Money on the Move: April 29 – May 4

Dollar Bills

April showers bring May dollars. Here's whose cash gardens are really blooming this week in the life sciences world. 

Talaris Therapeutics

Having netted $115 million last October, Talaris is now hoping to support pipeline development with a $141.2 million and $158.85 million boom onto the market. Offering 8,825,000 shares of stock ranging from $19-18 per share, the company will trade under the ticker symbol TALS. Talaris’ lead asset FCR001 is an investigational allogeneic cell therapy aimed at living donor kidney transplant (LDKT) recipients. FCR001 has potential to help patients acquire or restore immune tolerance, which provides a number of opportunities for the drug. It’s also being explored as a treatment option for scleroderma, a multi-system autoimmune disease. 

Gyroscope Therapeutics

Just two months after a successful $148 million Series C, London-based Gyroscope is gearing up for a smashing debut onto the Nasdaq. Setting terms to sell up to 6.75 million shares at $20-22 per share, the company aims to net between $135 million and $148.5 million. Advancing gene therapies for eye diseases, its lead candidate, GT005, is being developed for the treatment of geographic atrophy (GA) secondary to age-related macular degeneration (AMD). Earlier this year, Gyroscope announced positive interim Phase II data that showed the asset provided sustained increases in vitreous Complement Factor I (CFI) levels in the majority of patients. 

Capsida Biotherapeutics 

Using an adeno-associated virus platform, Capsida uncloaked last week with $140 million in financing. In addition to a $50 million Series A, a collaboration with pharma giant AbbVie banked the California-based biotech the other $90 million, with potential for future milestone payments. The team up hopes to develop three best-in-class targeted gene therapies for serious neurodegenerative diseases. Based on groundbreaking research from scientists out of Heritage Medical Research Institiute and Caltech, the platform uses machine learning, structural biology, non-human primate models and human tissue models to precisely target desired tissue types. 

Forge Biologics

Less than a year after launching, Ohio-based Forge secured $120 million in a Series B round to support the clinical development of its gene therapy program for rare diseases. Funds will be used to expand AAV manufacturing CDMO capabilities with cGMP production, and advance subsidiaries advancing novel AAV gene therapy “patient-first approach” therapies. Forge’s lead program is FBX-101, gene therapy for Krabbe disease. This devastating neurodegenerative disorder has a predicted incidence of about 1 in 100,000 babies in the U.S, rapidly progressing to death, usually by age two.   

Vaccitech

Owner of the tech used to develop AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine, Vaccitech filed confidentially for its IPO. Priced at $17 a share, the sale of 6.5 million shares scored the U.K.-based company $110.5 million for its Nasdaq debut. In March, Vaccitech closed a $168 million Series B financing round. The fresh funds will support the company’s lead candidates in oncology and infectious diseases, including treatment for chronic hepatitis B and prostate cancer. Vaccitech's proprietary prime-boost platform combines modified simian adenoviral vectors, known as ChAdOx1 or ChAdOx2, to prime a targeted immune response with the Modified Vaccinia Ankara virus (MVA) to boost the targeted immune response against cells infected with a virus or tumor cells. 

Affinia Therapeutics

Gene therapy company Affinia closed an oversubscribed Series B with $110 million this week. With rationally designed adeno-associated virus vectors and gene therapies for rare and non-rare diseases, the company’s initial focus is on the central nervous system and muscle diseases with significant unmet need. “Since founding the company, we have had the interest of leading biotech investors as well as strategic partners who see the potential of our gene therapy discovery platform to engineer novel vectors that overcome the limitations of conventional serotypes,” said Affinia’s CEO.  

Sera Prognostics

Aiming to improve maternal and neonatal health, Utah-based Sera raised $100 million in a Series E to leverage proteomics and bioinformatics platform. The company is in the process of building out its specialty Ob/Gyn sales force to sell PreTRM test kits. The kits analyze proteins in the blood of pregnant women that are highly predictive of spontaneous preterm birth to provide early and individual risk prediction.  

Kaia Health 

Led by an unnamed growth equity firm, Kaia completed a $75 million Series C round, bringing its total raised to date to $125 million. The company will use the funds to grow its commercial team and accelerate product and partnership development to help more Americans access musculoskeletal solutions. Financing will also support Kaia’s COPD care program. The pandemic greatly increased the demand for the company’s virtual physical therapy, which provides real-time exercise feedback for chronic disease management.  

Adceno 

This Danish biotech raised about $61.8 million for its cancer treatment antibody-drug conjugates. The lead program will utilize the new funds to target uPARAP/Endo180 for proof of concept in patients. Adceno’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. 

Ceribell 

Innovator of the FDA-cleared Rapid Response EEG, a non-invasive brain monitor, Ceribell completed a $53 million Series C last week. The platform provides a faster diagnosis for patients with suspicion of seizure. Funds will be used to expand commercial efforts into ER and ICU departments globally. Rapid diagnosis is essential to protecting patients from risk of long-term brain damage or even death. The company is looking into the technology for neurological conditions beyond seizures as well. 

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