Fate Therapeutics is acquiring Verio Therapeutics a privately held biotechnology company based in Ottawa, Ontario, which is developing drug candidates targeting the activation of endogenous stem cells. Fate Therapeutics has formed a Canadian subsidiary, which will continue Verio’s discovery and development operations in Ottawa.
Founded in 2008, Verio Therapeutics has multiple biologics in its preclinical pipeline, including candidates for promoting the growth of new insulin-producing beta cells to treat diabetes and for regenerating cardiomyocytes following heart attack to treat severe cardiac dysfunction.
“We have admired Fate’s stem cell biology expertise, proprietary induced pluripotent stem cell technology platform, and its unique pharmacologic approach to stem cell medicine, which is complementary to Verio’s,” says Frank Gleeson, CEO of Verio Therapeutics. “Joining forces with Fate not only unites the top stem cell scientists in North America but, more significantly, creates an ideal opportunity to rapidly advance our therapeutic programs into advanced preclinical and clinical testing for the treatment of major medical conditions such as sarcopenia, diabetes, and heart disease.”
Verio Therapeutics is advancing the work of its founders, Michael Rudnicki, Ph.D., and Lynn Arthur Megeney, Ph.D., who have made discoveries relating to muscle and pancreatic regeneration. Their laboratories have made discoveries in the understanding of tissue regeneration, including the pivotal role of Wnt7a in stimulating muscle stem cell growth and caspase-3 in the differentiation of skeletal myoblasts.
Fate Therapeutics is combining expertise in adult stem cell biology with iPSC technology to re-create adult stem cell niche environments for the discovery of stem cell modulators. The company says that its iPSC platform incorporates the most advanced viral, small molecule, and protein reprogramming methods and offers a highly efficient, minimally invasive system to recapitulate human physiology for commercial-scale drug discovery and therapeutic use.
The firm is currently conducting a Phase Ib trial with its lead stem cell modulator, FT1050, a small molecule drug that is administered during the normal course of a dual umbilical cord blood transplant and is designed to enhance hematopoietic stem cell proliferation and homing.
“We are excited to add Verio’s biologics capabilities and preclinical programs to complement Fate’s rapidly progressing pipeline of stem cell modulators,” says Scott Wolchko, CFO of Fate Therapeutics. “With our strong balance sheet, experienced management team, robust technology platform, and emerging pipeline of small molecules and biologics, we believe Fate Therapeutics is well positioned to partner with pharmaceutical companies seeking to intervene in adult stem cell biology for regenerative medicine.”