Its vision restoration technology featured in Nature and New England Journal of Medicine;
CiRC is Paragon’s 7th portfolio company, with more in development
Chicago, February 2, 2021 – Paragon Biosciences, a life science innovator that creates, invests in and builds life science companies in biopharmaceuticals, cell and gene therapy and synthetic biology utilizing artificial intelligence, today announced the launch of CiRC Biosciences, a cell therapy company developing treatments for serious diseases with high, unmet needs with an initial focus on the eye.
“The addition of CiRC Biosciences to our portfolio builds upon our cell and gene therapy platform, an area that has tremendous potential to address serious genetic diseases,” said Jeff Aronin, founder, chairman and chief executive officer of Paragon Biosciences. “CiRC Biosciences gives us the science to target retinal diseases that could lead to vision restoration with numerous other applications in the years ahead.”
CiRC Biosciences is currently advancing pre-clinical development of chemically induced retinal cells for vision restoration in Geographic Atrophy Age-Related Macular Degeneration (Dry AMD), which is the most common cause of irreversible vision loss over the age of 65, and advanced Retinitis Pigmentosa (RP), a genetic disorder that causes tunnel vision and eventual blindness. There are no U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) approved treatments to restore vision loss in Dry AMD or RP.
The company’s novel mechanism of action is designed for direct chemical conversion of fibroblasts into other cell types using a cocktail of small molecules in an 11-day chemical conversion process. Pre-clinical studies have shown efficacy in blind mice that demonstrated vision restoration. CiRC Biosciences has provisional patent applications to protect its platform.
“Our technology transforms ordinary skin cells into specialized retinal cells using a cocktail of small molecules,” said Sai Chavala, M.D., co-founder and chief scientific officer of CiRC Biosciences. “This process is potentially safer, quicker, more cost effective and easier to manufacturer than using traditional stem cells. Working with Paragon Biosciences to build and advance CiRC Biosciences provides us the opportunity to efficiently progress this technology through research and development stages.”
CiRC Biosciences first reported its discovery in the highly respected scientific journal Nature (April 15, 2020). A recently published New England Journal of Medicine article (Nov. 5, 2020) discussed CiRC’s technology of using chemically induced cells to restore retinal function. The article concluded, “The new and emerging strategies for the rescue, regeneration, and replacement of photoreceptors suggest a bright future in the fight to preserve and restore vision in blinding eye diseases.”
The abstract in Nature is available here: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41586-020-2201-4
Access to the NEJM article is available here: https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMcibr2027602
About CiRC Biosciences
CiRC Biosciences is a privately held cell therapy company dedicated to developing treatments for serious diseases with high, unmet needs with an initial focus on the eye. Currently it is pre-clinical phase for Geographic Atrophy Age-Related Macular Degeneration (Dry AMD) and advanced Retinitis Pigmentosa (RP). CiRC Biosciences is a portfolio company of Paragon Biosciences. Visit our website: https://circbiosciences.com/.
About Paragon Biosciences
Paragon is a life science innovator that creates, invests in and builds life science companies in biopharmaceuticals, cell and gene therapy and synthetic biology utilizing artificial intelligence. The company’s current portfolio includes Castle Creek Biosciences, CiRC Biosciences, Emalex Biosciences, Evozyne, Harmony Biosciences, Qlarity Imaging, Skyline Biosciences, and a consistent flow of incubating companies created and supported by the replicable Paragon Innovation Capital™ model. Paragon stands at the intersection of human need, life science, and company creation. For more information, please visit https://paragonbiosci.com/.
Evelyn M. O’Connor