Gene therapy specialist AAVLife raises $12m in Versant-led Series A


heart_lrgLife sciences-focused venture capital firm Versant Ventures has led a $12m Series A round for gene therapy specialist AAVLife.

French seed-investment firm Inserm Transfert Initiative also participated in the round, which will help the company advance its work on Friedreich’s ataxia into clinical studies.

There are currently no approved therapies for Friedreich’s ataxia, which causes progressive degradation of cardiac function.

AAVLife aims to kick off a clinical trial in 2015 to evaluate gene therapy for the cardiac dysfunction associated with Friedreich’s ataxia.

Versant venture partner Thomas Woiwode said, “Gene therapy is making great strides, with recent findings showing the potential to significantly improve the lives of patients with genetic diseases.

“At AAVLife we have assembled a world-class team focused on driving this program into the clinic to bring true benefit to patients with Friedreich’s ataxia.”

Versant is currently raising its fifth fund, which is targeting $250m. The new fund is half the size of Versant’s previous vehicle, which held a final close on $500m in July 2008, less than three years after it raised $400m for its third fund.

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