On a Roll: Magenta Therapeutics Nabs Another $50 Million, a Drug From Novartis AG and Deal With Be The Match BioTherapies

On a Roll: Magenta Therapeutics Nabs Another $50 Million, a Drug From Novartis AG and Deal With Be The Match BioTherapies May 2, 2017
By Alex Keown, BioSpace.com Breaking News Staff

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – Biotech startup Magenta Therapeutics hit the trifecta this morning, nabbing an additional $50 million in Series B funding, licensing a clinical-stage program from Novartis and forging a strategic partnership with Be The Match BioTherapies.

The new funding follows on the heels of $48.5 million in Series A financing the company announced in November. The new $50 million will be used to develop Magenta’s therapies using stem cells and bone marrow transplants. With nearly $100 million raised over the past six months, Magenta is now looking to accelerate its product development to support the use of stem cell transplantation in a variety of disease settings. The company is developing its stem cell programs to reboot the immune and blood systems to treat patients with autoimmune diseases, genetic blood disorders and cancer. Magenta uses a portfolio of breakthrough stem cell technologies developed at Harvard, Massachusetts General Hospital and Boston Children’s Hospital.

“We aspire to accelerate products that could unleash the potential of transplantation to more patients, including those with autoimmune diseases, genetic blood disorders and cancer. The resounding interest in Magenta from such a high-quality set of investors is a testament to our solid progress since launch, including building a world-class team and a robust pipeline and generating promising early data,” said Chief Executive Officer Jason Gardner, the former head of GlaxoSmithKline ’s Boston-area R&D department.

The funding round was led by Google Ventures and supported by previous investors Third Rock Ventures, Partner Innovation Fund and Atlas Venture.

The Novartis program Magenta in-licensed is MGTA-456, a program that aims to expand the number of cord blood stem cells used in transplants to achieve superior clinical outcomes compared to standard transplant procedures. MGTA-456 is also aimed at enabling more patients to benefit from a transplant, the company said. Magenta gains rights to use MGTA-456 in selected applications and will develop MGTA-456 in multiple diseases, including immune and blood diseases. In its announcement this morning, Magenta said research published in Science “demonstrated the ability of MGTA-456 to significantly increase the number of umbilical cord blood stem cells.”

John Wagner, executive medical director of the Bone Marrow Transplantation Program at the University of Minnesota and the study’s lead author, said that MGTA-456 shortened a patient’s time of recovery.

“MGTA-456 achieved a remarkable increase in the number of blood-forming stem cells, greater than that observed by all other methods that have been tested to date. This product has the potential to further improve cord blood transplant outcomes,” Wagner said of the experimental drug.

Magenta also forged strategic partnership with Be The Match BioTherapies to support shared goals of improving transplant medicine. Be The Match operates the largest and most diverse marrow registry in the world, Magenta said. Under the deal, the two companies will work across all of Magenta’s research efforts, from discovery through clinical development, the company said this morning. Under terms of the agreement, Magenta said it can leverage Be The Match BioTherapies’ capabilities, including its cell therapy delivery platform, industry relationships, clinical trial design and management and patient outcomes data.

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