Money on the Move: October 20 – 26

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While the volatility of the market has some shying away from going public, private investment dollars are still rolling in each week. Check out our top picks.  

DNA Script

DNA Script has created the human biology version of the at-home 3D printers with its custom, DNA printing on-demand platform. With $165 million in fresh funding from a Series C financing round, the company will accelerate the commercialization of its revolutionary SYNTAX platform and expand its portfolio of Enzymatic DNA Synthesis, or EDS-powered products. “We believe DNA printers have the potential to become as ubiquitous as sequencers and microscopes,” said Aaron Weiner, managing director and head of Healthcare at Coatue Management, who co-led the financing round.   

Cambrian Biopharma

Cambrian is all about preventing illness before it even occurs. The company is tackling age-related diseases through a wheel-and-spoke approach, operating as a Distributed Development Company. With its largest raise to date, an oversubscribed Series C worth $100 million, the biotech will support the advancement and expansion of its pipeline. The programs include 14 therapeutics in development across 12 partner companies with focus areas including molecular alteration, cellular dysfunction, and tissue degeneration. Three or more programs are anticipated in clinical trials in the next 18 months.   

ShouTi, Inc.

From San Francisco to Shanghai, ShouTi uses computational chemistry, structural biology and large-scale data integration to replace biologics and peptides with better-acting small molecule drugs. With a fresh $100 million in the bank, the company is advancing its platform to treat chronic disease in the areas of cardiovascular, metabolic and pulmonary conditions. It’s lead candidate is a drug for pulmonary arterial hypertension – high blood pressure in the lungs and heart.  Already in Phase 1 testing, the safety study for the drug will wrap in Australia early next year. ShouTi’s type 2 diabetes trial is a hopeful for starting around that time as well.  

Cedilla Therapeutics 

Cedilla Therapeutics roped in another $25 million to raise its 2020 Series B total to $82.6 million for the Cambridge biotech. Cedilla brings a “new dimension to precision oncology” by selectively inhibiting cancerous drivers by conditionally modulating proteins with small molecules.  Its lead program is headed to IND studies to inhibit the function of TEAD for solid tumors and certain squamous cell carcinomas. A second program targets CDK2, as a safer alternative to traditional kinase inhibitors, which often come with off-target side effects.  

ReCode Therapeutics

Following the trail blazed by Vertex, ReCode is moving closer to the clinic with its mRNA-based therapeutics for pulmonary diseases. With its proprietary lipid nanoparticle delivery platform, ReCode believes it can fill in the gap for cystic fibrosis patients who don’t produce a therapeutic response from Vertex’s leading drugs for CF. In addition to its CF program, an inhaled mRNA program is showing “robust ciliary activity” in patients with primary ciliary dyskinesia (PCD), a rare genetic condition that leads to chronic lung, ear and sinus infections in children and adults. There are currently no approved therapies for PCD. This week’s $80 million Series B will fund the company through the next two years of IND-enabling studies for its PCD and CF assets.  

Quanta Therapeutics 

Chasing after RAS-driven cancer types, Quanta Therapeutics brought in old investors and new for this $60 million Series C. The RAS mutation is activated in nearly a third of all human cancers. Funds from this round will funnel into Quanta’s programs targeting RAF1 and KRAS through IND filing to reach proof-of-concept. The team hopes their approach will triumph over the RAS mutation resistance mechanisms the first generation of inhibitors encountered.  

Juventas Cell Therapy 

Ready to pursue and NDA in China for its CAR-T program, Juventas scooped up $63 million in Series C funding round to pave the way through approval and commercialization. Partner CASI Pharmaceuticals bought the worldwide rights to the drug in 2019 with an $11.6 million investment. The program targets CD19 for hematological cancers like certain leukemias and lymphomas. While Juventas does the legwork, CASI will share global co-commercial and profit-sharing rights. Juventas also has a CD19/CD20 CAR-T candidate in pre-IND development for non-Hodgkin lymphoma.   

Mozart Therapeutics 

Backed by big names like Eli Lilly, Merck and Bayer, Mozart Therapeutics closed a $55 million Series A to “orchestrating a novel regulatory network to restore immune balance.” Targeting regulatory CD8 T-cells, the therapies act by suppressing disease-causing immune cells to prevent or fight multiple sclerosis and celiac disease, with potential to treat type 1 diabetes and IBS as well. With a current headcount of 13, Mozart plans to add in more staffers to bolster its research arm and product development areas. Currently set up near Seattle’s waterfront with other small biotech tenants, the company is already looking for a bigger site, planning for future growth.   

Click Therapeutics

“Digital therapeutics hold the promise to change the very paradigm of healthcare,” said Alex Zisson, Managing Director at H.I.G. BioHealth joining Click's Board of Directors in conjunction with the company’s investment. Thanks to an upsized $52 million Series B round, Click is rolling towards commercialization of its internal prescription digital therapeutic pipeline. From chronic pain to psychiatry, cardiometabolic to autoimmune disorders, the company’s pipeline is stacked. Click’s smoking cessation program is already available nationwide, and its fully remote trial for the treatment of Major Depressive Disorder, developed in collaboration with Otsuka, is underway. 

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