Money on the Move: SwanBio, Remix, Locus, Mirvie and More
Investors are seeking out biotech companies that create unique technologies to solve problems. Recent money on the move saw funding support for a platform that selectively degrades DNA, software to help read mammograms and a company using corn genetics to develop cancer-targeting viruses.
Founding investors Syncona Limited and Mass General Brigham Ventures led a Series B financing round for SwanBio Therapeutics. Together, they raised $56 million, bringing SwanBio’s total funds raised to $133 million.
The new money will support the company as it evolves into a fully integrated research and development organization. A main priority is the clinical advancement of SBT101, the first clinical-stage AAV-based gene therapy candidate for the treatment of adrenomyeloneuropathy. The drug received a Fast Track designation and an Orphan Drug designation, and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration cleared an Investigational New Drug Application for the drug earlier in 2022.
In addition to SBT101, the funding will help develop other therapies for monogenic and polygenic disorders.
North Carolina-based Locus Biosciences announced a $35 million financing, which included a Series B equity financing as well as the conversion of an earlier convertible note. The funding included investors such as Artis Ventures, Viking Global Investors, Discovery Innovations and Johnson and Johnson Innovation – JJDC, Inc.
The funding will support Locus’ lead candidate LBP-EC01, a crPhage precision medicine targeting Escherichia coli (E. coli) bacteria. The company plans to advance the drug into a registrational Phase II/III trial. The funding will also support in-house manufacturing capabilities and the expansion of Locus’s discovery platform engine.
A $70 million Series B financing will help Cambridge, Massachusetts-based Remix Therapeutics hone its proprietary technology platform. The platform uses data analytics to identify and reprogram RNA processing to enhance protein function, eliminate protein function or correct dysregulation in order to treat genetic diseases. Remix is collaborating with Janssen Pharmaceutica NV, part of Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies, to develop small-molecule therapeutics that modulate RNA processing.
The funding was led by existing investors such as Foresite Capital, Arch Venture Partners, Casdin Capital and Atlas Venture, as well as a new investor, Surveyor.
"This financing will support further development of our REMaster platform, which enables the design of molecules that can selectively degrade RNA, enhance RNA expression, induce exon skipping, or rescue genetic lesions,” said Peter Smith, Ph.D., co-founder and CEO of Remix. “This technology will transform how diseases are treated."
San Francisco-based Mirvie raised $60 million in a Series B round of funding, bringing its financing to a total of $90 million. The funding, led by Decheng Capital, included many venture capital firms, as well as a new investor: Allyson Felix, a seven-time Olympic gold medalist and maternal health advocate. Felix and her daughter survived severe preeclampsia, and now Felix is supporting Mirvie’s mission of understanding the underlying biology of each pregnancy to improve maternal health. The funding from the Series B will help Mirvie continue developing its RNA platform, which can predict preeclampsia months before patients experience life-threatening complications.
In a Series B round of funding, Minnesota-based Vyriad pulled in $29.5 million. This brings the company’s total raised funds to over $100 million, thanks to existing investors such as Mayo Clinic, Regeneron Pharmaceuticals and the Southeast Minnesota Capital Fund, as well as new investors such as Mr. Harry Stine of Stine Seed Farms. Stine Seed Farms develops corn and soybean seeds through genetic breeding programs.
“I was amazed to learn that Vyriad's approach for developing safe, effective, cancer-targeted oncolytic viruses closely mirrors the Stine Seed model of high throughput screening, selection and commercialization of novel soybean and corn strains," said Dr. Stephen Russell, co-founder and CEO of Vyriad.
Privately held Vyriad will use the funds to advance its pipeline of oncolytic viruses that can be used, either alone or in combination with other therapies, to fight cancer, using the high-throughput genetics model that Stine used to develop agricultural germplasms.
Cynosure’s lead investor, Clayton, Dubilier & Rice, pledged $60 million in funding to help the company continue innovating and bringing medical aesthetics technologies to market. Cynosure has seen explosive growth recently, with sales growing over 45% in 2021 and over 30% year-over-year in the first quarter of 2022.
"Medical aesthetics is a large market with strong macro tailwinds that have only gotten stronger across the globe since our initial investment," said Derek Strum, a partner at Clayton, Dubilier & Rice. "We believe Cynosure is well-positioned to build on its momentum and capture both organic and inorganic growth opportunities."
