Four Biopharma Companies Raise Big Bucks in Series B Financing Rounds

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It takes money to develop new, innovative treatments and this morning, multiple companies have announced significant fundraises. A summary of each financing round is below:

Icosavax

Icosavax, Inc. raised $100 million in a Series B financing round. Funds will be used to advance the company’s bivalent respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) and human metapneumovirus (hMPV) vaccine program through initial clinical studies, as well as continued evaluation of its SARS-CoV-2 vaccine candidate. 

Some of the proceeds from the round will be used to expand the company’s pipeline of virus-like particle (VLP) vaccine candidates focused on protecting older adults from life-threatening respiratory diseases.

The company’s RSV vaccine candidate, IVX-121, includes a stabilized prefusion F antigen. Icosavax aims to advance IVX-121 into Phase I studies this year. For COVID-19, Icosavax is advancing a SARS-CoV-2 receptor binding domain VLP vaccine candidate, IVX-411, into initial clinical studies later this year, as well. 

The Series B financing round was led by RA Capital Management and joined by Janus Henderson Investors, Perceptive Advisors, Viking Global Investors, Cormorant Asset Management, Omega Funds, and Surveyor Capital (a Citadel company). Icosavax’s existing investors also participated, including Qiming Venture Partners USA, Adams Street Partners, Sanofi Ventures and ND Capital.

Vizgen

Massachusetts-based Vizgen raised $37 million in its Series B financing round. Funds from the round will be used to advance the development of the company’s Merscope platform. The company uses its platform to profile single-cell spatial genomics information, which will enable researchers to gain new insight into the biological systems that underlie human health and disease with spatial context. 

According to the company, the Merscope platform allows “massively multiplexed, genome-scale nucleic acid imaging” with what the company says has “high accuracy and unrivaled detection efficiency at subcellular resolution.”

The financing was co-led by Novalis LifeSciences and Northpond Ventures. Organizations that also participated in the round were new investors Tao Capital Partners, Pura Vida Investments, LLC, and a large, unnamed U.S. endowment fund. Current investors that joined the discussion included ARCH Venture Partners and David Walt, a professor at Harvard Medical School and co-founder of Vizgen.

As part of the financing round, Marijn Dekkers, chairman and founder of Novalis LifeSciences, and previous CEO of Bayer AG and Thermo Fisher Scientific will join the board of directors of Vizgen. 

Bioheng Biotech

China-based Bioheng Biotech raised $80 million in Series B financing to fund its mission to develop novel cellular immunotherapies for cancer. In a brief announcement, the company said plans to use the funds to advance R&D capabilities, process development and clinical trials. It did not provide additional information. 

The financing round was co-led by GL Ventures, the venture capital unit of Hillhouse Capital, Decheng Capital and Octagon Capital. Others that participated in the discussion were BlueRun Ventures China and Shenzhen Capital Group Company.

PhoreMost Ltd.

U.K.-based PhoreMost, a company dedicated to drugging the “undruggable,” raised £33 million (approximately $46 million) in an oversubscribed Series B investment round. The funding will be used to advance PhoreMost’s preclinical Allosteric PLK1 collaboration with Sentinel Oncology into the clinic by 2022. 

The initial aim of the program is glioma, but PhoreMost said it anticipates advancing additional internal first-in-class drug discovery programs across oncology and aging therapeutic indications.

PhoreMost uses its SiteSeeker platform to identify the best new therapeutic targets for any chosen disease setting, and rapidly classify how to develop novel drugs to these targets. The company recently deployed SiteSeeker to recognize novel E3-ligands, the progression of which has the potential to be highly disruptive within the important new targeted protein degradation therapeutic modality space, the company said. 

The Series B round was led by BGF, which is the U.K.’s most active growth economy investor. New investors XtalPi Inc., Astellas Venture Management, Trend Investment Group and o2h ventures also led the discussion. Existing investors Parkwalk Advisors, Morningside Ventures, and noted investor Jonathan Milner also contributed to the Series B. 

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