Frequency Therapeutics said today that it closed a $32 million Series A round, led by CoBro Ventures. Morningside Ventures, Emigrant Capital Corp., Korean Investment Partnership, Alexandria Real Estate Equities and other groups also invested in the round.
The company has developed a proprietary combination of small molecule drugs that they plan to inject in the ear, stimulating the regrowth of sensory hair cells to treat chronic noise-induced hearing loss.
The team has figured out how to activate progenitor cells – mature stem cells that can proliferate into different types of cells – in an attempt to recover hearing.
The company plans to use a clinically-established injection into the middle ear of a slow-release gel, in a 3-minute office procedure that’s been used for years to administer drugs to treat ear infections.
“Bob Langer and Jeff Karp’s vision is to gain much of the same effect as gene therapy and CRISPR by using small molecules, which we believe are safer and allow for easier delivery. Our data is very compelling and we are excited to be moving to the clinic in the next 12 to 18 months,” chairman Marc Cohen said in prepared remarks. “Hearing loss is not just a symptom of aging, but an indication that affects a significant percentage of the world’s population in people of all ages. The U.S. loses on average $56 billion in annual productivity due to the complications associated with chronic noise-induced hearing loss alone.”
“With no effective therapy available, this presents an enormous market opportunity and we believe there is even broader potential in indications beyond hearing loss with the further development of the PCA platform. Frequency is building a next-generation regenerative medicine company with a truly breakthrough approach designed to awaken the body’s innate ability to restore function to damaged or diseased tissues,” co-founder, president & CEO David Lucchino added.
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