Money on the Move: August 25 – 31

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The hot days of summer are nearing a close, but these life sciences companies aren’t cooling off their fundraising efforts. Here’s a brief overview of who’s heating up their coffers this week. 

Laronde 

Flagship’s recently launched Endless RNA (eRNA) company Laronde has secured a massive $440 million Series B round. eRNA was invented at Flagship Labs as a novel, engineered form of RNA that's programmable to express therapeutic proteins to the human body. "eRNA solves many of the limitations of other drug modalities and unlocks new opportunities for creating first- and best-in-class therapeutics... Given the programmability of the platform and its unique pharmacology, we anticipate accelerated development timelines and a higher rate of program success than traditional biotech programs," said Laronde Co-founder Avak Kahvejian.  

Laronde is scaling up to support the development of multiple programs across various disease areas. In the works is the construction of a modular and eRNA Gigabase Factory to accommodate its clinical and commercial efforts. The company expects to hire over 200 people over the next two years. 

Humacyte

Last year saw a 250% increase in SPAC mergers, as companies saw an opportunity to go public faster than the traditional IPO. Joining the fray, Humacyte is combining with Alpha Healthcare Acquisition Corp to the tune of $245 million in gross proceeds. The company focuses on Human Acellular Vessels (HAVs), engineered off-the-shelf replacement vessels. CEO Laura Niklason laid out the plans: “Humacyte is poised to make commercial-scale bioengineered tissues a reality for patients. We enter the next phase of our transformation of regenerative medicine as a robust public company, evaluating our first-in-class bioengineered HAVs in numerous indications.” 

Cardior Pharmaceuticals 

Germany-based Cardior is advancing a potential treatment for patients with heart failure. With $76 million in fresh funds, the company believes they can demonstrate its candidate’s ability to block the abnormal cardiac levels of micro-RNA-132 in heart failure patients to trigger a “therapeutic effect against key hallmarks of heart disease including cardiac hypertrophy, fibrosis, impaired contractility and reduced vascularization.” A Phase II study is now being initiated for the drug.

Revelation Biosciences 

Taking the fast track to the Nasdaq, Revelation announced it is merging with Petra Acquisition in a deal that will leave the combined company valued at $128 million. The San Diego-based biotech focuses on development of immunologic-based therapies for respiratory infections. The $73 million in cash Revelation gets from the deal will be used to advance the pipeline, which includes lead asset REVTx-99, a nasal solution targeting various respiratory viruses including COVID-19, and a diagnostic used to detect a variety of viral infections. A Phase II for REVTx-99 is slated to begin in Q1 of 2022. According to CEO James Rolke, the drug has the potential to reduce respiratory infection exposure risks associated with travel and daily activities to help us return to normalcy. 

DNAnudge

Gene test and medical diagnostics company DnaNudge is having its day thanks to the global pandemic. The London-based company’s CovidNudge test first got the thumbs up from the UK in July 2020 and has since been deployed all across Europe. The test’s major leg up on the competition is that it’s a coronavirus PCR test, the typically less accessible gold standard for COVID-19 detection, that doesn’t require a lab. Within two hours of collection, you’ve got your results. With an eye on expanding outside its continent, DnaNudge raised a $60 million Series A to bring its product to the US, Japan and other areas of Europe.  

Neurogastrx

GI focused Neurgastrx announced a $60 million Series B crossover round last week with the help of Vivo Capital. Proceeds will advance the company’s pipeline of GI therapies for serious conditions that impact millions of people yet are not effectively treated. A Phase III is slated for 2022 for fexuprazan for the treatment of erosive esophagitis, a condition that effects 20% of the 65 million people in the US suffering from GERD. Candidate NG101 is currently in Phase II development for gastroparesis. 

TISSIUM

Paris-based Tissium is developing biomorphic programmable polymers to be used in tissue restruction. Now with a fresh $59 million from new and existing investors, the company will build on its rapid growth to scale ops and add to its team, as well as fund the company up to the commercialization of its leading products for nerve repair, hernia repair and cardiovascular sealants. The current pipeline includes seven products in those areas, while Tissium looks to expand its platform into new therapeutic areas.  

ARS Pharmaceuticals 

With a mission for better protection for patients with severe allergic reactions, including anaphylaxis, ARS is developing a nasal spray alternative to the traditional EpiPen. Using an aqueous form of epinephrine, “Neffy” has demonstrated comparable pharmacokinetics to the injectable epinephrine, offering a more user-friendly, needle-free, pocket-sized portable option for patients. Led by SR One and backed by RA Capital and Deerfield Management, ARS scooped up $55 million to take Neffy through to approval and commercial launch.

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