Bay State Startup Entasis Banks $50 Million Series B

Published: Apr 05, 2016

Bay State Startup Entasis Banks $50 Million Series B
April 4, 2016
By Alex Keown, BioSpace.com Breaking News Staff

WALTHAM, Mass. – Bay State startup Entasis Therapeutics, a spinout of AstraZeneca , nabbed $50 million in Series B financing to advance its pipeline of anti-infective drugs, the company announced this morning.

Entasis emerged in July 2015 with a number of former AstraZeneca anti-infective scientists leading the charge. The team is focused on driving their lead product, an antibiotic for the STD gonorrhea, through Phase II trials.

The company has several drugs in its pipeline, but is most focused on ETX0914, a first-in-class, novel oral antibiotic currently in Phase II trials for the treatment of uncomplicated gonorrhea. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has already awarded ETX0914 fast track status and it has been designated a Qualified Infectious Disease Product. Entasis’ pipeline includes a number of first- and best-in-class clinical and preclinical-stage antibiotics for major Gram-negative infections, which target essential bacterial processes in a fundamentally novel way, the company said.

“We are pleased to have such a high-quality and experienced group of investors join us as we develop transformative therapies for patients suffering from serious and life-threatening infections,” Manos Perros, president and chief executive officer of Entasis, said in a statement. “The proceeds from this financing will enable us to further advance our portfolio of innovative anti-infective products directed at addressing the global health crisis created by the rise in antibiotic resistance in a fundamentally differentiated way.”

Entasis was created when AstraZeneca’s CEO Pascal Soriot signaled a shift in strategy last year that would silo its anti-infectives into separate business units. Perros was tapped to head the new company, a move that allowed him to keep most of his team together and in place in Waltham. The fledgling biotech received $40 million in Series A funding from the AstraZeneca in March to help its launch.

“We are on a mission to bring new cures to patients and clinicians who are battling serious bacterial infections and have a positive impact on the global healthcare crisis of antimicrobial resistance,” Perros said in July, after the company launched. The latest round of financing was led by Clarus and included Frazier Healthcare Partners, Novo A/S and Eventide Funds, who joined founding investor AstraZeneca.

In addition to securing an additional $50 million for research and development, the company also expanded its board of directors to include Nicholas Galakatos, co-founder and managing director of Clarus. Galakatos was named Entasis’ new chairman of the board. Also James Topper, managing general partner of Frazier Healthcare Partners and Peter Tuxen Bisgaard, senior partner of Novo Ventures (US) Inc. were named to the company board of directors.

“Our investment reflects our excitement about the quality of the Entasis product pipeline and our confidence in the team,” Galakatos said in a statement. “We look forward to advancing these promising candidates in order to treat serious, drug-resistant bacterial infections where existing and incrementally innovative approaches are failing.”

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