Capsida Biotherapeutics, a biotechnology startup based in Thousand Oaks, announced April 29 that it is emerging from “stealth mode” with a $140 million funding round led by Westlake Village BioPartners and Versant Ventures.
The Series A round includes $50 million from Westlake Village BioPartners, a venture capital firm in Thousand Oaks focused on biotech startups in the Conejo Valley, and Versant, a San Francisco firm.
In a news release announcing the funding, Capsida said it is pursuing tissue-targeted gene therapies for multiple types of diseases, using an adeno-associated virus (AAV) engineering and cargo development platform.
“Capsida is another example of the growing biotech hub in the greater Los Angeles area,” Beth Seidenberg, founding managing director at Westlake Village BioPartners and a Capsida board member, said in the news release. “Westlake Village BioPartners is proud to be catalyzing this growth.”
Capsida’s funding round is the biggest Westlake Village BioPartners has participated in since the venture capital firm launched a new $430 million fund in December to support 12 new biotech companies.
In addition to the $50 million in funding from the two venture firms, Capsida also announced a multi-year collaboration and option agreement with AbbVie, a publicly traded biotech company headquartered in Illinois. AbbVie will provide $90 million in cash and equity investment capital in addition to potential future option, development and commercial milestone payments.
According to the news release, $80 million is upfront cash while $10 million is in equity investment capital.
The collaboration is aimed at developing targeted gene therapies for three programs in serious neurodegenerative diseases. Capsida will be using its AAV platform to identify clinically translatable capsids paired with a therapeutic approach from AbbVie to create tissue-targeted gene therapies for the three disease targets.
For two of the disease targets, Capsida is eligible to receive an extra $530 million in compensation while also possibly receiving up to high single-digit royalty payments on future product sales.
Following AbbVie’s exercise of its options for these programs, AbbVie will be solely responsible for further development and commercialization, according to the release.
For the third disease target, Capsida will have the right to develop through human proof-of-concept, and AbbVie would lead late-stage development and commercialization. The parties would split the costs and profits evenly, with Capsida having the option to co-promote the products in the U.S.