Specific Biologics Announces Additional Investment and Appointment of Experienced Biotechnology Leader Steven Kanner, PhD, to the Board of Directors

October 17, 2023 / Portfolio News

Specific Biologics Inc. (“Specific”), a venture-backed, early-stage genome editing company, is pleased to announce it has appointed Steven Kanner, PhD, as an Independent Director. Dr. Kanner joins Brent Stead, PhD, MBA, as well as seasoned company builders Daniel Hétu, MD, MBA of Lumira Ventures, Nikhil Thatte, B.Eng of Lumira Ventures and Frédéric Lemaître Auger, MSc, PhD, MBA of adMare BioInnovations. The appointment coincides with renewed investment from Lumira Ventures and adMare BioInnovations to advance the preclinical development of therapeutics based on Specific’s proprietary Dualase® platform gene editors.

“We are thrilled to have the renewed commitment from Lumira and adMare and to welcome Dr. Kanner to the Board of Directors,” said Dr. Stead, CEO of Specific Biologics Inc. “He brings decades of experience in executive leadership roles in genome editing and rare disease companies from preclinical research to commercially launched products. He will be an immense asset to Specific as we advance our gene editing technology toward the clinic and, most importantly, bring potentially life-changing therapeutics to patients with serious genetic diseases.”

“This is an exciting time to be joining Specific Biologics as the potential for gene editing technologies to transform the lives of patients is starting to be realized in the clinic,” said Dr. Kanner. “Specific’s differentiated Dualase gene editor has promise to modify a number of disease-causing mutations in vivo that are not easily targeted with today’s gene editors, and I look forward to helping the team implement Dualase’s potential.”

Dr. Kanner serves as Chief Scientific Officer at Caribou Biosciences where he is leading preclinical discovery, technical operations, and translational development of genome-edited cell therapies.  He has held research leadership positions at prominent life sciences organizations, including Bristol-Myers Squibb, Astex Pharmaceuticals, Agensys/Astellas Pharma, and Arrowhead Pharmaceuticals. Prior to joining Caribou Biosciences, Dr. Kanner served as Vice President of Discovery Biology at Arrowhead Pharmaceuticals, where he helped lead the discovery and development of novel RNAi-based therapeutic candidates for oncology and genetic diseases. At Bristol-Myers Squibb, he facilitated a discovery program ultimately leading to the development and launch of Sprycel® (dasatinib), a treatment for chronic myeloid leukemia. Dr. Kanner graduated from the University of California, Berkeley with a B.A. in genetics and earned his Ph.D. in immunology and microbiology from the University of Miami’s Miller School of Medicine. Dr. Kanner completed his postdoctoral fellowship in oncology at the University of Virginia’s Department of Microbiology, Immunology, and Cancer Biology.

Dualase’s unique two-site mechanism of action enables efficient and precise disruption and repair in therapeutic areas that are not easily addressed with existing gene editors. Specific has demonstrated the benefit of this two-site mechanism in externally validated studies in disease-relevant models at a broad and diverse set of genetic mutations where Dualase uniquely addresses the mutation or has a differentiated advantage. The additional investment from Lumira Ventures and adMare BioInnovations will be used to advance preclinical testing of Dualase gene editors in liver, ocular and CNS disorders. In addition, Specific will continue the development of Dualase gene editors for Cystic Fibrosis with preclinical studies supported by the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.

“Our additional investment in Specific demonstrates our belief that Dualase gene editors have a unique advantage at many targets for therapeutic gene editing,” noted Dr. Daniel Hetu, Managing Director at Lumira Ventures. “The efficiency and precision of Dualase edits in disease-relevant cell models generated by third-party researchers support this thesis.”

“adMare is excited to continue to partner with Specific and provide them with the necessary financial, commercial, and scientific resources to advance their preclinical data packages in various therapeutic areas with significant unmet medical needs,” shared Dr. Frédéric Lemaître Auger, Vice President of Investments at adMare BioInnovations. “We look forward to working together to select the most promising clinical applications of the Dualase technology.”

About Specific Biologics Inc.

Specific Biologics Inc. (“Specific”) is a venture-backed early-stage biotechnology company on a mission to develop novel gene editing technologies to treat diseases through efficient and precise gene editing. Our differentiated two-site Dualase® platform gene editors cut DNA in a way that optimally exploits the cell’s naturally occurring DNA repair pathways. This enables two gene editing outcomes, precise DNA deletions to disrupt genes or increased repair to correct genes to target new therapeutic areas for gene editing. Specific also develops lipid nanoparticles to deliver the gene editor to target cells and is developing a pipeline of Dualase®-based therapeutics in areas of high unmet medical need. To learn more, visit www.specificbiologics.com.

About Lumira Ventures

Lumira Ventures is a North American healthcare venture capital firm with decades of experience of investing in and helping to build transformative biomedical companies.  We are a multi-stage investor that partners with mission-driven entrepreneurs and like-minded investors to build innovative healthcare companies.  These companies are harnessing rapidly evolving innovations in genomics, cell therapy, gene therapy, bioengineering, robotics and artificial intelligence to develop high impact, often transformative products for patients while generating exceptional returns for their investors and meaningful economic value to society. To date, Lumira’s companies have brought dozens of biomedical innovations to the market, impacting the lives of patients worldwide. Lumira Ventures manages its activities from offices in Toronto, Montréal, Vancouver and Boston.  For more information, please visit www.lumiraventures.com

About adMare BioInnovations

With a strong track record of globally-competitive scientific discovery, Canadian life sciences are primed to lead the world. To make this a reality, adMare BioInnovations uses its scientific and commercial expertise, specialized R&D infrastructure, and seed capital to build strong life sciences companies, develop robust ecosystems, and foster industry-ready talent. It re-invests its returns into the Canadian industry to ensure its long-term sustainability. adMare currently has 29 portfolio companies that have attracted $2.3 billion of risk capital, have a combined value of $4 billion, and have created over 1,000 jobs in Canada. For more information, please go to www.admarebio.com.

SOURCE Specific Biologics Inc.

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