BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS — Biotechnology startup, Akouos, announced that it has raised $7.5 million in seed funding. The company, which was spun out of the Harvard Innovation Labs, is developing novel therapies and delivery systems to prevent hearing loss and restore hearing in genetically defined populations.
According to the company press release, Akouos has also entered into strategic license agreements with Lonza and Massachusetts Eye and Ear for exclusive rights to the Anc-AAV gene therapy platform for all hearing and balance disorders. Anc-AAVs are in silico-designed adeno-associated viral vectors (AAVs), first developed in the laboratory of Dr. Luk H. Vandenberghe, Assistant Professor of Ophthalmology at Harvard Medical School, and Director of the Grousbeck Gene Therapy Center at Massachusetts Eye and Ear.
“Our mission is to make healthy hearing available to all. To this end, we are building the leading inner ear gene therapy company. Our cornerstone partnership with Massachusetts Eye and Ear, the world’s largest hearing research center, and with Lonza, a global leader in viral gene and cell therapy manufacturing, sets a strong foundation for the important work to be done in this emergent field.” –Dr. Manny Simons, Founder and CEO of Akouos
Building upon an existing Anc-AAV partnership between Massachusetts Eye and Ear and Lonza, the agreement with Akouos is designed to accelerate AAV gene therapy development for hearing and balance disorders by bringing further expertise and resources in “hearing science research and development, clinical research, and AAV manufacturing”.