Kriya Therapeutics Gets $80 Million for Gene Therapy Vs Obesity and Diabetes

Kriya Therapeutics announced today that it has raised $80.5 million in a Series A financing to fund the development of transformative gene therapies for highly prevalent serious diseases. Kriya was formed in the fourth quarter of 2019 and has an industry-leading gene therapy team that includes former senior leadership from Spark Therapeutics, AveXis, Sangamo Therapeutics, and other gene therapy companies. Kriya’s pipeline today includes multiple AAV-based gene therapies for the treatment of type 1 and type 2 diabetes, severe obesity, and other indications.

Series A investors include QVT, Dexcel Pharma, Foresite Capital, Bluebird Ventures (associated with Sutter Hill Ventures), Narya Capital, Amplo, Paul Manning, and Asia Alpha. This Series A round follows an initial seed financing completed by the company in the fourth quarter of 2019 led by Transhuman Capital, who also participated in the Series A round.

Kriya is focused on developing gene therapies for diseases affecting millions of patients, expanding the field of gene therapy beyond rare monogenic disorders. Kriya is targeting diseases where the underlying biology is well-understood, with the goal of rationally designing one-time gene therapies to durably express therapeutic proteins within the appropriate human tissues.

Kriya’s initial pipeline includes multiple AAV-based gene therapies for the treatment of metabolic diseases including type 1 diabetes, type 2 diabetes, and severe obesity:

KT-A112 is an investigational gene therapy administered by intramuscular injection that delivers the genes to produce insulin and glucokinase for type 1 and type 2 diabetes.
KT-A522 is an investigational gene therapy administered by salivary gland injection that delivers the gene to produce a glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP-1) receptor agonist for type 2 diabetes and severe obesity.
KT-A832 is an investigational gene therapy administered by intrapancreatic injection that delivers the gene to produce modified insulin growth factor 1 (IGF-1) for type 1 diabetes.

Kriya Therapeutics wants to unleash the power of gene therapy.

KT-A112 is an intramuscularly delivered gene therapy for the treatment of Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes. The approach involves a one-time codelivery of the genetic material to produce insulin and glucokinase, packaged within an AAV vector and delivered directly to skeletal muscle. In the streptozotocin (STZ) induced diabetic mouse model, treated mice exhibited a dose-dependent improvement in glycemic control throughout the observation period. Furthermore, in an induced diabetic dog model, treated dogs followed for up to 8 years demonstrated dramatic and durable improvements in fasting blood glucose, insulinemia, fructosamine (a marker of blood glycosylated proteins), weight, and responsiveness to bolus glucose administration without the need for treatment with exogenous insulin.

KT-A832 is a gene therapy for the treatment of Type 1 Diabetes, designed for direct intrapancreatic delivery. The approach involves a one-time delivery of the genetic material to produce modified insulin growth factor 1 (IGF-1) packaged within an AAV vector to preserve pancreatic beta cell mass in the face of the autoimmune destruction that occurs in Type 1 Diabetes. In the non-obese diabetic (NOD) mouse model, treated mice demonstrated protection against the development of diabetes, together with preservation of pancreatic beta cell mass and insulin production.

36 thoughts on “Kriya Therapeutics Gets $80 Million for Gene Therapy Vs Obesity and Diabetes”

  1. I suspect that “sit at home all day and mechanical turk on the internet while eating cheap carbs and drinking cheap beer because that’s all you get from the government” may not actually work as an obesity cure.

    Personally I’ve lost about 5 kg this year, but that’s because I’ve been on my bike every day and I lose about 1 g/km. (Pure correlation there, not saying that’s a rule or anything.)

    But I live in a place with less than ridiculous rules, and I’m an “essential, on-site, worker” so providing I don’t use public transport I’m not restricted in any significant way.

  2. I understand they’re working now on implementing a “destroy the food chain and economy” solution that shows some promise along those lines.

  3. Why the heck would I want to find a different wife? I’m happily married, have been for 14 years.

    Not to mention why I’d want to settle for an American wife, when I could be married to a filipina. That would just be irrational.

  4. Fortunately, there is a great big pile of gold for whomever makes a “cures obesity” pill.
    So unlike many complicated illnesses, there really is money and effort poured into this area.

