Money on the Move: November 17 – 23
Plenty to be thankful for this week for these biopharma companies, especially with the influx of cash.
This one-year-old biotech is “pioneering the field of Generative Biology,” to program novel protein therapeutics to perform “almost any desired biological function.” And with last week’s massive $370 million Series B round, Generate’s got the cash to beat a path to the clinic for its developmental programs while advancing its technology platform. The platform uses machine-learning tech to understand the underlying genetic code that guides the function of proteins.
While Generate is keeping its lead candidate and target under wraps, it has revealed a portfolio of therapeutic candidates for SARS-CoV-2 neutralization, including antibodies and peptides that target multiple epitopes on the spike protein peptide. The company also plans to rapidly scale the employee headcount from 80 to 500 in the next two years to support two state-of-the-art facilities to expand its capabilities.
A fresh face in Genetown, Chroma Medicine planted its flag last week with $125 million in seed and Series A funds for epigenetic medicines. Epigenetic editing harnesses nature’s innate mechanism for gene regulating. Another player keeping mum for now as to their pipeline aspirations, Chroma’s chief said the company has an opportunity to target a range of diseases that can be addressed by both in vivo and ex vivo approaches. “We can activate genes, we can silence genes, and we can multiplex—we can use a combination of activating and silencing,” said CEO Catherine Stehman-Breen, M.D.
Led by Sino Biopharmaceutical and 3W fund Management, Treadwell Scooped up over $91 million in its oversubscribed Series B round. Focused on cross-modality meds for cancer, this raise will finance the company’s pipeline. It’s three lead candidates are targeting solid tumors, leukemia and metastatic ER+ breast cancer, as monotherapies and in combination with currently approved drugs. Treadwell is also expanding the company’s headcount and infrastructure.
Sense has bumped up its Series B game another $15 million, bringing its round total to $65 million. The Boston and Oxford-based company, if approved, has the first and only instrument-free, single use, rapid point-of-care COVID-19 test that produces PCR-quality lab results within 15 minutes. Fast, accessible and accurate testing is key to limiting the spread of COVID-19 infection. With an Emergency Use Authorization already submitted the US FDA, Sense has these funds earmarked for commercial launch of its product in the US and Europe.
Heating up the protein degradation competition space, Avilar joined the game with seed financing to the tune of $60 million from RA Capital Management. With a platform of novel degraders called ATACs, the tech has the potential of treating a wide range of disease by carrying disease-causing proteins from the body’s circulatory system to nature’s garbage can for disposal. This early in the game, targets have yet to be voiced for the company. Avilar is taking protein degradation beyond the thus-far conventional intracellular protein targets to extracellular ones.
Digital products are a rising field in the healthcare world with apps helping to treat conditions to IBS to insomnia and more. Leading the UK in digital mental healthcare, ieso is striving to address the crisis which is our mental health by creating autonomous therapists intended to match the high standards of human care, at a drastically lower cost. With $53 million in hand from its latest Series B, ieso is ready to face the grueling approval process for its AI-enabled tools in the US and UK to bring this tech to market. The company is already partnered with NHS to bring its digital therapy to patients in need.
Founded in 2017, this San Diego biotech is working on solutions for diseases dirven by protein misfolding. Last week’s $51 million Series A will drive Protego's new class of disease-modifying to the clinic while expanding the company’s discovery platform. A slew of hard-to-treat diseases involve misfolded proteins including Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, cystic fibrosis and more. Protego was co-founded by a leader in the field, whose research already led to a biotech to have a disease-modifying therapy approved for hereditary transthyretin amyloidosis, which was then scooped up by Pfizer in 2010. “Protego is building on compelling science to develop small molecule therapeutics targeting protein misfolding, which is increasingly recognized as an underlying cause in many chronic degenerative diseases, and an area with enormous unmet medical need,” said the company’s CEO.