Three Biotechs Obtain Millions in New Financing Rounds Announced Monday
Several biotech companies have announced closings of million-dollar financing rounds Monday, with Cambridge, Mass.-based cell and gene therapy company ElevateBio leading the pack. ElevateBio announced it raised $525 million in a Series C financing round, which the company says should help expand its drug programs as well as manufacturing capacity and current and future partnerships.
The Series C financing round was led by Matrix Capital Management, but funding was also made by new investors, including SoftBank's Vision Fund 2 and Fidelity Research & Management Company. Other existing investors in the round included MPM Capital, F2 Ventures, Redmile Group, EcoR1 Capital, Samsara BioCapital, The Invus Group, Emerson Collective, Surveyor Capital, EDBI, Vertex Ventures and iTochu. The company also said a "large insurance company" also provided funding but didn’t specify which insurance company contributed to the round.
In total, the new financing has brought ElevateBio's overall funding to $845 million. The company closed a $170 million Series B round in its last funding project in March 2020. This financing round was designed to fund the advancement of a total of six novel cell and gene agents for certain unspecified conditions to in-human trials.
Additionally, the $170 million funding was funneled into the completion of a construction project on ElevateBio's portfolio companies’ research and manufacturing facility (“Elevate BaseCamp”). ElevateBio has invested in three portfolio companies since its launch in May 2019: AlloVir, HighPass and LifeEDIT Therapeutics.
"At ElevateBio, we can realize the full potential of cell and gene therapies, by re-envisioning the way these products are made, breaking down silos, leveraging powerful enabling technologies and changing the mindset from simple manufacturing scale-up to conducting large-scale biology," according to a statement made by Elevate Bio's Chief Scientific Officer, Mitchell Finer, who is also President of Elevate BaseCamp. "This approach will drive transformative cell, gene and regenerative therapies today and tomorrow that have the potential to enable access for patients around the globe.”
Machine learning-driven drug discovery and development company insitro also announced on Monday it raised $400 million in a Series C financing round, led by Canada Pension Plan Investment Board. The company says it will use the financing proceeds to expand its machine learning platform capabilities and pipeline, including increasing resources to access enabling datasets.
insitro built out its target discovery platform in a Gilead collaboration in nonalcoholic steatohepatitis and also previously established a collaboration with Bristol Myers Squibb in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. Additionally, the company previously acquired Haystack Sciences and its high throughput chemistry platform.
“This Series C financing, alongside our Series B in mid-2020, provides us with tremendous resources from some of the best long-term investors in biotech, and will allow us to continue to expand our work towards bringing transformative medicines to patients faster and with fewer failures,” said insitro’s Chief Executive Officer Daphne Koller, Ph.D.
“The insitro team has developed a powerful approach to drug discovery based on the wholesale application of machine learning to every phase of the process: target identification, lead discovery, and the elaboration of highly evolved therapeutic candidates,” added insitro board member Dr. Roger Perlmutter. “This Series C round provides insitro with the wherewithal to pursue this vision across multiple therapeutic domains, both on an independent basis, and with like-minded strategic partners.”
Another financing announcement made Monday came from next-generation gene-editing company Graphite Bio, which said it has secured $150 million in a Series B financing round. The company plans to use the proceeds from this round to further expand and advance its pipeline of targeted gene integration therapies into the clinic. Leaders of the financing round included RA Capital Management and Rock Springs Capital with help from new investors Cormorant Asset Management, Deerfield Management Company, Federated Hermes Kaufmann Funds, Fidelity Management & Research Company, Janus Henderson Investors, Logos Capital, OrbiMed, Perceptive Advisors, Surveyor Capital (a Citadel company) and Venrock Healthcare Capital Partners.
“This milestone provides further validation for our highly differentiated gene integration platform and enables us to advance our pipeline through initial clinical milestones,” said Graphite Bio’s Chief Executive Officer Josh Lehrer, M.Phil., M.D. “To date, we have delivered on our commitment to advance our pipeline with urgency, always with an intent focus on delivering truly innovative therapies to patients. We are grateful for the confidence of our investors, which will support our clinical trial in sickle cell disease and advance our XSCID and Gaucher programs toward the clinic.”