UF Innovate | Sid Martin Biotech, the leading biotechnology incubator at the University of Florida, announced recently that resident company Lacerta Therapeutics, Inc., has closed on a $30 million investment round. Lacerta is a clinical-stage gene therapy company using a constellation of proprietary adeno-associated virus (AAV) vector technologies to develop treatments for central nervous system and lysosomal storage diseases.
Sarepta Therapeutics (NASDAQ: SRPT), a commercial-stage biopharmaceutical company focused on the discovery and development of precision genetic medicine, has made a $30 million equity investment in Lacerta Therapeutics, gaining rights to multiple CNS-targeted gene therapy programs. Lacerta will use the new funding to advance the company’s clinical pipeline.
Joseph Reddy, Ph.D., President and Chief Executive Oﬃcer, Lacerta Therapeutics, said, “This investment is further validation of our technologies and business model. It has also been facilitated by being a resident company at Sid Martin Biotech. I joined the company a little over a year ago and immediately decided to establish laboratory operations at Sid Martin. Unquestionably, without the support of the incubator’s staﬀ and startup programs, closing this investment round would have been more diﬃcult to accomplish in such a short time frame.”
Kenneth Warrington, Ph.D., Chief Technology Oﬃcer, Lacerta Therapeutics, added, “The investment round is another example of how the entrepreneurial spirited environment, staﬀ and facilities at Sid Martin have helped with our fundraising. Our residency here supported a previously awarded $2.3M Fast-track Phase I&II STTR from the National Cancer Institute.”
“We are here to assist companies in growing their bioscience enterprise, whether it’s therapeutic, diagnostics, medical device, ag-bio, clean energy and/or biopharma. We’ve been making growth happen in North Central Florida for over 23 years and are proud to be a part of this exciting Lacerta news,” states Merrie Shaw, Assistant Director of UF Innovate Sid Martin.
“Lacerta is a progressive gene therapy platform company formed from UF technology, and this partnership demonstrates the tremendous potential of companies housed at the UF Innovate | Sid Martin Biotech Incubator,” said Mark S. Long, Director of Incubation Services at the University of Florida. “Our resident clients are leaders in their industries and are sought after as solid investment candidates.”