Renovacor, Inc., a Company Formed to Commercialize Technology Developed at the Lewis Katz School of Medicine at Temple University, Announces Merger Agreement with Chardan Healthcare Acquisition 2 Corp.
Renovacor, Inc. an early-stage biotechnology company founded by Arthur M. Feldman, MD, PhD, a Laura H. Carnell Professor of Medicine and Professor in the Center for Translational Medicine at the Lewis Katz School of Medicine at Temple University, and Chardan Healthcare Acquisition 2 Corp. (NYSE: CHAQ) (CHAQ), a special purpose acquisition company, sponsored by affiliates of Chardan Capital Markets, announced that they have entered into a definitive business combination agreement. Upon closing of the transaction, CHAQ will be renamed Renovacor, Inc.
Renovacor is developing adeno-associated virus (AAV)-based gene therapies for devastating cardiovascular and central nervous system (CNS) diseases resulting from BAG3 gene dysfunction. The company’s lead program is an AAV-based gene therapy targeting BAG3-associated dilated cardiomyopathy (BAG3 DCM), a disease with an average age onset of 38 years and less than 50% survival 5 years after disease onset. The foundational understanding of BAG3 mutations and the company’s gene therapy product are based on 10 years of Dr. Feldman’s research.
Dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) is a condition affecting more than 3 million patients in the US and growing steadily. Many patients develop DCM due to ischemic heart disease. Recently subpopulations have been identified that develop DCM due to mutations in specific genes that have been shown to result in the development of DCM. One of these specific genes is the BAG3 gene. Patients with BAG3 DCM are typically younger and progress to end stage heart failure sooner than patients with ischemic heart disease. Currently DCM patients with a BAG3 mutation are treated with standard of care for heart failure. Development of a BAG3 gene replacement therapy for patients with DCM that carry BAG3 mutations could potentially prevent progression of disease in this otherwise healthy population of young adults.
“If the AAV-based approach works the same in subjects as it has in mice created to mimic human biology, this therapy could dramatically change the lives of tens of thousands of people in the United States and across Europe who suffer from BAG3 DCM,” said Dr. Feldman.