Nvelop and Seaport Raise $100M in Rounds, Tap Bluebird and Karuna Execs

C-suite strategies

Pictured: Photo illustration of hundred dollar bill and graph/iStock, Darren415

Two biotech companies, Nvelop Therapeutics and Seaport Therapeutics, emerged from stealth Tuesday with $100 million in financing as they look to target the neuropsychiatric and gene editing spaces, respectively.

Seaport is the next venture by some of the key people behind Karuna Therapeutics, the schizophrenia drug developer that Bristol Myers Squibb recently acquired for $14 billion.

Daphne Zohar, the founding CEO of PureTech Health and co-founder of Karuna, has helped to set up Seaport and will serve as its CEO. Steven Paul, the Eli Lilly veteran who led Karuna to the BMS buyout, is founder and chair of the board of directors at Seaport. The pair have closed a $100 million Series A financing round that was co-led by ARCH Venture Partners and Sofinnova Investments.

Boston-based Seaport will use the money to advance a clinical-stage pipeline of novel neuropsychiatric medicines based on its Glyph technology platform. Glyph is PureTech’s answer to the question of how to traffic small molecule therapeutics directly into the lymphatic system via oral administration. PureTech created Seaport in 2023 to advance certain central nervous system programs.

Seaport’s pipeline is led by SPT-3001, an oral prodrug of the endogenous neurosteroid allopregnanolone, that is in development in anxious depression. Allopregnanolone has shown promise in neuropsychiatric conditions but is currently given intravenously, leading PureTech to identify it as a good fit for Glyph and take the candidate, then known as LYT-300, through a Phase IIa trial in acute anxiety.

Seaport is also the new home for LYT-320, a prodrug of agomelatine that PureTech disclosed late in 2023. The candidate, now known as SPT-3202, is designed to bypass first-pass metabolism by the liver, enabling the treatment of generalized anxiety disorder at lower doses and eliminating the need to monitor liver function.

Massachusetts-based Nvelop was founded in 2022 and has raised $100 million from investors including Newpath Partners, Atlas Venture, F-Prime Capital and 5AM Ventures to fund the development of programmable, non-viral vehicles for the in vivo delivery of therapeutic cargo.

Nvelop’s platforms are based on two approaches developed at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard and Massachusetts General Hospital by its co-founders David Liu and Keith Joung. Using the platforms, Nvelop hopes to enable delivery of genetic medicines, which have largely been limited to the eyes and liver to date, to cells and tissues that have been historically difficult to reach.

The biotech named the diversity of the cargo that the vehicles can carry and safety as other potential advantages over the array of other delivery platforms that companies are developing to unlock the full power of genetic therapies.

Jeff Walsh and ​Melissa Bonner, the former chief financial officer and head of research of bluebird respectively, have come on board to oversee the development of the platforms. Walsh has taken up the CEO post and Bonner is serving as chief scientific officer.

Nick Paul Taylor is a freelance pharmaceutical and biotech writer based in London. He can be reached on LinkedIn.

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