Biotechnology company Replay has launched another spinout built around its gene therapy technology, revealing Monday a new startup focused on rare skin diseases.
Called Telaria, the startup is the second of five planned spinouts from what Replay describes as a “hub-and-spoke” model for sharing technology across multiple companies working on different diseases. In October, Replay debuted Eudora, which will focus on diseases of the eye.
Like Eudora, Telaria will use Replay’s herpes simplex viral vector to develop gene therapies. But its focus will be on a genetic skin disorder called recessive dystrophic epidermolysis bullosa, which causes fragile skin and leads to severe blistering and open wounds. There is currently no approved treatment.
Other biotech companies have worked on epidermolysis bullosa treatments in the past. Amicus Therapeutics was developing a drug, but discontinued research after negative results in a Phase 3 study. More recently, Abeona Therapeutics announced plans to submit its cell therapy to the Food and Drug Administration following the treatment’s success in a small clinical trial.
Krystal Biotech is furthest along, though, and is currently awaiting an FDA decision on approval of its gene therapy for dystrophic epidermolysis bullosa.
According to a Replay spokesperson, Telaria expects to begin clinical testing within two and a half years.
The HSV vector Teleria will use as its gene therapy’s chassis was developed by Joe Glorioso, a University of Pittsburgh professor who is also a co-founder of Telaria. Other co-founders include John McGrath, head of a skin disease research group at St. John’s Institute of Dermatology, and Alexander Silver, chairman and co-founder of the Epidermolysis Bullosa Research Partnership.
Telaria will be managed by Replay’s CEO and executive chairman, Lachlan MacKinnon. While Replay did a not name a separate CEO for Telaria, the spokesperson said its management would be “in line with the distinct corporate structure that Replay has established, which separates technology development from product development.”