes and big DNA, while LASR is an evolutionary inference algorithm platform for rewriting proteins to optimize functionality.
Replay’s corporate structure separates technology development from therapeutic product development within disease area-specific product companies. Each product company is co-founded by entrepreneurs in conjunction with global thought leaders in each therapeutic area.
To date, Replay has established four synHSV gene therapy product companies, aimed at bringing big DNA therapies to monogenic diseases affecting the skin, eye, brain and muscle, and an enzyme writing product company using LASR and DropSynth to optimize enzyme functionality.
Adrian Woolfson, executive chairman, president, and co-founder of Replay, said: “Genomic medicine has the potential to transform the future of clinical therapeutics. Over my three decades of experience working in clinical medicine, academia, and the biopharmaceutical industry, it has become clear that we require a more robust and comprehensive toolkit of molecular genetic platform technologies to solve biology’s most complex problems and realize its full therapeutic potential.
“In Replay we have assembled a world-class team of entrepreneurs, subject matter experts, and cutting-edge genomic medicine and synthetic biology technologies into a coherent structure that will enable us to address medicine’s greatest challenges, including solid tumors and polygenic diseases.”
Lachlan MacKinnon, CEO and co-founder of Replay, added: “Technology and product development have different talent requirements, timelines, costs and cultures. By separating technology development from product development, we have generated a model to accommodate these differences. Our ability to write and deliver big DNA has the potential to disrupt many areas of genomic medicine. We have the right team, corporate structure, portfolio of technology platforms, and financial backing to build an enduring company that shapes the future of the industry.”
KKR is investing in Replay through KKR Health Care Strategic Growth Fund II, a $4.0 billion fund focused on investing in high-growth health care companies.