Money on the Move: February 16–22

Raining Money

More biotech companies turn to private investors as the market churns volatile for life sciences. Here’s who’s scooping up the cash this week.  

Synthego 

Opting to forego the tumultuous climate of the stock market for the moment, genome engineer Synthego scooped up $200 million in Series E financing. The Redwood City company is automating biological research with platforms to offer “science at scale.” The current focus is on creating a cell and gene therapy ecosystem to assist researchers in speeding up their research. Additional funds will fuel the development of more CRISPR gene-editing tools. The company doubled this raise over its last funding round in August 2020.  

Third Harmonic Bio 

Third Harmonic’s $155 million Series B is music to the ears of those suffering from chronic urticaria. The funds will lead its novel oral allergy medication to the next phase of human studies to ease the inflammatory responses of hives, wheezing and GI distress. Preclinical studies showed promise in THB001’s ability to reduce mast cell counts in a variety of tissues. Mast cells are the body’s first line of defense against allergens. A Phase 1b trial is planned for later this year for mitigating allergic reactions, while future indications hope to broaden use to a range of diseases of the skin, airway and GI. 

Electra Therapeutics 

Exiting stealth mode, Electra Therapeutics grew up quickly, already announcing a spin-off company for its novel signal regulatory protein-targeted therapies for immunological disease and cancer. Electra took in $84 million in Series B funds for its novel approach to SIRP therapeutics. The platform puts the brakes on an overactive immune system “as cell surface targets on specific immune cells to then use our antibodies to target those precise immune cells and deplete them from circulation,” said CEO Rosenthal. Electra is making headway in treating the life-threatening inflammatory disease secondary hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis, a disease with no currently approved treatment. ELA026 is currently in Phase 1 clinical studies for the indication. This funding round will help complete the trial and move two immunology and immuno-oncology programs closer to the clinic.  

Walking Fish Therapeutics 

Advancing a pipeline of B cell therapeutics, Walking Fish Therapeutics scored $73 million for its journey. The California company has already demonstrated positive preclinical data across multiple indications. Its programs include oncology, rare disease, regenerative medicine, autoimmune disease, and recombinant antibody production. The Series A funds will accelerate Walking Fish’s platform development.  

EyeBio 

Launching with $65 million in Series A funds, U.K.-based EyeBio is bringing a new generation of therapies to protect, restore and improve vision for people living with eye diseases. The pipeline is still under construction as the company seeks to expand with partners for in-licensing and acquisition of assets in the company’s portfolio. Co-founder Dr. Anthony Adamis comes to EyeBio’s advisory board from Genetech where he served as SVP of development innovation. Adamis is credited with having overseen as many as 25 FDA approvals already.  

Beta Bionics 

Beta is gearing up to finalize the design, development and launch of its AI-powered insulin delivery device. The Massachusetts MedTech company completed a $57 million Series C round to fund the iLet Bionic Pancreas System through to commercialization. The iLet is a wearable medical device designed to autonomously deliver insulin to the user, automatically adjusting based on the needs of the type 1 diabetes patient. T1D is a burdensome disease to manage day-to-day, with 80% of patients not meeting their HbA1c goal. BetaBionics already has the device in a pivotal trial, with plans to use results to push the device through for FDA clearance. In 2019, the device was granted Breakthrough Device Status, meaning it should get a quicker review timeframe.  

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