Investment Helping Alachua-Based Firm Bring Gene Therapy to Market

An Alachua-based company that’s developing potential cures for rare diseases has secured $37.5 million in new venture capital funding.

Applied Genetic Technologies Corp. will use the infusion of money to move its gene therapy to market, possibly within four years, President and CEO Sue Washer says.

The new funding brings the company’s funding to $88 million, including previous investments of $45 million and $5.5 million in grants.

Such high investments are common for “orphan” diseases, such as the one AGTC is tackling, but the potential payoff is work the cost, Washer says. “The things that we’re working on are really going to help people,” she says.

Patients already are benefitting from clinical trials of AGTC’s gene therapies.

They include a product that treats an inherited lung disease, and another treats an inherited retinal disease affecting young children. AGTC also is developing a product that treats age-related macular degeneration.

University of Florida researcher Nick Muzyczka led a team that founded AGTC in 1999. The team formed the company to commercialize its discovery of a virus that delivers healthy copies of genes to replace defective copies.

AGTC has seven employees, and it expects to add eight more within a year, Washer says.

The company started in the UF Sid Martin Biotechnology Incubator in Alachua and remains in the Progress Corporate Park.

 

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