Biopharma Money on the Move: November 11-17
A quick read of whose wallets got thicker in the biopharma industry, from largest to smallest.
Industry-veteran George Chen left a seven-year career at AstraZeneca to launch his own Shanghai-based biotech, D3 Bio, with the support of big-name investors like Boyu Capital, Matrix Partners China, Sequoia Capital China, Temasek and Wuxi AppTec’s Corporate Venture Fund. At this point D3 is keeping its pipeline close to the chest. But Chen says it’s the approach that’s unique. The company will start with insights from clinical development and a market assessment of unmet needs and use that to guide the clinical development path. D3 will use this $200 million Series A to build out an R&D team focused on precision medicine in the realms of immunology and oncology.
Unlocking the power of microbial evolution, Metagenomi mines the world’s natural microbial environment to rapidly develop effective cures to treat incurable genetic diseases. A recent $65 million Series A will help accelerate the expansion of its gene editing systems for therapies in oncology and genetic-related diseases. “This means developing a vast database of gene editing capabilities to enable unprecedented therapeutic approaches. Working with visionary investors, such as Leaps by Bayer and Humboldt Fund, will allow us to deliver on our promise to partners and fuel the development of our own pipeline of innovative curative medicines,” Thomas said in a statement.
AI company disguised as a medical device company AliveCor picked up $65 million to ramp up speed on their remote cardiology platform. Amidst a pandemic, telehealth appointments have been increasingly necessary. AliveCor’s ECG will be strengthened with cardiological telehealth services as well as with detection and condition management services. To date, its products have served more than one million customers globally, recording over 85 million ECGs. AliveCor’s KardiaMobile device is FDA-cleared and the most clinically validated personal ECG solution in the world.
Birthed from the work of Clifford P. Brangwynne, Ph.D., Nereid hopes to translate the therapeutic promise of biomolecular condensates from physics to physicians. The biotech will take the $50 million Series A funding and Brangwynne’s proprietary technology enabling precise measurement, interrogation and control of phase separation in cells to develop their drug discovery platform. The platform holds potential to enable completely new approaches to discovering and developing therapeutics across a wide variety of diseases, focusing first on cancers and neurodegenerative disorders affected by phase transitions.
Backed by $46 million in financing from biotech entrepreneur Peter Wirth and others, Kira launched with a mission of pioneering a new generation of complement-targeted therapies to treat immune-mediated diseases. With the financing in hand, Kira is aiming to have three assets in the clinic within the next 18 months. The company’s most advanced program, P014, is a first-in-class biologic drug with a unique mechanism of action designed to inhibit both upstream and downstream complement targets. Former Sienna Biopharmaceuticals CEO Frederick Beddingfield will be at the helm.
Adagio is singing joyfully to the tune of a $42.5 million Series E to support the commercialization of its iCLAS system. iCLAS is Adagio’s intelligent Continuous Lesion Ablation System pursuing both an Investigational Device Exemption trial and a European VT CE-Mark trial. "Cardiac ablation is a large and growing market that faces significant challenges including disappointing clinical outcomes, long procedure times and unsatisfactory profitability for providers," said Tuan Huynh, of ArrowMark, one of the Series E investors joining Adagio’s board of directors. "We believe Adagio represents a unique opportunity to transform ablation therapy and look forward to partnering with Adagio's management team to support the company's growth and commitment to addressing challenges faced by physicians and their patients."
Founded in 2018 with a focus on liver disease, IniPharm brought in $35 million with a Series A financing round to take its lead program through to IND filing and into clinical trials. The program targets the HSD17B13 gene, which according to CEO Brian Farmer, “confers pretty amazing protection against liver disease.” It doesn’t appear to actually prevent the disease’s causation, but slows progression to more serious illness by preventing inflammation, fibrosis and cirrhosis of the liver, which are the dangerous effects of liver disease. “The potential for therapies that effectively target HSD17B13 activity is significant because it is linked to a broad spectrum of liver and related diseases,” said Farmer.
InterVenn looks to ramp up their ability to discover biomarkers and design clinical trials with the help of a little AI. Funds from a $34 million Series B will expand its precision medicine platform for cancer detection. InterVenn’s tech platform targets carbohydrates known as glycans, looking for aberrant glycosylation of certain proteins, which are implicated in a variety of disease states, including inflammation. The company's VOCAL project is evaluating a blood test to determine if an ovarian tumor is benign or malignant. It is also conducting research into colorectal cancer and kidney cancer, hunting for “clinically actionable” biomarkers that can be used for diagnosis, prognosis, and detection of cancer recurrence, as well as predictive tests to help choose appropriate drugs.