After a seed round of financing in 2019, clinical-stage biotech company Genascence closed a $10.5 million Series A financing. Pacira BioSciences, a leading non-opioid pain management company, led the funding with support from Polymerase Capital, the University of Florida Research Foundation and DeepWork Capital. The goal of the funding is to advance the company’s gene therapies for musculoskeletal diseases. One of the priorities is to advance GNSC-001, the company's lead program in osteoarthritis. GNSC-001 is a genetic medicine called a recombinant adeno-associated vector and it has an inhibitor of interleukin-1, a key mediator in the pathogenesis of osteoarthritis.
Germany-based Tubulis completed a Series B financing worth €60 million (USD $63 million). The funding, led by Andera Partners, also involved new investors Evotec and Fund+. Tubulis develops antibody-drug conjugates (ADCs), and with the funding, the company hopes to advance its proprietary pipeline of ADCs towards clinical evaluation. Tubulis also plans to introduce programs addressing a range of solid tumor indications.
“This funding emphasizes that Tubulis is uniquely positioned to consolidate the findings of the last 20 years in the ADC field and translate this understanding into meaningful therapeutic benefits for patients,” said Dominik Schumacher, Ph.D., CEO and co-founder of Tubulis.
Several new investors joined OMass Therapeutics’ Series B financing to raise $100 million in total. Investors such as Sanofi Ventures, Northpond Ventures and GV joined veteran backers Oxford Science Enterprises, Oxford University and Syncona to gather funding for OMass’s portfolio of highly validated target ecosystem medicines for membrane- and complex-bound proteins. Specifically, the funding will help the company develop an antagonist of the MC2 receptor to help treat congenital adrenal hyperplasia.
San Francisco-based Curebase gathered $40 million in a Series B round of funding. Industry Ventures led the round, along with existing investors GGV Capital, Bold Capital and Xfund and new investors such as Acrew Capital, Positive Sum and World Innovation Lab. The round also included an investment from Gilead Sciences.
Since 2017, Curebase has raised $59 million to achieve its mission of democratizing access to clinical studies. The Series B funding will specifically go toward developing an end-to-end clinical trial execution model, furthering its eClinical software platform, honing its virtual and hybrid site capacities and enriching its capabilities for interventional drug sponsors and global studies.
China-based InxMed completed a $15 million Series B+ financing. Funded by Hyfinity Investments, the financing will help the company accelerate clinical trials in China and the United States of its highly selective adenosine triphosphate competitive FAK inhibitor called IN10018.
IN10018 received a Fast Track Designation from the FDA in August 2021. With the Series B+ funds, InxMed will actively explore global partnership opportunities to accelerate more value inflections of IN10018 and other programs.
Private autologous cell therapy company Aspen Neuroscience closed a Series B funding worth $147.5 million. GV, LYFE Capital and Revelation Partners co-led the round, along with support from new investors as well as some Series A and seed funding teams. Together, they have now raised more than $220 million for Aspen.
The goal of the funding is to support a patient Screening Cohort study and a Phase I/II post-IND submission study for ANPD001, which is designed to help treat Parkinson’s disease.
Domain Therapeutics closed a $42 million Series A financing. Co-led by Panacea Venture, CTI Life Sciences and 3B Future Health Fund, the round also included several new investors and one existing investor, Seventure Partners.
Domain is a biopharmaceutical company developing new drug candidates targeting G Protein-Coupled Receptors (GPCRs), a class of drug targets. The funding will support the company as it clinically develops its EP4R antagonist, DT-9081, as well as advances two other CPCR programs and progresses its pipeline for first-in-class assets targeting GPCRs.
In an oversubscribed Series B round of financing, Invetx raised $60.5 million. F-Prime Capital, Novo Holdings, GV and Eight Roads co-led the round with support from existing investors such as Anterra Capital and Casdin Capital.
Invetx, which develops protein-based therapeutics for animal health, will use the funds to advance its pipeline of monoclonal antibody products for chronic and serious diseases in dogs and cats.
“With the support of several top-tier investors in this latest financing, Invetx is well-capitalized to continue advancing its novel veterinary products towards approval and commercialization,” said Invetx CEO Juergen Horn, PhD.
When Therapixel closed its Series B financing, it had raised 15 M€ (USD$15.76 million). The funding was led by Crédit Mutuel Innovation and CapHorn along with support from existing investors such as Omnes, IT-Translation, M-Capital and Région Sud Investissement. With the investors’ financial backing, Therapixel will expand its presence in the U.S. and launch more features for its MammoScreen® AI software for reading mammography.