Money on the Move: Sparing Vision, RayzeBio, Nimbus and More Garner Funds
This week was rife with Series financings, which channeled money into innovative treatments for immune diseases and cancers, genomic treatments and precision healthcare.
With $75M, Sparing Vision Sets Sights on Genomic Medicines for Eye Diseases
Paris-based Sparing Vision closed its Series B round of financing Wednesday, counting nearly $75 million in earnings. The company is earmarking these funds to launch the first-in-human trials for its two lead assets, SPVN06 and SPVN20.
SPVN06 is a gene-independent candidate being tested against inherited retinal diseases and dry age-related macular degeneration. Sparing Vision is expecting the first safety data by next year and initial proof-of-concept readouts in 2025. Regulatory submissions for SPVN06 are underway. Also gene-independent, SPVN20 is designed to be synergistic with SPVN06, helping restore visual acuity and color vision in advanced retinitis pigmentosa.
The Series B proceeds will also help develop SPVN50, its genome-editing asset, in collaboration with the Cambridge, MA-based Intellia Therapeutics. The ocular target for SPVN50 remains undisclosed.
RayzeBio Raises $160M in Series D
RayzeBio, Inc. announced Tuesday the closing of its Series D financing, which earned the radiopharma company $160 million. The proceeds will allow Rayze to reach several major clinical and operational value inflection points.
Since its operations in August 2020, the San Diego, CA-based company has advanced its lead solid tumor candidate RYZ101 to the clinic and is currently enrolling for a Phase Ib study. A Phase III trial could begin as early as next year, and RYZ101 could become the first approved drug that uses Actinium-255, a strong alpha-emitting radioisotope. Its most recent funding brings Rayze’s total of $418 million.
The Series D was co-led by Viking Global Investors, Sofinnova Investments and Wellington Management. Rayze earned new investors in this latest funding round, including Sands Capital, Soleus Capital and Ally Bridge Group.
Series C Pumps $300M into Acelyrin’s Psoriatic Arthritis Immunotherapy
Its recent Series C financing round earned immunology-focused Acelyrin, Inc. $300 million. The company will funnel these proceeds into the Phase III development of its IL-17A inhibitor candidate, izokibep, funding it through to the submission of a biologic license application for psoriatic arthritis and axial spondyloarthritis.
Izokibep has just recently cleared Phase II assessments. Data presented at the 2022 Congress of the European Alliance of Associations for Rheumatology (EULAR) showed that due to its high potency and small molecular size, izokibep was able to resolve historically difficult-to-treat aspects of psoriatic arthritis using monoclonal antibodies. In light of these findings, Phase III plans were accelerated.
Acelyrin will also use its Series C earnings to assess the potential of izokibep in other diseases, such as hidradenitis suppurativa and uveitis, as well as explore potential new indications for the candidate. The company is likewise looking for high-value business opportunities to expand its portfolio.
Relay Puts $26.50 Price Tag on Common Stock
Clinical-stage company Relay Therapeutics announced Monday that it was taking a public offering price of $26.50 per share. With 11,320,755 shares of common stock up for sale, the company is expecting gross proceeds of approximately $300 million. Underwriters are also given 30 days to purchase up to 1,698,113 additional shares.
This price announcement comes a day after Relay revealed late-breaking interim Phase I/II data for RLY-4008, its investigational oral FGFR2 inhibitor. The data presented at the 2022 Congress of the European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO) showed an 88% overall response rate in cholangiocarcinoma (CCA) patients after 70-mg, once-daily treatment with RLY-4008, with manageable and mostly reversible side effects. More CCA and non-CCA data for RLY-4008 are expected next year.
Private Financing Gives Nimbus $125M to Advance Autoimmune, Oncology Programs
Scoring $125 million in private financing, Nimbus Therapeutics will see the completion of the Phase IIb study for NDI-034858, its oral TYK2 allosteric inhibitor candidate for moderate-to-severe plaque psoriasis and active psoriatic arthritis.
Proceeds will also help the Cambridge, MA-based company to begin a Phase III trial for its candidate and initiate other Phase IIb trials in other indications, including lupus and inflammatory bowel diseases.
Nimbus will likewise channel the private financing into another candidate, NDI-101150, an HPK1 inhibitor in Phase I/II trials for solid tumors. The money will also support the company’s preclinical development programs for Werner syndrome helicase and Casitas B-lineage lymphoma B, as well as other discovery efforts.
Nimbus scored two new investors during the private financing: Bain Capital Life Sciences and SV Health Investors.
Forge Bags $90M in Series C to Expand Client Offerings
On Monday, Forge Biologics earned $90 million in its Series C financing round co-led by Drive Capital and Aisling Capital, along with an undisclosed strategic investor. This sum brings Forge’s funding total to $330 million.
In recent years, the Ohio CDMO has expanded its capacities by developing new facilities, advancing technologies and hiring new talent. Forge has a manufacturing footprint of over 200,000 square feet, encompassing 20 cGMP suites housing up to 5,000-L bioreactors. In terms of technology, the company has also scaled its proprietary HEK 293 suspension platform to 1,000 L, while forming an independent expert advisory board to guide its gene therapy manufacturing offerings.
The Ohio CDMO plans on using the Series C proceeds to continue this growth and translate these new capacities into client services and products, including cell lines, manufacturing systems and proprietary processes and platforms.
$1B Investment to Help Verily Push Precision Health Initiatives
Alphabet’s health science spin-off Verily has won $1 billion in investments, which the young company will use to generate real-world evidence, establish and advance healthcare data platforms, promote research and care initiatives, as well as develop underlying technologies for all of these. Verily’s goal is to improve healthcare overall and develop treatments and care protocols tailored to individual patients.
The spin-off is also keeping its doors open to strategic partnerships, global business development collaborations and potential acquisitions. Alphabet led the investment round.
Alongside its $1-billion windfall, Verily has made essential changes to its leadership structure. Founder Andy Conrad now serves as the executive chairman of the company’s board, while its current president Stephen Gillet will become its chief executive officer. Both role changes will be effective in January next year.