Vectalys, a leading biotech company specialized in manufacturing high quality lentiviral solutions for gene delivery, and FlashCell, a company developing non-integrating lentiviral delivered RNA therapeutics, merged to create Flash Therapeutics, a new privately held gene therapy company developing gene and cell therapeutics.
Flash Therapeutics will advance two complementary businesses:
- Development of novel RNA therapeutics based on LentiFlash, a proprietary non-integrative lentiviral delivery technology for incurable diseases;
- Worldwide contract development and manufacturing expertise and support – from discovery through GMP production – for clients developing lentivirally-delivered RNA and DNA therapies.
In connection with the merger, Flash Therapeutics received a €3.3 million investment from Auriga Partners, a leading private equity investor, through its AURIGA IV Bioseed fund; Galia Gestion, a private equity fund based in Bordeaux, France; and two angel investors, Jean-Pierre Arnaud and Alain Sainsot.
LentiFlash technology was developed to deliver RNA into cells with high efficiency for short-term expression without integrating genetic material into the host cells’ genome. Conventional lentiviral vectors deliver DNA that integrates into the target cells’ genome and results in stable expression. LentiFlash has demonstrated great potential to expand the use of lentiviral delivery along with advanced technologies (e.g., gene editing, next generation immunotherapy) that may not be compatible with conventional lentiviral vectors used as therapeutics.
The lentiviral development and production business will continue to operate under the Vectalys manufacturing platform name and will expand as part of Flash Therapeutics to include scalable GMP manufacturing capabilities. The GMP facility, which is expected to become fully operational in 2019, is being established through a recently signed, three-year partnership with Hospital Saint-Louis, Lariboisière, Fernand-Widal (Assistance Public Hospitals of Paris AP-HP) to develop and produce gene and cell therapy drugs. Flash Therapeutics is headquartered in Toulouse, France.