Gene therapy developer Orchard Therapeutics raises $110 million: Reuters

Orchard Therapeutics said on Wednesday it raised $110 million in the second round of funding as the drug developer looks to launch its gene therapy to treat a rare inherited disorder and beef up manufacturing facilities.

The London-based company’s lead drug to treat adenosine deaminase severe combined immunodeficiency (ADA-SCID), OTL-101, aims to fix the disease-causing gene by infusing patients’ own stem cells in their bodies.

The drug is in the late-stage of development, with data expected in the second half of 2018.
Orchard is planning to file a marketing application with the U.S. health regulator before the end of next year, Chief Executive Mark Rothera told Reuters, adding that he expects the drug to be launched in the United States and Europe in 2019.

After several high profile failures in the late 1990s and early 2000s, gene therapy is gaining momentum with the FDA recently updating guidance to help speed up development of such treatments.

On Tuesday, the health agency approved Spark Therapeutics Inc’s treatment for a rare form of blindness, marking the first time the agency has approved a gene therapy for an inherited disease.

ADA-SCID is an inherited disorder that damages the immune system’s ability to fight disease-causing bacteria, viruses and fungi.

Orchard said the current round of funding was led by asset manager Baillie Gifford and venture capital fund ORI Capital. Investment firms Temasek and Cowen Healthcare were among the other big investors.

The company has also appointed ORI Capital’s senior partner, Simone Song, to its board.
Rothera said the company would revisit its funding needs next year. “This could include going public,” he said, adding that the company is yet to decide on this.