Money on the Move: June 2-8
Things are warming up quickly this summer for life sciences investors. Here’s who’s coming in hot with cash this week.
Closing on its fourth life sciences fund, venBio rounded up $550 million to invest in drug companies developing therapies for unmet medical needs. Since its inception in 2011, the VC firm has raised nearly $1.5 billion in capital commitments and led investment rounds in 34 companies. “We remain committed to our unique approach and strategy and hope the results speak for themselves – our portfolio companies have delivered four drugs to market for six clinical indications, and another seven drug candidates are demonstrating promising late-stage efficacy,” said the fund’s managing partner Robert Adelman.
With $160 million in fresh Series B funds, Monogram Health is expanding its kidney disease benefit management for patients with renal failure across the U.S. The platform helps patients manage their chronic kidney disease (CKD) and end-stage renal disease at home. Partnering with health plans, this data-driven, in-home specialist care approach improves patient outcomes and dramatically reduces costs for the health care system. Over 10% of the adult U.S. population suffers from CKD, with many cases untreated until final stages of the disease. Currentlt, Monogram operates services across 20 states with a growing network of specialists.
Pioneering the field of Targeted Protein Stabilization, Stablix emerged from stealth mode with a $63 million Series A. The opposite approach of the popular protein degradation track, protein stabilization reinforces the body’s mechanisms. A large number of diseases are the result of insufficient levels of specific proteins. Stablix’s platform removes ubiquitin (destroy) tags from specific proteins to stabilize and drive increases in target protein levels and activity. Without disclosing specifics, Stablix will be in the areas of rare disease, cancer and immunological disorders. The company pointed to cystic fibrosis as a disease that could benefit from its approach.
Expanding into the next generation of smart lab solutions, Strateos scooped up $56.1 million Series B funds to accelerate life science discovery. Strateos’ SmartLab platform integrates data generation and AI-enablement for a more automated R&D process. “Life science research needs faster, more reliable and lower cost data to fully leverage artificial intelligence-powered analysis tools,” said Mark Fischer-Colbrie, CEO at Strateos. “Our unique fleet of lab automation modules, which can be accessed from anywhere in the world, speed the design-make-test-analyze cycle and generate clean, AI-enabled data. ...Strateos is re-imagining the world of life science research and ushering in a new era of decentralized discovery.”
Population genomics and COVID-19 testing company Helix rounded up $50 million in its Series C funding to grow its genomics platform and COVID-19 testing and viral surveillance efforts. The platform enables companies to accelerate integration of genomic data into clinical care. "In healthcare, the goal is to achieve more personalized, preventative and population-based healthcare. A central part of this is identifying people at risk for genetic conditions earlier and more broadly," said Amr Kronfol, managing director at Warburg Pincus, a Helix investor. Helix is also leveraging its sequencing to detect, characterize and better understand the impact of emerging COVID-19 strains.
Following Series A and B raises, entrinsic scooped up another $49 million this week in growth capital from Jefferies Group funding. According to entrinsic’s CEO, the company’s platform is “a new modality for creating functional ingredients and active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) that are highly efficacious, safe, and cost effective.” Originally launched with a grant from NASA|BARDA, its approach utilizes protein and ion channel modulation. Funds will be used to support commercialization efforts underway with leading OTC, CPG and therapeutic companies.
In a financing round co-led by Korean-based Mirae Asset Capital, England biotech Iksuda raked in $47 million to develop lead antibody drug conjugate assets and expand its platform technologies. The company’s lead pre-clinical ADC candidate, IKS03 targets CD19 for B-cell cancers. These new funds will propel IKS03 to first-in-human phase I clinical trials, as well as bring two earlier-stage programs to IND filings. Iksuda’s programs target tumors with high relapse rates and limited treatment options.
Brain interference platform company Synchron landed $40 million in a Series B round. Through jugular vein access, Synchron lead the way in minimally invasive implantable brain computer interface technology. An Australian clinical trial is underway with four patients already with device implantation to hopefully improve their functional independence. These funds will be used to launch a pivotal study in the US for patients with limb paralysis and develop a pipeline of neurointerventional sensing and stimulating products.