New Company Specializing in Stem Cell Platform for MS and Other Ills Raises $48.5M

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by Patricia Silva, PhD |

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Magenta Therapeutics has completed its first round of financing, raising $48.5 million to develop ways of bringing bone marrow stem cell transplants to more patients with autoimmune diseases, such as multiple sclerosis (MS), among other illnesses.

The new company aims to develop the first complete platform that can overcome the challenges in stem cell transplants, taking a patient-focused approach, it announced in a press release.

By improving the preparation of patients using antibodies, as well as making the gathering and expansion of stem cells more efficient, the company hopes to change the entire approach to transplant use, so that the therapy is more widely applicable. In addition to autoimmune diseases, the company is also focusing on treating people with genetic blood disorders and cancer.

“Technical and scientific hurdles have relegated stem cell transplantation to a last resort for deadly diseases today, but new science is ready to be advanced to the clinic that could fundamentally open up this powerful medicine to patients suffering from earlier stage cancers, blood disorders and a large set of aggressive autoimmune diseases, including multiple sclerosis and scleroderma,” Jason Gardner, chief executive officer, president, and co-founder of Magenta Therapeutics, said in the release.

Magenta was founded by specialists in stem cell medicine at institutions such as Harvard University, Massachusetts General Hospital, and Stanford University. A license agreement with Harvard University gives the company access to a collection of stem cell technologies developed at Harvard, Massachusetts General Hospital and Boston Children’s Hospital.

“Stem cell transplants are curative. With new gene therapy and gene editing technologies and emerging clinical experience in autoimmune diseases, more patients with more diseases can be helped or cured,” said David Scadden, chief scientific advisor, chair of the scientific advisory board and a Magenta cofounder.

“We think we can make stem cell transplants safer and more efficient and change the conversation with patients from risk-focused to benefit-focused. Our goal is to make transplantation a desired early option for people with many blood and immune disorders,” Scadden said.

The Series A financing round was completed with the help of Third Rock Ventures and Atlas Venture, with the participation of a number of smaller contributors.

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