Funding News: Three Biopharmas Score a Combined $261 Million to Advance Pipelines
Three companies on three separate continents raised more than $250 million to advance their scientific visions of supporting and developing new therapies for life-threatening diseases.
Hummingbird Bioscience Raises $125 Million
Singapore-based Hummingbird Bioscience raised $125 million in an oversubscribed Series C financing round. The funds will be used to support the development of the company’s two lead programs and advance its early-stage clinical research.
Hummingbird’s two lead assets are HMBD-001, a best-in-class HER3 antibody for NRG1-fusion and HER3-driven tumors, and HMBD-002, a first-in-class anti-VISTA neutralizing antibody for advanced solid tumors.
The funds will also be used to expand the capabilities of Hummingbird's proprietary Rational Antibody Discovery platform and progress the development of its next-generation pipeline of precision therapeutics, including HMBD-009, a BCMA-TACI dual-specific T cell engager.
The Series C financing round followed a smaller, $19 million Series B financing round in 2019.
Piers Ingram, chief executive officer and co-founder of Hummingbird Bioscience, noted the company had made significant progress in advancing its research and scaling the company.
“Hummingbird is at the cutting-edge of scientific discovery. These new funds give us further resources to invest in our early stage pipeline, as well as supporting the clinical development of our two lead programs that we believe can deliver very meaningful benefit for patients,” Ingram said in a statement. “The Series C funding will propel and catalyze this goal of delivering precision therapies for elusive cancers and autoimmune diseases faster and better."
The financing round was led by Denmark-based Novo Ventures, with participation from new investors, including Frazier Healthcare Partners, Octagon Capital, EDBI, AMGEN Ventures, DROIA Ventures, and Morningside Ventures, Pureos Bioventures, Polaris Partners, Affinity Asset Advisors, Ally Bridge Group and Altrium Capital Management. Existing investors including SK Inc, Heritas Capital, and Mirae Asset Venture Capital also participated in the funding round.
eureKARE Launches with $60 Million
Paris-based eureKARE snagged $60 million in a Series A financing round to support its financing and development efforts in microbiome and synthetic biology. In its announcement, the European startup pointed to the financial possibilities in these two fields.
euroKARE noted that approximately 90% of all diseases could be linked to the dysfunction and imbalance of the microbiome. Additionally, the company pointed to advances in synthetic biology, including gene and cell therapy, as routes to potential success. The company said there is “huge potential” in gene editing, siRNA and mRNA technologies.
In its announcement, euroKARE said it believes there is a “tremendous opportunity to industrialize this translational research by building bridges between academia and industry.”
The company has a bold vision to develop three to five new ventures a year and invest in three to five existing companies. The new ventures will be supported in the company’s biotech start-up studios eureKABIOME (Microbiome) and eureKASYNBIO (Synthetic biology).
The company has already comprised a portfolio of three companies, Stellate Therapeutics in the gut-brain axis field, the XNA technology company Omne Possibile and NovoBiome, a discovery platform dedicated to the gut-liver axis.
“Each of these companies has the potential to offer disruptive solutions in its chosen domain. These are perfect examples of what eureKARE wants to do. Thinking outside the box is in our DNA. The rapid COVID-19 vaccine development has shown the power of human ingenuity and this model will be a core inspiration for us as we progress,” Rudolphe Basserve, CEO of euroKARE said in a statement.
Interius BioTherapeutics Scores $76 Million
Philadelphia-based Interius raised $76 million in a Series A round to advance its cell and gene therapy platform. The startup is initially focused on treating hematologic malignancies.
The company plans to leverage its novel gene delivery platform to generate chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T cells directly in vivo. Interius said this approach bypasses the need for ex vivo cell manipulations and the potentially toxic pre-conditioning chemotherapy required for standard CAR T-cell treatments. Interius is also expanding applications beyond immuno-oncology that address diseases not amenable to current gene therapy modalities.
The Series A financing round was co-led by Cormorant Asset Management and Fairmount Funds. Bain Capital Life Sciences, Pfizer Ventures, RA Capital Management, Longwood Fund, Logos Capital, Osage University Partners, and Quan Capital also joined. Lead founding investor Tellus BioVentures, the University of Pennsylvania and Penn Medicine, Agent Capital, the Mark Foundation for Cancer Research, Knollwood, and BrightEdge, the American Cancer Society's impact investment fund also participated in the financing.