  5. I don’t think we can strictly rule out non-biological causes.
    The rise in obesity does correlate with a whole bunch of changes in lifestyle and food supply/type/preferences, and does so over different time periods in different countries.
    And as usual with messy socio-medical issues, we can always be looking at multiple, interacting causes.
    eg. (Purely as a thought exercise) intestinal bacteria that grow best in obese people might release hormones that promote obesity. Increased food leads to some obesity which promotes said bacteria. Increased bacteria alters hormonal balance which increases setpoints which increases obesity. People eating to their new setpoint causes increased sales of junk food (both classic McDonalds type and “hidden” junk such as breakfast cereals and caramel mocha lattes) which causes the rise of industrial groups which promote said food. Said industrial promotion and individual ego maintenance alters culture to include concepts like “comfort food” and “self care” . Increased numbers of obese people lead to political pressure for “fat acceptance” as well as physical changes like more elevators, more escalators, mobility carts… It’s all a self accelerating, self promoting complex of interacting factors.

  6. If millions of people have tried to solve a problem for several decades and the majority have failed, then the most likely situation is that it is not an easy problem to solve.

    An individual can solve their own problem. A health official or doctor or someone who is trying to solve the problem on a wider scale can’t.

    We aren’t allowed to lock people up and force them into heavy labour on a cup of rice gruel per day, so there isn’t a known solution yet that will fly in a modern democracy

  7. I get the impression you really don’t understand squat about weight regulation. It’s not magic, it can’t keep your weight up if you’re forced to burn more calories than you take in.

    You’re right, I’m overweight, by about 50 lbs. Accumulated over the course of approximately 45 years. That means that, over a long period of time, I’ve taken in approximately 10 more calories per day than I’ve burned.

    That’s one sugar cube a day of excess eating. A shortfall of 2 minutes of walking. So, you’re charging me with this tiny bit of sloth and gluttony? Which I’ve somehow maintained in an exquisite balance for decades? How stupid!

    Weight is regulated by your body, to hit a setpoint. Departing from that setpoint requires a continual effort of willpower and attention. It’s not enough to eat less, your body will automatically incline you to exercise less, too, if you do that. Or if you’re skinny and trying to put on weight, (My wife!) just forcing yourself to eat when you’re full won’t cut it, you’ll find yourself more active without even intending it, and burn the excess calories. You’ll fidget way that donut you forced yourself to eat.

    People are overweight because their setpoints have shifted. Yes, by unfailing exercise of will power they can force their weight away from what it “wants” to be, but the moment they relax, back they’ll go

    Gluttony and sloth don’t explain a whole population overweight. Something biological explains gluttony and sloth!

  8. Unfortunately, to even prove these viruses cause obesity, you have to cure the infection (It would be an ethics violation to intentional infect people just to see if people will get fat). But to justify the cost of developing a cure, they want to be sure it is the cause. That makes things move very slowly. This is why we need antivirals that are powerful yet general in nature…that can eliminate a wide variety of viruses. I believe there are a lot of conditions we currently blame on lifestyle, psychological weakness or genetics that are caused by viruses. I think non-provoked depression (what I mean by that is something tragic did not precipitate the condition), teen suicide, anorexia, pica, schizophrenia, sleep apnea and extreme shyness, as none of these make sense genetically. There is simply no selective advantage to any of these conditions. That is not to say there is no genetic susceptibility, or even that things have to be genes or pathogens. Toxins, molestation, head trauma, bad influences, atrocious parenting, nutritional deficiencies are all in play. I just think pathogens are just especally underinvestigated, and responsible for more than we recognize.

  9. Obesity is such a easy problem to solve, instead of prescribing medicine just eating better food and exercising would be fine, the only thing is that people are unconscious about healthy habits

  10. For $80 million I could have just pimped out my drill sergeants. Our average weight loss in basic/OSUT was 30 lbs.

  11. Great link. That’s a fascinating paper about the causes and possibility of a vaccine for obesity. If correct, it could explain the differences in people’s ability to loose weight by diet and exercise.

  12. The problem with claiming that it’s “just” a consequence of bad dietary habits, is that increasing obesity has been seen in lab animals on controlled diets, and in animals in the wild, too. So it really does look like it’s at least in part being driven by some communicable factor, or environmental contamination. Maybe hormone mimetics in the environment due to the widespread use of birth control pills. Or perhaps some change in gut bacteria gradually spreading through the population.

