MA Life Science Growing: Backed By Eli Lilly and Pfizer, Nimbus Therapeutics Bankrolls $43 Million

Published: Mar 18, 2015

MA Life Science Growing: Backed By Eli Lilly and Pfizer, Nimbus Therapeutics Bankrolls $43 Million
March 18, 2015
By Krystle Vermes, Breaking News Staff

Cambridge-based Nimbus Therapeutics, a biotechnology company that focuses on developing selective medicines, announced today that it has completed a Series B round of financing totaling $43 million. Pfizer Venture Investments, Lilly Ventures, Atlas Venture and Lightstone Ventures participated in the round.

Nimbus changed its name following the fundraising initiative from “Nimbus Discovery” to “Nimbus Therapeutics.” The goal is to exhibit its transition to a clinical stage company.

“Our ability to attract such a high-caliber cadre of new and existing investors reinforces our belief in the boundless potential of our novel computational technology-driven approach to drug discovery and development,” said Donald Nicholson, chief executive officer at Nimbus.

The money from the Series B round will be used to advance the company’s Acetyl CoA Carboxylase inhibitor into clinical development. This would be the first allosteric and liver-targeted inhibitor designed to treat non-alcoholic steatohepatitis, also known as NASH.

Aura Biosciences Completes Funding Round
Nimbus Therapeutics isn’t the only Cambridge-headquartered biotechnology company to see success in terms of funding. Aura Biosciences, which is also based in Cambridge, announced on March 5 that it had closed a Series B round of financing. Ysios Capital, Chiesi Ventures, and Alexandria Venture Investments led the funding, which resulted in $21 million for Aura. The company intends to use the money to advance its therapies into clinical trials for the treatment of rare eye cancers.

“Our investors share our vision and our conviction that our technology will uniquely enable the development of breakthrough therapies for orphan cancers that have no effective treatments,” said Elisabet de los Pinos, founder and chief executive officer of Aura Biosciences. “Our lead product is focused on treating ocular cancers that are life-threatening, yet for which patients have no targeted or FDA-approved therapies available. We are dedicated to bringing to this patient population first-in-class therapies that can both eliminate the tumor and preserve vision.”

Massachusetts continues to be a hub for the biotechnology industry, and much of this is the result of a $1 billion life sciences initiative. The Massachusetts Life Sciences Center is the investment agency responsible for implementing the 10-year, state-funding investment to create jobs and support advances in the field.

In January 2015, biotechnology companies raised approximately $639 million in venture capital funding, according to the Boston Business Journal.

BioSpace Temperature Poll
After Amgen Inc. said last week that it will close its South San Francisco facility acquired during its $10 billion buyout of Onyx Pharmaceuticals and will lay off 300 of Oynx’s 750 workers, BioSpace is wondering—will the number of mergers and acquisitions completed in 2014 mean a “streamlining” of biotech jobs in the Bay Area? Tell us your thoughts.

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