Biopharma Money on the Move: December 16-22

Dollar Sign Money_Compressed

Last call for raising funds before Christmas, and these companies didn’t hesitate to scoop up their bags of cash. 

TG Therapeutics 

TG has been on the Nasdaq for over seven years now, but 2020 has been the year for the New York biopharma to soar. With shares trading at less than $11 apiece in January, the stock is now well over $50 since the announcement of positive topline results from two global Phase III trials for relapsing forms of MS. With a high probability of FDA approval, TG cashed in with an upsized common stock offering, raising $300 million to further develop and commercialize their therapies.  

BioAtla

This San Diego company hopped on the bandwagon of biopharma IPOs last week, offering 10.5M million shares at $18 apiece, a 38% increase, scooping up $189 million in proceeds. BioAtla is developing a novel class of specific and selective antibody-based therapeutics. The company’s “conditionally active biologics” only activate when they detect proximity to a tumor, thereby reducing systemic toxicity.  Funds will propel the company’s two lead programs through three Phase II trials.  

Cullinan Oncology

Breaking down the silos of drug research, Cullinan applies open innovation and collaboration to develop a portfolio of first-in-class and best-in-class cancer therapies. With an oversubscribed $131.2 million Series C, the Cambridge company can advance its seven-candidate pipeline into the clinic. Each candidate is structured as a separate company managed by Cullinan. Two are currently in Phase I with an inhibitor drug for NSCLC and a monoclonal antibody reinvigorating the MICA/NKG2D axis. 

Neurogene 

New York-based Neurogene is establishing itself as a leader in gene therapies for neurological diseases. Last week’s $115 million Series B round will help advance multiple of the company’s candidates into the clinic. The first of which targets late infantile Battens Disease, a rare nervous system disorder that worsens over time and is fatal, usually 8-10 years old. The funds will also be used to build out Neurogene’s adeno-associated virus vector GMP manufacturing capabilities. 

Neuron23

Having worked undercover for two years, Neuron23 uncloaked last week with $113.5 million in financing for its launch. $30 million of the funds came from Westlake Village BioPartners, who just announced two funds totaling $500 million with the intent to invest in Series A startups in the most promising companies.  Neuron23 has hit the ground running, aiming to take on Parkinson’s disease against giant Biogen, who recently orchestrated in a $1 billion deal with Denali with the same target in mind. The plan is to start trials with healthy volunteers next year. 

Neomorph 

Established earlier this year, San Diego-based Neomorph raked in $109 million in a Series A. The company’s focus is on targeted protein degradation, which offers opportunities for treatment developments across the board, including oncology. “The Neomorph team has deep expertise in pharmacological approaches to targeted protein degradation and we are excited to be developing new therapeutics for patients with diseases that are currently difficult to treat,” said scientific founder Scott Armstrong MD, Professor of Pediatrics at Harvard Medical School and the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. 

Atsena Therapeutics 

Gene therapy startup Atsena closed on an oversubscribed $55 million Series A. The funds will be used to advance its gene therapy for one of the most common cause of blindness in children through clinical trials. Leber congenital amaurosis (LCA) causes blindness in 2 to 3 out of 100,000 newborns. The company is also planning for growth, looking to move into a larger space next year to scale up gene therapy manufacturing. Ramping up across the board, there’s a goal to hire 20 more positions with the move. 

ONL Therapeutics

With support from Johnson & Johnson and more, Michigan-based ONL closed a $46.9 million Series B Preferred Stock financing round. The company is developing therapies for protecting the patients with retinal disease from vision loss. This funding supports the completion of a Phase 1 study in retinal detachment with ONL’s lead compound ONL1204. In addition, the funding will advance ONL1204 in two chronic indications, glaucoma and dry age-related macular degeneration. 

Peptilogics

Peptilogics is the most recent biotech receiving investments from Paypal’s co-founder Peter Thiel. This week, Thiel participated in a $35 million financing round for the Pennsylvania-based company. The funds will be used to advance Peptilogics’ proprietary computational peptide drug design and discovery platform. The platform discovers connections in diverse biomedical data and maps peptide sequences.  

Octave Bioscience 

Looking to take its fully integrated care management platform to the next level, Octave completed a $32 million Series B financing round. The funds will allow the company to complete development of management products and services, expand clinical data and begin commercialization to neurologists and patients. Octave’s first target has been multiple sclerosis patients, but will expand to other chronic, debilitating neurodegenerative diseases. The platform tracks blood-based biomarkers, enhanced MRI insights and mobile patient monitoring tools to feed into care pathway models to generate better patient outcomes and lower costs.  

Vivace Therapeutics

Small molecule player Vivace closed a $30 million Series C for further development of its first-in-class therapies targeting the Hippo pathway. Funds will be used to take its lead candidate into first-in-human studies in early 2021, targeting tumors dependent on activated YAP. Pre-clinical research has shown promise for the candidate both as a monotherapy and in combination with other anti-cancer therapies. 

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