CU prof starts firm fighting heart ailments
Third Rock Ventures LLC in Boston and San Francisco is funding the biomedical company with $38 million. MyoKardia is based in San Francisco.
The company will focus on two genetic heart muscle diseases - hypertrophic cardiomyopathy and dilated cardiomyopathy - which affect a total of about 1 million people in the United States. Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy is best known as a leading cause of sudden cardiac death in young athletes. Dilated cardiomyopathy produces enlargement of the heart chambers and weakening of the heart walls.
"This is personalized medicine at its best," said Leinwand, a professor in CU-Boulder's Department of Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology and chief scientific officer of CU-Boulder's BioFrontiers Institute.
"These therapies will address the actual causes of the disease instead of its symptoms," Leinwand said.
MyoKardia's genetically targeted approach has the potential to revolutionize the treatment of cardiomyopathies, according to a company press statement. In the future, the research could be used to address heart failure as well.
In addition to Leinwand, company co-founders include professor James Spudich of Stanford University's Department of Biochemistry, Christine Seidman of Harvard Medical School's Department of Genetics and director of the Cardiovascular Genetics Center at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, and professor Jonathan Seidman of Harvard Medical School's Department of Genetics.
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