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May 13, 2021

New gene therapy biotech led by Alexion co-founder raises $40M


A new gene therapy biotech helmed by an Alexion Pharmaceuticals co-founder said it has raised $40 million to develop a pipeline of drugs based on technology it licensed from Yale University. 

Gennao Bio is developing drugs to treat cancer and rare monogenic skeletal muscle diseases using a cell-penetrating gene monoclonal antibody (GMAB)  platform to deliver nucleic acids into cells. 

The newly launched company appointed Stephen Squinto as its CEO and chairman. Squinto co-founded Alexion in New Haven and served as its chief global operations officer before leaving in 2015. 

He most recently served as interim CEO of Passage Bio, a gene therapy biotech based in Philadelphia, and is executive partner at life sciences venture capital firm OrbiMed.

OrbiMed co-led Gennao’s recent funding round with Logos Capital. Surveyor Capital (a Citadel company) is also an investor. 

Yale physician-scientist and genetics professor Dr. Peter Glazer founded the biotech in 2020 with Squinto and Yale School of Medicine genetics researchers Elias Quijano and Dr. Bruce Turner, the same year the company received a research grant from the Blavatnik Fund for Innovation at Yale. 

Glazer is also a co-founder of New Haven oncology biotech Cybrexa Therapeutics

Gennao has yet to determine where it will be headquartered, but Squinto said in an emailed statement that it will continue to partner with Glazer’s lab at Yale to develop the platform regardless of where the company is based.

Squinto said the company plans to use the new capital to accelerate its research and development and expand its team.

“I am thrilled to take on the role of CEO and for the future of Gennao, which is poised to become a leader in genetic medicine,” Squinto said. “GMAB is the only platform technology that can deliver multiple classes of nucleic acids, allowing us to develop targeted, cell-penetrating therapeutics for a wide range of genetic diseases.”

Contact Natalie Missakian at

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