  13. It has been considered a “disease” for about 7 years in the US
    Though it is true that a doctor is unlikely to put that on a death certificate.
    And even if you only count conditions caused by pathogens, in your world view…pathogens do cause obesity…just not every case. Adenoviruses 5, 36 and 37 very likely cause obesity. “The human adenoviruses Adv5 and Adv37 increase the adiposity in animals, while other human adenoviruses like Adv2 and Adv31 are not adipogenic [30,31]. Adv36 is adipogenic in animals [30,32,33,34] and reduces significantly the concentrations of cholesterol and triglycerides compared to uninfected controls. Longitudinal studies in monkeys [33] showed a 15%–30% increase of body weight”

  14. Technically. But he is only going to be good at one sport. And don’t confuse that with being fit. Sumos are not healthy people. “Sumo wrestlers have a life expectancy between 60 and 65”
    Life expectancy is 81.25 years for the average Japanese man.
    And I would rather see a picture of a sumo than some morbidly obese person getting sunburned at the beach, like is usually shown. Or blubber dangling out of someone’s clothes as they lumber down the sidewalk…the other common shot.

  15. The article points that out, so no reason not to trust them. 53 to 40 seems like a fairly substantial decline to me. Especially as one would expect it to climb rather than descend. I think that kills the soda hypotheses I hear left and right.
    Also, this is a business article. Every stock graph you have ever seen does this…unless you are truly buying a penny stock. It is not a red flag it is the language, the convention. It is actually more usual that they bothered to mention it.
    They do this so you can see the movement in the curve more clearly.

  16. Genes don’t change that quickly, but gene expression changes faster. You should look into epigenetics.

  17. “Genes don’t change like that”

    No, but official standards for declaring people obese do. They changed the BMI guidelines in 1998.

  18. Most sumo wrestlers have been found to have mostly brown fat which is actually pretty health as its more a massive sink of energy. Those guys are fucking strong as shit and probably eat healthier than most people period.

  19. Soda chart has fake Y axis with the lower 2/3 cut off.
    Not technically a lie as such, but I don’t trust anything they say.

  20. Beyond the dogma guidelines of what should be evaluated. Rather than an observation of a single, directly observed effect, based on an already established as proper to be observed, the assumption here is that our original environment with all or some of its charted uncharted and unchartable elements should be the first to consider in balancing and healing us.

  21. Just because a genetic modification might help with obesity, it does not mean our obesity epidemic is caused by genes. In 1997 the obesity rate in the US was 19.4%. In 2018 it was 31.3%. Genes don’t change like that.
    Sodas!! You say. Nope. 53 gallons per capita in 1997. 2015 about 40 gallons:
    I have said it over and over, but the desire to blame fat people is abundantly evident and I get voted down every time…but the evidence is there.
    There are two causes: 1. Adenovirues 5, 36 and 37 which stimulate fat cells to divide, multiplying hunger signals. This has been demonstrated in lab animals, and the fraction of US population and the world with these latent viral infections has also grown dramatically. 2. lead exposure has weakened self control of those exposed when young. For the US, that is city dwellers 24 and up.
    I am not saying those who were exposed to lead and have these infections can’t or shouldn’t fight the battle of the bulge, just that there is both an explanation and an opportunity to address causes. I believe we can develop vaccines and cures for these Adeovirues. And we can and should step up efforts to rid our civilization of lead…so future generations are not similarly damaged. Simulators or targeted stimulants also might be able to awaken the damaged brain areas.

  22. I think targeting obesity is a must. I’ve had several friends throughout my life who have become diabetic after crossing the obesity mark. One of them was able to actually reverse it by losing a TON of weight very quickly, and he hasn’t looked back, since. So there is that. But any drug that could healthy target obesity would be great.

    Now, if I could get gene therapy for allergies and chronic bronchitis…

  23. Obesity is not “Well understood” drug and genetically wise. I suspect that eating your vegetables, intermittent fasting and barefoot walking is and may always be the best option.

  24. Remarkable development if it pans out.

    Diabetes, obesity and its other complications are so prevalent in current human populations, that they may have been targeted as an evolutionary advantage by the novel SARS-COV-2 virus. Explaining the unusually high ratio of complications among people with these comorbidities.

    Besides the old age population, of course, which also tend to be more numerous nowadays and more susceptible to obesity related metabolic diseases.

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