Biopharma Money on the Move: December 9-15

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These life sciences companies can officially take cash off their Christmas lists after last week’s bounty. 

Certara

This biosimulation company took in the second largest life sciences IPO of the year raking in a whopping $668 million. Selling 29.1 million shares at $23 each put them in at a 19% increase of their original aim. Certara partners with biotech and pharmaceutical companies to accelerate drug development. According to their website, 90% of companies that received new drug approvals by the FDA since 2014 used Certara’s software or services.

AbCellera 

AbCellera’s discovery of the COVID-19 antibody used in Eli Lilly’s bamlanivimab rocketed this Canadian company into worldwide recognition. Joining the Nasdaq was a natural next step. The monoclonal antibody was the first approved by the FDA for the treatment of COVID-19. Originally prepping for a $391 million IPO, AbCellera upped its offering to 24.15 million shares at $20 per share for expected proceeds of $483 million, a 24% increase.

Tempus 

Mega-raiser Tempus took in another $200 million in a Series G-2 financing round, bringing their total lifetime raise to $1.05 billion. Currently employing around 1,500, the precision medicine company will use the funds to expand operations and expand to other disease areas including infectious diseases, depression and cardiology. Tempus’ AI platform analyzes multi-modal data across major disease types to look for therapeutically relevant insights.  

4D Molecular Therapeutics

Offering 1.4 million more shares than planned, 4D raised 23% more, bringing their IPO to raise to $193 million. 4D is in a collaboration with pharma giant Roche and has support from Pfizer as well, with these factors adding to the interest of its upsized IPO. The company’s target is on both rare and large market diseases, including patient populations that other gene therapies aren’t able to address. 

Locanabio 

Building on last year’s $55 million raise, San Diego-based Locanabio secured $100 million this week in a Series B financing round. The funds will be used to advance the company’s portfolio of RNA-targeted gene therapies for neurodegenerative, neuromuscular and retinal diseases. Locanabio’s unique approach combines gene therapy and RNA modifications to treat disease. Using a gene therapy vector, the treatments deliver RNA-targeting protein tipped with an RNA-modifying enzyme with the potential to treat many diseases linked to the dysfunctional processing of RNA. 

Nanobiotix

This French nanoparticle drug developer sold its shares at the low point of their target range, $13.50, but still raked in $99 million for their Nasdaq debut. Nanobiotix’s proprietary technology, NBTXR3 is a first-in-class radioenhancer to work across solid tumors, enhancing radiotherapy efficacy and producing an immune response with just one injection into the tumor. The treatment is currently in two Phase II studies for patients with head and neck cancer.   

Reneo Pharmaceuticals 

With a focus on genetic mitochondrial diseases, Reneo’s Series B brought in $95 million in a financing round led by Novo Ventures and Abingworth. Reneo’s lead candidate, REN001, has completed an open label safety and tolerability study in patients with primary mitochondrial myopathies. The funds from this raise will take REN001 through a Phase II trial. The compound works to improve cellular energy metabolism by enhancing mitochondrial function and potentially increasing the number of mitochondria. 

Faze Medicines 

Biomolecular condensates have been around for decades, but have recently begun to gain traction in the biopharma world. Faze is the third company this year to snag investment cash in pursuit of this target. The $81 million Series A will go into the preclinical research in two focus areas: amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and myotonic dystrophy type 1 (DM1). The remaining funds will be used to research condensate biology in other disease areas. Faze intends to utilize screening and proteomics techniques to identify proteins that are components of disease-causing condensates. 

Rani Therapeutics

This oral biologics company brought in $69 million in a Series E. Looking to transform the healthcare market, Rani’s technology converts injectable drugs into pills. The funds will accelerate the company’s internal pipeline of drugs to the clinic and scale up manufacturing. "The RaniPill™ has the potential to transform major markets where patients must endure frequent and often painful injections," said Mir Imran, Chairman, CEO and founder of Rani Therapeutics. "With this breakthrough platform, capable of creating orally available therapeutic antibodies, peptides, and proteins, we could impact millions of patients worldwide." 

Vigil Neuroscience 

Launching with a $50 million Series A, Vigil is one of many new biotechs setting out to fight neurodegenerative disease in 2021. The company is developing a pipeline of precision-based therapies to combat both rare and common neurodegenerative diseases by restoring the vigilance of microglia. Atlas cofounded, seeded and incubated Vigil, with pre-clinical stage assets in-licensed from Amgen Inc., which will remain a key shareholder.

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