Jeff Aronin Founded Company—Castle Creek Biosciences—Expands its Gene Therapy Platform through Collaboration with Mayo Clinic

Castle Creek Biosciences, Inc., founded by Jeff Aronin, recently announced a research collaboration with Mayo Clinic to advance discovery and pre-clinical development of investigational gene therapy candidates for the treatment of osteogenesis imperfecta (OI) and classical Ehlers-Danlos syndrome (EDS), which are rare genetic connective tissue disorders that currently have no treatments approved by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA). The research will be led by principal investigator David R. Deyle, M.D., a board-certified medical geneticist with the department of medical genetics at Mayo Clinic and a leader in the field of connective tissue disorders. 

Osteogenesis imperfecta is colloquially called brittle bone disease because it can lead to soft, fragile bones which are prone to breaking. It is caused by a genetic mutation that impacts the body’s ability to generate connective tissue. People with osteogenesis have a disruption in the production of collagen that prevents the formation of connective tissue. Collagen is the primary component of connective tissues, including bones and skin. 

EDS is also a genetic disease that affects connective tissue. People with EDS have especially elastic skin and hyperflexible joints. They can also experience chronic pain and problems with their blood vessels. Like osteogenesis imperfecta, EDS is caused by genetic mutations affecting collagen synthesis. 

Osteogenesis imperfecta affects about one in 6,600 people, while EDS affects one in 20,000. Neither disease has any currently FDA-approved treatments. Castle Creek is pursuing potential gene therapy candidates for these conditions.

Gene therapy is an emerging medical treatment that aims to modify genes to ameliorate or cure a condition. They are often targeted at genetic disorders by introducing a healthy gene variant into a patients’ body to correct the dysfunction. Gene therapies are promising for their ability to address the root cause of a disease. 

The research collaboration with Mayo Clinic brings David R. Deyle, M.D., board-certified geneticist, as principal investigator. Dr. Deyle brings expertise in the field of genetics as well as connective tissue disorders. The research will focus on the discovery and pre-clinical phases of research. 

The research collaboration will help identify gene therapy candidates for osteogenesis imperfecta and EDS. Once candidates have been identified, Castle Creek anticipates moving the selected therapies into clinical development at its in-house, commercial-scale current good manufacturing practices (cGMP) manufacturing facility located in Exton, Pa. 

Castle Creek Biosciences Chairman Jeff Aronin, founder, chairman and CEO of Paragon Biosciences, said “Castle Creek is leveraging its proven expertise and experience in rare diseases and late-stage clinical development of cell and gene therapies to establish strategic collaborations with world-class research organizations for studying early-stage novel treatments to address critical, unmet medical challenges of patients suffering from rare genetic conditions.”

About Castle Creek Biosciences, Inc.

Castle Creek Biosciences, Inc., is a clinical-stage cell and gene therapy company focused on developing and commercializing disease-modifying therapies for patients suffering from rare diseases for which there is a lack of available treatment options. The company’s proprietary autologous fibroblast platform potentially allows for the development of personalized, targeted, and redosable cell-based gene therapy product candidates for monogenic and chronic disorders. The company operates an in-house, commercial-scale manufacturing facility in Exton, Pennsylvania that benefits from the validated systems and processes previously implemented at the site for the manufacture of an FDA-approved cell therapy product. Castle Creek Biosciences, Inc., is a portfolio company of Paragon Biosciences, LLC. 

About Jeff Aronin

Jeff Aronin is the founder and chairman of Castle Creek Biosciences. He has decades of experience in the life sciences and biotechnology industries. Throughout this career, Jeff has focused on identifying ideas and innovations that have the potential to change lives and improve health. His ventures have focused on addressing high unmet needs. His companies have received FDA approval for several novel medications and technologies. 

Jeff has received many distinctions and honors for his work in life sciences. In 2020, he was named one of the Top 10 Inspiring CEOs by Insight Success Magazine. In 2018, he was awarded Innovator of the Year by Best in Biz Awards and was also inducted into the Chicago Entrepreneur Hall of Fame. He was named one of the 20 Most Influential Leaders in Healthcare by Insights Care. He received an EY Entrepreneur of the Year Award.

Jeff devotes his time and talents to philanthropy. He is the founder and co-chairman of MATTER, a technology incubator that supports healthcare innovation. Jeff has helped fund more than 200 healthcare companies, collaborating with more than 60 corporate sponsors to close more than $1.7 billion in deals. 

Jeff is a member of The Commercial Club of Chicago and serves on the board of the Aspen Institute and Discover Financial Services. He believes in education and often mentors students and young professionals. He is a regular guest lecturer at the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business as well as Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Business.