WOBURN, MASSACHUSSETTS — Frequency Therapeutics, a biotech firm developing drugs to re-create sensory cells in the inner ear, announced that it had closed a $32 million Series A investment, led by CoBro Ventures. Other investors include Morningside Ventures, Emigrant Capital and Alexandria Real Estate Equities.
Founded in 2015, Frequency’s approach is based on discoveries of MIT professor Bob Langer and Harvard Medical School professor Jeff Karp. The company’s lead drug is designed to reverse loss of sensory cells in patients with chronic, noise-induced hearing loss, by stimulating re-growth of inner ear hair cells.
“There is no therapy right now for restoring hearing in humans. The opportunity in this space is very substantial.” –David Lucchino, Frequency co-founder and CEO
The company’s approach to treating hearing loss is to use “progenitor cell activation” (PCA) therapy, which is said to temporarily activate cellular regeneration at specific sites in the body.
The therapy currently under development uses a proprietary combination of the company’s small-molecule drugs to cause inner ear progenitor cells to multiply and create new hair cells. Using currently established procedures for intratympanic injections, the small molecules will be injected in a slow release gel into the middle ear, where it will then cross the round window membrane and enter the cochlea.
The company hopes to begin human clinical trials within the next 18 months.
Beyond Hearing Loss Drug Treatment
While hearing loss is their first target, the company envisions a much bigger future, with PCA being the platform to treat many other types of diseases and conditions. Frequency CEO, David Lucchino, said the company really considers itself a “regenerative medicine 2.0 company”.