Money on the Move: January 21-26

Piggy Bank

A brief rundown of who’s raking in cash in the biopharma world.

TScan Therapeutics

With $100 million in the pocket after a successful Series C, TScan is ready to bring two cancer therapies into the clinic. TScan is developing allogenic, off-the-shelf T cell cancer therapies based on the company’s T cell receptor (TCR) technology that target tumor antigens. INDs are anticipated soon for the two lead candidates aimed at hematological cancers – acute myeloid leukemia, myelodysplastic syndrome and T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia.

“Recently, we have identified over 40 novel cancer targets from clinically active TCRs for development of multiplexed TCR-T cell therapies as part of our solid tumor program,” Southwell said. “Our goal is to continue to build a bank of clinically-active TCRs throughout 2021.”

Plexium, Inc.

Working in the new and exciting protein-degradation space, Plexium brought in more cash this week to target E3 ligases, the enzymes that drive recognition of protein targets. Extending its Series A from October 2019, the biotech completed a $35 million raise, bringing the cumulative total to $63 million.

Working to drug the “undruggable” proteins, the first area of focus will be cancer and neurodegenerative diseases. The funds will accelerate the monovalent degraders through preclinical development and support Plexium’s research efforts.

"The field of protein degradation is one of the most rapidly advancing and promising categories in biotech today.  Plexium is breaking new ground in the field with its novel DELPhe platform which provides researchers with the right tools to pick a target and selectively degrade it using a small molecule,” said Plexium’s new addition to the company’s board, Mike Grey.

Nirogy Therapeutics

While many new biotechs are focused on cutting-edge gene therapies, there’s still a seat available at the table for small molecule makers too. Boston-based Nirogy proves that by launching this week with a $16.5 million Series A to fight cancer with a largely unexplored target. Nirogy’s drugs go after the solute carrier family of transporter proteins (SLCTs). These proteins are embedded in the cell membrane and act as gatekeepers of a number of functions, including nutrient uptake and metabolite disposal. Due to the complex structures of SLCTs, they’ve not yet been effectively targeted.

“Our team’s strength in computational modeling, medicinal chemistry and cancer biology has enabled us to overcome the challenge of drugging these critical untapped targets,” said the company’s CEO.

Success in this area could yield over 450 druggable targets and open new treatment options for life-threatening diseases. The lead program should be ready to take to the clinic in 2022.

MIVI Neuroscience, Inc.

This stroke-focused medical device company scooped up $35 million in a Series B to fund clinical trials for MIVI’s products. Specializing in products to improve patient outcomes for neurointerventional procedures, the company’s lead devices are DAISe Thrombectomy System and Q Aspiration System. The DAISe system is designed to improve clot retrieval while reducing the risk of clot loss with a delivery similar to a stent-retriever. It’s currently in development and not yet for sale.

Funds will also be used to expand MIVI’s commercial operations outside the US and drive the development of new devices.

"The mechanical thrombectomy market is expected to grow substantially over the coming years. This investment ensures that MIVI is well positioned to capitalize on this tremendous opportunity and we couldn't be more excited about our future,” said board chairman Fred Moll.

Ambulero, Inc.

Partnering with Orphinic Scientific as an investor, Ambulero took in $5.5 million to advance its gene therapies for vascular diseases. As part of the deal, the two companies formed a Polish subsidiary to lead clinical testing in Europe for a rare vascular disease that is more common in parts of Central and Eastern Europe.  

“We are excited to participate in a global development of Ambulero’s breakthrough gene therapy that has a potential to reduce risk of limb ulcers and amputation in patients affected by vascular diseases,” said Dr. Artur Plonowski, Partner and CMO at Orphinic.

Companies with IPO Announcements

More companies have been jumping on the IPO bandwagon than ever. As Wugen CEO John McKearn told BioSpace, he’s wanting to take the company public “as fast as we can move.” Clearly many biotechs are – check out the list of recent IPO news here.

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