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LEXEO Therapeutics Expands Cardiac Gene Therapy Pipeline with Acquisition of Stelios Therapeutics

Thursday, July 22, 2021

LEXEO Therapeutics, a fully integrated clinical-stage gene therapy company advancing disease-modifying treatments for genetic conditions, today announced that it has acquired Stelios Therapeutics, an early-stage company developing novel adeno-associated virus (AAV)-mediated gene therapies for rare genetic cardiac conditions. Through the agreement, LEXEO obtains exclusive rights to three preclinical AAV-mediated gene therapy programs focused on TNNI3-associated hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) and arrhythmogenic right ventricular cardiomyopathy (ARVC), two rare cardiac disorders with no approved pharmacological treatments and significant commercial potential. Stelios’ Scientific Co-founder and Professor of Medicine in Cardiology at the University of California San Diego School of Medicine (UC San Diego), Dr. Eric Adler, will assist in cardiovascular research efforts at LEXEO Therapeutics.

The acquisition allows LEXEO to expand its pipeline in rare genetic cardiac diseases with the addition of three novel programs. The transaction provides a unique opportunity to integrate LEXEO and Stelios’ complementary capabilities, including LEXEO’s growing infrastructure in clinical development and chemistry, manufacturing and controls (CMC) with an existing focus on rare cardiac diseases, and Stelios’ robust pre-clinical pipeline and domain expertise in rare genetic cardiac diseases. The Stelios programs complement and broaden LEXEO’s advanced pre-clinical gene therapy pipeline in rare cardiac diseases, which currently includes LX2006, an IV-administered, AAV-mediated gene therapy program for the potential treatment of cardiomyopathy associated with Friedreich’s ataxia (FA).

“While we are in the early stages of applying the potential of AAV gene therapy to rare cardiac diseases, the possible therapeutic benefits across a broad number of previously untreated and currently underdiagnosed cardiac diseases are immense,” said R. Nolan Townsend, Chief Executive Officer of LEXEO Therapeutics. “LEXEO and Stelios share the same commitment to advancing therapies for patients with rare cardiac diseases. The combined company will establish a leading position in the field of AAV cardiac gene therapy, enabled by a strong scientific footprint and a significantly enhanced pipeline, with the potential to move multiple programs into the clinic in the coming years to address substantial patients’ needs in various indications.”

Dr. Adler commented, “Despite recent medical advancements in the rare cardiovascular field, many rare cardiac diseases remain underdiagnosed and undertreated. There is an urgent need for disease-modifying solutions to address conditions such as TNNI3-associated HCM.”

Dr. Farah Sheikh, Co-founder of Stelios Therapeutics and Professor of Medicine in Cardiology at the University of California San Diego School of Medicine, with a primary research focus on translational efforts with ARVC, commented, “There are limited efforts in addressing the needs of ARVC patients. We are committed to making these patients a priority and excited to bring a therapy to the forefront.”       

The transaction was approved by the Board of Directors of both companies and closed immediately. Financial terms of the transaction are undisclosed.

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