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Maryland Inno: Startups to Watch 2023
January 13, 2023
Vita Therapeutics, a tenant in the UM BioPark, was identified as a Baltimore startup to watch in 2023.
Baltimore is seeing a wave of growth in the cell therapy industry. The state government is ramping up investment as part of an effort to speed up cancer research, more than doubling the budget of the Maryland Stem Cell Research Fund, and a Germantown biotech has created a new subsidiary based in Baltimore that will focus on manufacturing cell therapies. One of the local players who can benefit from the influx of attention is Vita Therapeutics.
Vita is pushing toward a human trial for a drug that helps treat a rare form of muscular dystrophy. The company is coming off a $32 million funding round, led by Cambrian BioPharma and Solve FSHD, a muscular dystrophy research funder led by Lululemon founder Chip Wilson. Muscular dystrophy weakens the muscles of the human body, making everyday tasks difficult. Unlike other treatments for the disease that help with the symptoms of weakening muscles, CEO Douglas Falk, hopes to regenerate human muscle tissue to give patients a chance to complete everyday activities. To develop the new treatment, the company recently moved to a new 10,000-square-foot space at the University of Maryland BioPark.
"Instead of just working towards diminishing symptoms like the majority of treatments, we want to take things a step further and deliver cells that actually replace the function the [diseased] cells should have," Falk said.