BioSpace Global Roundup: Leyden Labs Secures €40 Million in Series A Financing
Netherlands-based Leyden Laboratories closed a €40 Million Series A financing led by GV (formerly Google Ventures) that will be used to develop the Leyden Labs’ platform and portfolio of product candidates. Leyden Labs uses its platform to target commonalities of viral families to protect against many viruses simultaneously as opposed to vaccines that typically protect against a specific virus variant. Its intranasal product candidates will be self-administrable, providing people with the freedom to protect themselves instantaneously from infection and prevent transmission.
Funds will also be used to expand the company’s team.
In addition to GV, the Series A was supported by F-Prime Capital, Casdin Capital, LLC and Brook Byers. David Schenkein, general partner at GV, and Stephen Knight, president and managing partner at F-Prime, will both join the board of directors of Leyden Laboratories.
eTheRNA – Belgium-based eTheRNA immunotherapies NV was awarded a €6.9 million TIGER grant from the EU Commission that will be used to accelerate development of a novel, potentially best-in-class therapeutic mRNA cancer vaccine for treating recurrent/metastatic Human Papillomavirus strain 16 positive (HPV16+) cancers such as head and neck cancer, cervical cancer, anogenital cancer. Early data suggests mRNA may play a key role in treating cancers and autoimmune diseases with potential mRNA market of approximately $37 billion in 2030.
RDIF – The Russian Direct Investment Fund partnered with India’s Virchow Biotech Private Limited to produce in the country up to 200 million doses per year of Sputnik V, the Russian-developed vaccine against coronavirus.
In addition to the agreement with Vircow, RDIF also released a survey that showed its vaccine was one of the most recognizable in the world. According to the RDIF, the YouGov survey results showed 54% of the 9,417 respondents from nine countries considered Russia the most trusted vaccine producer alongside the United States. RDIF said its Sputnik V vaccine was also the most recognizable vaccine to the respondents. Of those surveyed, 74% said they knew the name of Russia’s vaccine. Sputnik V is also among top-two most preferred vaccines, just after the one produced by Pfizer and BioNTech, RDIF said in its release.
Insightful Science – U.K.-based Insightful Science, a software company, will acquire Dotmatics, a cloud-based scientific R&D data management platform. By integrating Insightful Science’s software applications into Dotmatics cloud-first enterprise data management solution, the company will provide an end-to-end scientific research platform. This combination further improves laboratory efficiency and accelerates the pace of scientific innovation by facilitating more rapid data access, analysis and exchange between scientists around the world, the company said.
Amolyt Pharma – Based in France, Amolyt announced positive data from the first cohorts of the single ascending dose portion of its Phase I clinical trial evaluating the company’s lead clinical candidate, AZP-3601, for the treatment of hypoparathyroidism. The data demonstrated a significant, sustained increase in blood calcium levels for at least 24 hours following a single administration of AZP-3601.
Relief Therapeutics – Switzerland’s RELIEF and Acer Therapeutics entered into a collaboration for worldwide development and commercialization of ACER-001. ACER-001 is a proprietary powder formulation of sodium phenylbutyrate (NaPB) designed to be both taste-masked and immediate release. An ACER-001 pre-NDA meeting with the U.S. FDA is scheduled to occur in the second quarter of 2021. Acer expects to receive official meeting minutes approximately 30 days after the meeting.
PhoreMost Ltd. -- PhoreMost Ltd., the UK-based biopharmaceutical company dedicated to “Drugging the Undruggable” disease targets, completed an oversubscribed £33 million (about $46 million) Series B investment round. The funding will be used to progress PhoreMost’s preclinical ‘Allosteric PLK1’ collaboration with Sentinel Oncology into the clinic in 2022. The programme is initially targeted towards Glioma. PhoreMost will also progress multiple additional internal first-in-class drug discovery programmes across both oncology and aging therapeutic indications. The funding round was led by BGF, the UK’s most active growth economy investor, and included new investors XtalPi Inc., Astellas Venture Management, Trend Investment Group, and o2h ventures. Existing investors Parkwalk Advisors, Morningside Ventures, and Jonathan Milner also contributed.
Dunad Therapeutics – Also based in the U.K., startup Dunad Therapeutics emerged this week to develop next-generation small molecule therapeutics based on its highly differentiated, tuneable and targeted protein degradation technology. Dunad, secured initial financing from Epidarex Capital, a transatlantic venture firm that specializes in seeding and building exceptional early-stage life science companies. Dunad’s unique small molecule platform induces targeted degradation of disease-causing and often undruggable proteins via direct modification of the target using mono-valent small molecules. The company’s novel molecular approach is fully tuneable to be exquisitely selective and underpinned by a target-class agnostic mechanism of action that is distinct from other targeted protein degradation technologies. Dunad said its platform has the potential to unlock access to orally bioavailable and CNS-accessible degrader therapeutics and expand the frontiers of protein degradation targets.
Step Pharma – Oncology and autoimmune disease focused Step Pharma, based in France, closed a €35 million Series B funding round. The proceeds will be used to advance Step Pharma’s lead proprietary CTPS1 inhibitor, STP938, into clinical development for the treatment of T-cell malignancies. In addition, Step Pharma will use the funding to advance development of CTPS1 inhibitors in other hematological malignancies and solid tumors. CTPS1 (cytidine triphosphate synthase 1) is an enzyme that plays a critical role in DNA synthesis, cell division and proliferation but whose function is highly selective to certain cell types, in particular proliferating T cells, making it an ideal target for drug development. The financing round was led by Sunstone Life Science Ventures and supported by existing investors Kurma Partners, Pontifax and Bpifrance, which reinvested through its Innovative Biotherapies and Rare Diseases fund and InnoBio 2 fund.
Ilya Pharma – Sweden’s Ilya Pharma released new data from its clinical study of chronic wound treatment, ILP100. Ilya’s ILP100 gene therapy shortens healing time by on average six days, the company said. Additionally, scar volume also reduced by 30% through on-site production and delivery of key chemokine CXCL12 by transformed lactic acid bacteria. Ilya hopes to initiate a Phase II study later this year, if the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic allows.
InteRNA Technologies – microRNA (miRNA)-focused InteRNA Technologies, based in the Netherlands, announced that preclinical data investigating the company’s lead candidate, INT-1B3, have been published in the peer-reviewed journals Molecular Therapy Nucleic Acids and Oncotarget. INT-1B3 is a mimic of the tumor suppressor miRNA-193a-3p and has the potential to address multiple hallmarks of cancer at the same time. The published results include data from tumor cell lines and experimental tumor models and support the high therapeutic potential of INT-1B3 in solid tumor indications.