Money on the Move: Scholar Rock, Alladapt, Carbon, Elucid and More


Funding for life sciences companies picked up this week as investors pumped new money into firms developing treatments for spinal muscular atrophy (SMA), immuno-oncology, allergies and rare diseases, among other disease areas. 

Scholar Rock Touts $205M in Financing, Phase II SMA Data 

Scholar Rock, which aims to contribute deep, structural insight to disease spaces including SMA, oncology, immuno-oncology and fibrosis, announced a $205 million registered direct offering on June 17. 

The new funds will pave the way for Scholar Rock's clinical programs, with the company particularly highlighting the expectation of a Phase III topline data readout for lead candidate apitegromab in SMA and the development of SRK-181, a context-independent latent TGFβ1, which is currently being assessed in Phase I for immuno-oncology purposes.  

Also on Friday, the company announced extension data from its Phase II trial of apitegromab. While the results appear to have been impacted by different variables, Scholar Rock President and CEO Nagesh Mahanthappa, Ph.D. said the data "support apitegromab's potential to meaningfully improve the lives of non-ambulatory patients" in this population. 

Novartis-Backed Alladapt Reels in $119M for Pivotal Trial

Menlo Park, CA-based Alladapt Immunotherapeutics is developing novel medicines to address IgE-mediated food allergies, and it now has $119 million more dollars to do so. 

The new money will propel the ongoing clinical development of ADP101, Alladapt's lead product candidate, and enable the company to prepare for the launch of a potential pivotal trial. Alladapt will also allocate the new funds toward building its manufacturing facility and expanding the product pipeline.

The funding for the private clinical-stage biopharma company was led by Enavate Sciences and included participation from Alladapt’s founding investor, Gurnet Point Capital, along with new investors Allerfund, Novartis, Red Tree Venture Capital and WestRiver Group.

MicroTransponder Nets $53M Infusion to Commercialize VNS

Austin, Texas-based MicroTransponder received an infusion of $53 million from an oversubscribed Series E round supported by US Venture Partners, GPG Ventures, Exceller Hunt Ventures and several others.

The company plans to use the money to commercialize its Vivistim Paired Vagus Nerve Stimulation (VNS) for rehabilitation intervention for stroke survivors. Vivistim is designed to help people suffering from neurological conditions that impair sensory and motor function.

Longwood's Carbon Biosciences Out of the Gate 

Boston’s latest life sciences company, Carbon Biosciences, launched Tuesday with $38 million in Series A financing led by Agent Capital, with participation from founding investor Longwood Fund, Astellas Venture Management LLC, the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation and more. 

Carbon, which is focused on the development of novel parvovirus-derived gene therapies, said it will use the money to advance the development of its programs for genetic diseases including cystic fibrosis. 

“Our vision is to enable a new generation of genetic medicines with differentiated vectors that have the potential to address the immunological, targeting and payload limitations inherent in current viral and non-viral delivery technologies,"  Carbon CEO and president Joel Schneider, Ph.D. said. "As the first jointly funded program launched under a collaborative agreement between the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation and Longwood Fund, we are motivated by the potential impact our research may have in significantly improving care for cystic fibrosis patients."  

Elucid Scores $27M Series B to Characterize Cardiovascular Disease

Another Boston-based company, Elucid, received a $27 million Series B financing round that will be used to develop a novel, non-invasive medical software to comprehensively characterize cardiovascular disease.

Elucid's platform is the only FDA-Cleared and CE-Marked software to objectively quantify plaque morphology validated against tissue specimens.

"Elucid is committed to providing physicians the most rigorously validated diagnostic platform to fight cardiovascular disease. Every patient is different and needs to be treated specific to his or her individual disease," Elucid's chief executive officer, Blake Richards said. 

The funding was led by an undisclosed investor and was joined by Biovision Ventures, a new Europe-based fund, and existing investors including MedTex Ventures, IAG Capital, Bold Brain Ventures and BlueStone Venture Partners.

Investors Offer Up $12M for New Rare Disease Model

Still in Genetown, Vibe Bio launched with $12 million in funding and will concentrate on identifying and developing treatments for rare diseases.

A number of companies were involved with the financing including Initialized Capital, Naval Ravikant, Balaji Srinivasan and 6th Man Ventures. 

Vibe Bio calls itself "a new kind biotech company" building a community of patients, scientists and partners by identifying promising treatments for rare and overlooked diseases and funding their development.

“The challenge for rare diseases isn’t necessarily finding a treatment – it’s funding it,” said Alok Tayi, Ph.D., co-founder and CEO of Vibe Bio. “For the first time, Vibe Bio is giving patients with rare and overlooked diseases access to the funding and community support they need to develop cures and ownership over the results.”

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