Three Companies Land Fresh Funds to Advance Pipelines
2021 is shaping up to be another banner year for biotech companies. Funds seem to be in near-endless supply as companies advance the next gen technologies and therapeutics for the health of all. Here’s a few raking in cash for their programs today.
Less than four months after emerging from stealth mode with $50 million in the pocket, cancer startup Nuvalent completed another financing round, this time in a $135 million Series B. The sole investor in the company’s launch, Deerfield Management, participated with round leader Bain Capital Life Sciences and some new investors.
Funds are funneling into the company’s lead programs: NVL-520 and NVL-655. Each a potentially best-in-class kinase inhibitor, the first targets ROS1-driven tumors and the other ALK-driven. Both drugs are designed to address the identified clinical needs of kinase selectivity, brain penetrance, and activity against drug resistance.
Preclinical data presented at the American Association for Cancer Research virtual meeting last month showed the drugs could remain active in tumors that have mutated to develop resistance and minimize adverse events in the CNS. NVL-520 and NVL-655 are currently in IND enabling studies.
The company also added a medical oncologist to its Scientific Advisory Board – Alexander Drilon, M.D.
"I am both encouraged by the treatment opportunities that targeted kinase inhibitors have enabled for patients and inspired to continue pursuing the development of additional therapy options that can overcome remaining clinical challenges," said Drilon. "Drug-resistant mutations and off-target adverse events can limit the therapeutic impact of kinase inhibitors across various targets in NSCLC as well as other tumor types. I look forward to working with Nuvalent to inform clinical development and advance its novel discovery pipeline of precisely targeted therapies designed specifically to meet these challenges."
Using technology to understand the safety, efficacy, and value of drugs in the real world, RWE leader Aetion scooped up a $110 million Series C to advance its Evidence Platform.
"In a post-COVID era, we have an imperative to use rapid, rigorous evidence to inform health care decisions," said Aetion CEO Carolyn Magill. "This investment reinforces Aetion's position as an RWE leader and our potential for future growth as we enable our customers to generate regulatory-grade evidence at scale."
Having raised $212 million to date, Aetion close to doubled revenue last year while retaining 100% of current customers and adding new. The New York-based health care company landed the first collaboration agreement with the FDA to study COVID-19 research. The Institute for Clinical and Economic Review, ICER, also turned to Aetion to update the non-profit's assessments of two Takeda and one CSL Behring drug against hereditary angioedema attacks.
In addition to growing the capabilities of the Aetion Evidence Platform, the company will also expand its European and Asian-Pacific footprint and increase its commercial team to meet growing demand from the majority of top global biopharma firms and leading regulatory agencies.
Every year 35,000 Americans die from antibiotic-resistant “superbugs.” Adaptive Phage Therapeutics is fighting back with bacteriophage therapies, and landed a $40.75 million Series B to fund the war. Deerfield Management took the lead on this round, joined by existing investor Mayo Clinic.
APT’s Phage Bank is a collection of hundreds of bacteriophages, bacteria-eating viruses that infect a bacterium and reproduce inside to destroy its host cell. As of now, the bank has broad spectrum coverage against six of the highest priority multi-drug resistant bacterial pathogens.
Funds from this round will be used to advance clinical stage programs in prosthetic joint infection and diabetic foot osteomyelitis. Further development of the PhageBank Susceptibility Test, a tool to rapidly identify which phage therapy is needed for a specific condition, is also moving ahead.
Maryland-based APT was recently highlighted in the news for saving a man’s leg with the right bacteriophage. The patient, John Haverty, spent over a decade and multiple surgeries fighting an antibiotic-resistant bacteria that infected his leg. Just before doctors amputated, APT figured out which superbug had taken root in his leg and destroyed it with the right bacteriophage.