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Biogen Helps Put $42.5M Into a Father’s Duchenne Gene Therapy Quest

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his kids to school (he has three children), and did “what I think a lot of parents do when these things happen, which is to try to figure out what’s going on.” He researched, met with key players in the Duchenne field, and decided to start a company entirely focused on Duchenne treatments. Though he left J.P. Morgan to do it, his former employer led a $17 million Series A round for Solid.

“The plan was to go and get the best expertise you could have in just one problem and figure out how to solve it,” he says. “Unlike most biotech companies that are driven by a technology, anything goes with us. There’s nothing we don’t care about if it has a chance to affect Duchenne.”

That’s why Ganot has structured Solid as an operating company with subsidiaries. Solid One is in-licensing drugs used for other diseases and trying them out as potential treatments for certain symptoms of Duchenne. It has deals in place with Pfizer and Swiss biotech Debiopharm, for instance, to test out drugs for Duchenne. Ganot won’t divulge many details about the Pfizer drug, but the Debiopharm compound is known as alisporivir, and was once tested by Novartis in more than 1,500 patients as a potential treatment for hepatitis C.

With Solid Suit, meanwhile, Ganot aims to develop a “soft exo suit” that Duchenne patients could wear to help offset their use of muscles. Ganot notes that as Duchenne patients use their muscles over time, they break down. The idea would be for a suit to make, for instance, 1,000 steps feel like 600. “Maybe we can save the other 400 steps for tomorrow,” he says. “This is a battle against time after all.”

Solid GT, however, has attracted the most attention and funding. It started with a $10 million Series A last year that partly came from three non-profit institutions—the Duchenne Research Fund, Duchenne Children’s Trust, and Joining Jack, according to Ganot. Now Biogen and others have jumped in.

“My son is the reason I’m doing this, but I don’t do it just for him,” Ganot says. “At this point I think what we’ve put in place gives us a really good chance to make a major difference for every patient. And that’s really what we’re after.”

Perceptive’s Adam Stone and Biogen’s Lynne Sullivan have joined Solid GT’s board as part of the funding.

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