Gennao Bio, Juno Diagnostics Break Onto the Scene With Combined $65 Million
Gennao Bio and Juno Diagnostics, two biopharma companies, raised a combined $65 million in Series A funding rounds. The Series A rounds are the latest in a string of financing announcements made over the past few months.
Privately-held Gennao Bio, which launched in 2020, closed a $40 million Series A. Funds from this round will be used to support the development of the company’s expected first-in-class gene monoclonal antibody platform (GMAB) and the advancement of targeted nucleic acid therapeutic product candidates for the treatment of oncology and rare monogenic skeletal muscle diseases.
Gennao’s GMAB technology platform, which was licensed from Yale University, uses a proprietary, cell-penetrating antibody that is designed to non-covalently bind to and deliver therapeutic levels of multiple types of nucleic acids, including synthetic RNA (ribonucleic acid) messenger RNA, small interfering RNA, deoxyribonucleic acids, antisense oligonucleotides and gene editing molecules. At the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) annual meeting last month, Gennao Bio presented preclinical data that shows the utility of GMAB asset 3E10-D31N to deliver nucleic acids to cells in vitro and to tumors in vivo.
The Series A financing round was co-led by OrbiMed and Logos Capital. Surveyor Capital also participated in the round.
In addition to the funds, Connecticut-based Gennao also announced co-founder Stephen Quinto will serve as the company’s chief executive officer and chairman of the board.
Squinto, currently a partner at OrbiMed, has held leadership roles at multiple companies across the industry, including Passage Bio, SpringWorks Therapeutics, Alexion, which he co-founded, and Regeneron. Squinto said he was excited about the new role at Gennao and the promise of the company’s GMAB platform.
“GMAB is the only platform technology that can deliver multiple classes of nucleic acids, allowing us to develop targeted, cell penetrating therapeutics for a wide-range of genetic diseases. The capital raised in this Series A round will enable us to accelerate our research and development efforts and expand our team,” Squinto said in a statement.
In addition to Squinto, Chau Q. Khuong, a partner on the private equity team at OrbiMed, has been appointed to the board of directors.
San Diego-based Juno Diagnostics closed an expanded $25 million Series A round led by Perceptive Xontogeny Venture (PXV) Fund. Funds raised in the round will be used to support clinical validation studies of Juno Diagnostic’s noninvasive prenatal testing tools. The funds will also be used to support additional product development and eventual commercial launch.
Juno Diagnostics’ noninvasive prenatal testing (NIPT) tool is a noninvasive cell-free DNA based prenatal test designed to simplify the collection of samples and improve access to high-quality genetic testing results. According to the company, this can be done without the cost concern, the long lead times, and phlebotomy requirements of traditional NIPT.
Dirk van den Boom, founder and CEO of Juno Diagnostics, said the funding will allow the company to advance its platform and rapidly bring its NIPT to market.
“We are dedicated to bringing the most advanced and cost-effective NIPT solution to market in support of millions of families along their pregnancy journey,” van den Boom said in a statement. “We are excited to partner with investors who share our vision of enabling access to highly accurate, cost-effective prenatal genetic testing solutions.”