Therorna Completes Series A Financing to Accelerate Pipeline Development and Clinical Transformation of circRNA-based Platform
Therorna Inc., a China-based biotech company specialized in the development of cutting-edge circular RNA (or circRNA) technology-based new vaccines and therapies, announced the completion of a US$42 million Series A financing round. The round was co-led by a well-known industrial investment firm and MSA Capital, with participation from Sherpa Healthcare Partners, 3H Health Investment, and existing investors Quan Capital and Cenova Capital, demonstrating their continuous commitment to supporting Therorna’s growth. With the new funding, Therorna plans to accelerate the build-out of its technology platform and the development of its product pipeline, as well as the clinical trials, regulatory applications, and international collaborations.
Therorna was founded in Beijing in April 2021. The company focuses on leveraging its proprietary circRNA technology platform to develop next-generation vaccines and innovative therapies. The company has established a strong pipeline of novel prophylactic and therapeutic drugs aiming to address high unmet medical needs. When combined with the previously completed angel and pre-A rounds, the company has to date raised over US$60 million.
The scientific founder of Therorna, Professor 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.”
Therorna Chief Executive Officer, Dr. Daniel Tang commented, “I am very grateful for the support of our new and existing investors in this financing round. The successful completion of this round will play a key role in helping Therorna accelerate the development of a new broad-spectrum COVID-19 vaccine and the discovery of additional novel therapies for a variety of diseases. Our team will continue to spare no effort to advance the circRNA platform technology to develop the next-generation of breakthrough therapies and quickly deliver meaningful social benefits.”
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 Dr. Changzu Cai said, “mRNA drugs have achieved notable success in the application of COVID-19 vaccines, but challenges in terms of side effects remain to be addressed. Linear RNA is easily degraded and its application beyond vaccines is still under exploration. 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. The team led by Professor Wei is leveraging their experience in applying circRNA as a gene editing tool to support the development of the circRNA expression tool. The proprietary circularization method developed by Therorna has demonstrated its advantages in terms of dosage, and activation of cellular immunity by being first applied in COVID-19 vaccines. We are pleased to continue supporting the efforts of Wei Lab in converting innovations into benefits for patients and communities, while looking forward to transforming Therorna into a platform-based circRNA technology-focused company with an international presence.”
3H Health partner Dr. Minchuan Wang said, “circRNA has better stability and long-lasting expression with a potential for creating a new RNA therapy platform. The combination of Professor Wei’s team with strong technical expertise in circRNA and the management team established at an earlier stage of the company with members having rich experience in promoting the adoption of new technologies will help accelerate the clinical transformation of circRNA. We are honored to support Therorna in this financing round, and we will work with the company’s team, and their new and existing investors, to help the company assume a leadership role in the realm of circRNA, providing patients with pioneering therapies and addressing unmet clinical needs.”
Exclusive financial advisor for this transaction and CEC Capital Managing Director, Echo Zhang commented, “circRNA has attracted widespread attention as an emerging technology for RNA drugs. Therorna is expected to take the lead in advancing the technology into clinical applications. We are honored to help Therorna complete this round of financing, and we believe that Therorna will lead the development of the global circRNA sector.”