Recent Financing Rounds in the Biopharma Industry

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Funding is the lifeblood of the pharmaceutical industry. Without financial backing, companies cannot develop life-saving and life-changing medications.

Venture capital funding has continued to grow across the sector with multiple backings of small and significant size announced in recent weeks. According to a recent study conducted by GlobalData, venture capital funding has remains strong in the sector, with the bulk of the monies being doled out to companies in North America, followed by companies in the Asian Pacific region. BioSpace takes a look at some of the financing rounds announced over the past few weeks.

eGenesis – Cambridge, Mass.-based eGenesis secured $100 million in a Series B financing round that was helmed by Fresenius Medical Care Ventures. Other participants in the round include Leaps by Bayer and Wellington Partners, as well as ARCH Venture Partners, Biomatics Capital, Alta Partners, and Khosla Ventures. Funds from the financing round will be used to support the acceleration of the eGenesis kidney xenotransplant program into the clinic, as well as support advancement of a range of other xenotransplant programs across islet cell, liver, heart, and lung. Paul Sekhri, president and chief executive officer of eGenesis said with the funding, the company is now well-positions to “advance the development of human-compatible organs to address the dire shortage in the U.S. and around the world.”

“The concept of cross-species organ replacement, known as xenotransplantation, has re-emerged due to recent advancements in gene editing led by eGenesis, and will become a safe and effective solution for the hundreds of thousands of patients currently on the organ transplant waitlist globally,” Sekhri said in a statement.

Platelet Biogenesis – Also based in Cambridge, Platelet BioGenesis (PBG) raised more than $26 million in a Series A-1 financing round. That infusion of cash brings PBG’s total funding to approximately $45 million. The Series A-1 was led by Ziff Capital Partners (ZCP) and Qiming Venture Partners USA. Other participating investors includes Nest.Bio Ventures and eCoast Angels. PBG will use the funds from the Series A-1 round to accelerate the development of its donor-independent platelet manufacturing capabilities and advance its proof of concept work around platelet-based therapeutics. The company plans to double its staff to approximately 50 employees in 2020. PBG is expanding its operational capacity and moving into a new 18,000-square-foot headquarters in Watertown, Mass., early next year.

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PBG President and CEO Sam Rasty called the Series A-1 a watershed moment for the company. Also, he said it “constitutes a significant step forward toward supporting our goal of designing and launching our first clinical trial using stem cell-derived platelets.”

Xeris Pharmaceuticals – Chicago-based Xeris Pharmaceuticals entered into an amended and restated loan and security agreement with Oxford Finance LLC and Silicon Valley Bank, which increases the company’s borrowing base from $45 million to up to $85 million. Under the terms of the debt facility, $60 million will be drawn at the initial funding date, and additional tranches of $15 million and $10 million are available for drawdown prior to March 31, 2021 and June 30, 2021, respectively.

“The expanded debt facility provides Xeris with greater financial flexibility and additional access to capital as we continue to leverage our technology and advance our pipeline,” Paul R. Edick, chairman and CEO of Xeris said in a statement.

Vedanta Biosciences – Immune-mediated disease focused Vedanta Biosciences raised $16.6 million in a Series C-2 financing round. The latest infusion provides the company with a total of $62.1 million to support its efforts. Participants in this round include QUAD Investment Management, SV Investment Corp., Shinhan Investment-Private Equity, Shinhan Capital-Yeollim Partners, Partners Investment Co., Ltd, FC Capital, and SymBiosis LLC. Funds will be used to support the expansion of the company’s pipeline, including the Phase Ib/II study of VE416 in food allergy. Funds will also support development of the Phase Ib/II study of VE800 and Opdivo (nivolumab) in advanced or metastatic cancers, and the ongoing Phase 2 study of VE303 in recurrent Clostridioides difficile infection (rCDI). Vedanta Biosciences is developing drug candidates based on consortia of natural non-pathogenic bacterial strains designed to effect robust and durable therapeutic changes in a person’s gut microbiota. In contrast to fecal transplants or administration of fecal fractions.

Azitra, Inc. – Connecticut-based Azitra closed a $14 million Series A round led by KdT Ventures in conjunction with existing investor Bios Partners. Connecticut Innovations and Godfrey Capital also participated in the round. Proceeds from the financing will be used to expand the management team and to advance Azitra’s medical dermatology products in the clinic. The latest funding round brings the company’s total funding to $17 million. Azitra is focused on treating skin disease by combining the potential of the microbiome with state-of-the-art molecular genetics. The company’s product pipeline includes medical dermatology products to treat cancer therapy-associated skin rashes, Netherton syndrome, atopic dermatitis and ichthyosis vulgaris.

Plexium – San Diego-based Plexium launched in October with $28 million in Series A financing led by DCVC Bio and The Column Group, with participation from M Ventures, CRV, and Neotribe Ventures. Proceeds from the financing will be used to further advance Plexium’s DELPhe platform and build a pipeline of small molecules that modulate E3 ligases to selectively enhance and degrade protein targets. The DELPhe platform utilizes target-specific degradation assays and phenotypic screens to find small molecules that reduce levels of the target protein in cells. This creates an opportunity to identify small molecules to undruggable protein targets through screening approaches that do not require prior knowledge of molecules that bind the target.

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