Penn spinout Capstan Therapeutics unites a world-class team of Penn Medicine faculty with decades of combined experience in medical research including the development of groundbreaking chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) therapies and mRNA technology. Capstan’s modular platform will leverage the biological and technological expertise of these founding scientists and includes proprietary targeted lipid nanoparticles (tLNP) technology, a suite of targeting moieties to mediate cell type-specific uptake, and disease-specific mRNA payloads aimed at directly engineering or ablating pathogenic cells through in vivo generated CAR T cells. Capstan’s scientific founders include Carl June, M.D., Bruce Levine, Ph.D. Drew Weissman, M.D., Ph.D., Hamideh Parhiz, PharmD, Ph.D., Steven Albelda, M.D., Ellen Pure, A.B., Ph.D., Jon Epstein, M.D., and Haig Aghajanian, Ph.D.
PCI supported the formation of Capstan, including implementing licenses with the company for certain Penn patent rights which helped the company raise $165 million in combined seed and Series A funding. Participants in the company funding rounds to date include leading biopharmaceutical companies, including Pfizer Ventures, Leaps by Bayer, Novartis Venture Fund, Eli Lilly and Company and Bristol Myers Squibb, as well as top life sciences investors including OrbiMed, RA Capital, Vida Ventures, Polaris Partners, and Alexandria Venture Investments.