Four Biotechs Rake in Over $350 Million for Rare Diseases, Cancers and More
Less than one year after launching, Ohio-based Forge Biologics secured $120 million in a Series B financing round to support the clinical development of its gene therapy program for rare diseases, including the typically fatal Krabbe disease.
In an announcement this morning, Forge said the proceeds from the Series B program will be used to accelerate the expansion of its AAV manufacturing CDMO capabilities with cGMP production capacity and operate its subsidiaries that are advancing novel AAV gene therapy programs. The company said it takes a “patient-first approach” in its mission to develop these gene therapy programs.
Forge’s lead program is FBX-101, gene therapy for Krabbe disease. This devastating neurodegenerative disorder has a predicted incidence of about 1 in 12,000 people in the U.S.
Symptoms typically develop in babies and rapidly progress to death by age two. FBX-101 is a first-in-human gene therapy utilizing an adeno-associated virus (AAV) to deliver a functioning copy of the GALC gene intravenously to cells in the central nervous system (CNS) and peripheral organs.
“We are very pleased to be working with RA Capital and a strong syndicate of top-tier life sciences investors who share our vision as we now advance our growth as a global gene therapy manufacturing and development company,” Timothy J. Miller, president, chief executive officer, and co-founder of Forge Biologics said in a statement. “We have built Forge into a focused gene therapy development engine with a firm commitment to helping our clients provide potentially life-saving gene therapies to patients. We believe that focusing entirely on gene therapy will allow us to best serve our clients and patients by efficiently delivering high quality product.”
Forge’s Series B was led by RA Capital Management with participation from Perceptive Advisors and related affiliates, Surveyor Capital (a Citadel company), Octagon Capital, and Marshall Wace. Existing investors, including Perceptive Xontogeny Venture Fund and Drive Capital, also participated in the financing round.
Forge wasn’t the only company announcing fund raises this morning. Denmark-based Adcendo, which is developing antibody-drug conjugates (ADCs) for the treatment of cancers, raised €51 million (about $61.8 million) in its Series A. The €51 million marks the most significant Series A for a Danish biotech company.
The funds will be used to bring the lead program targeting the novel cancer target uPARAP/Endo180 to proof of concept in patients. Adcendo’s uPARAP is a unique novel cancer target overexpressed on the cell surface of several cancers, including soft tissue sarcoma, glioblastoma multiforme, triple-negative breast cancers, leukemia and osteosarcoma. The expression and biological mechanisms of uPARAP make it ideal for an ADC approach to bring conjugated drugs directly into the cancer cells.
Additionally, Adcendo said the Series A monies would be used to establish a pipeline of ADCs directed at novel cancer targets.
Adcendo’s Series A was led by Novo Seeds, the early-stage investment and company creation team of Novo Holdings and Ysios Capital. Other participants include RA Capital Management, HealthCap, and Gilde Healthcare.
Utah-based Sera Prognostics raised $100 million in a Series E financing round. The company said it would use the funds to leverage its proprietary proteomics and bioinformatics platform, including its biobank data, to improve maternal and neonatal health. The company is in the process of building out its specialty Ob/Gyn sales force to sell PreTRM test kits.
The financing round was supported by Vivo Capital, aMoon Fund, Parian Global, and others, led by existing investors Anthem, Inc., and Blue Ox Healthcare Partners.
Kaia Health raised $75 million in a Series C financing round to expand clinical capabilities and help more Americans access musculoskeletal solutions. Approximately 50% of Americans are dealing with some form of musculoskeletal issues. Funds from the Series C will be used to grow Kaia’s commercial team and accelerate product and partnership development. The company said the funds would also support its COPD care program.
An unnamed leading growth equity fund led the Series C. Other investors include Optum Ventures, Eurazeo, 3VC, Balderton Capital, Heartcore Capital, Symphony Ventures and A Round Capital.