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Jan 11, 2016
 |  BioCentury  |  Emerging Company Profile

Synaptic sound

How Decibel plans to amass a hearing loss portfolio

Decibel Therapeutics Inc. plans to use new mechanistic insights by its academic founders to develop therapies that protect against, restore or repair hearing loss. The company is armed with a $52 million series A round to amass what it expects will be the industry's broadest hearing loss portfolio.

The basis for Decibel's formation is a critical mass of publications in the past five years that showed many hearing disorders were caused by defects in the synapse between inner ear hair cells and auditory nerve fibers, rather than defects in the hair cells or nerves themselves.

"The field was wedded to the dogma that noise or other injuries mean your hair cells are gone," said Chairman and interim CEO Kevin Starr. "We think if we can generate a therapy that makes the synapse healthier, we can help improve hearing."

Starr is a general partner at Third Rock Ventures, which launched the company in October.

"It was previously unrecognized in sensory hearing impairment that...

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