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Samsung Life Science Fund invests in US gene therapy firm

By Shim Woo-hyun

Published : May 3, 2024 - 15:59

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Samsung logo (Yonhap) Samsung logo (Yonhap)

Samsung Life Science Fund, an investment fund created by Samsung affiliates, will invest in Latus Bio, a US gene therapy development company, according to Samsung Bioepis on Friday.

It is the sixth investment made by the fund between Samsung Biologics, Samsung C&T and Samsung Bioepis, to explore new business opportunities in the biotechnology sector. The exact amount of investment has not been disclosed.

Latus Bio is a US biotech that develops novel gene therapy candidates for disorders of the central nervous system (CNS) using proprietary technologies. Such technologies are used to identify and engineer novel adeno-associated virus (AAV) capsid variants, which allow more efficient delivery of therapeutic genes to target tissues.

AAV-mediated gene therapy has held promise for the treatment of genetically-defined CNS disorders. However, it has been limited by its inability to transduce specific CNS substructures and cell types with specificity.

Latus Bio’s AAV capsids, however, demonstrated the potential to overcome challenges to treat CNS disorders in their non-human primates preclinical models, according to Samsung Bioepis.

“Finding AAV capsids with target cell specificity is the most important task (in developing gene therapies for CNS disorders), and Latus Bio is a company that has specialty and growth potential in the area,” said Cho Ho-sung, Executive Vice President and Head of Early Research and Development of Samsung Bioepis.

Meanwhile, Latus Bio on Thursday announced an initial close of $54 million in Series A financing. The funding round was led by 8VC and DCVC Bio. Samsung Life Science Fund, the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia Foundation, Benjamin Franklin Technology Partners, Modi Ventures, and Gaingels have joined as syndicate partners, the biotech added.

Latus Bio will participate in the 27th annual meeting of the American Society of Gene & Cell Therapy next week to present its business plans for its gene therapy development, according to Samsung Bioepis.