Tamasek-Backed G2 Bio Companies Will Accelerate Gene Transfer Technologies
Investment company Temasek has committed $200 million to help launch The G2 Bio Companies, a new Philadelphia, PA-based company focused on the development of potential next-generation gene therapies.
Founders of The G2 Bio Companies include James Wilson, M.D., Ph.D., Tachi Yamada, M.D., and the University of Pennsylvania Gene Therapy Program. The new funding also names Singapore-headquartered Temasek as a cofounder.
Dr. Wilson’s current appointments include Director of Gene Therapy Program, Rose H. Weiss Professor and Director of Orphan Disease Center and Professor of Medicine and Pediatrics in the Department of Medicine at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. The G2 Bio Companies was formed from Dr. Wilson’s laboratory work, which has been geared toward developing gene transfer technologies.
“Our mission at the Gene Therapy Program is to discover, translate and greatly accelerate the development and commercialization of life-transformative genetic-based therapeutics,” said Dr. Wilson in a statement. He added that the knowledge and therapies developed will hopefully reach people worldwide who have common non-monogenic diseases and other conditions where unmet needs exist.
Another G2 Bio cofounder, Dr. Yamada, has a long history of biopharma participation. Dr. Yamada is the founder of start-up companies Phathom Pharmaceuticals and Passage Bio. His past appointments include Chief Medical and Scientific Officer at Takeda Pharmaceuticals as well as GlaxoSmithKline’s Chairman of Research and Development.
“We formed the G2 Bio Companies to address the unmet needs of patients with the most advanced genetic-based therapies,” said Dr. Yamada.
In addition to contributing significantly to the launch of G2 Bio, Temasek has been heavily involved in several financing rounds across the biopharma industry. The most recent being a $230 million in oversubscribed Series C financing for Clover Biopharmaceuticals, co-led by GL Ventures and Temasek.
Oceanpine Capital, OrbiMed, and existing investor Delos Capital also participated in the Series C, which brought Clover’s total capital to over $400 million within the last 12 months.
In December, Temasek also participated in a $100 million Series B financing round for RNA-targeting gene therapy company Locanabio. This financing round was co-led by Vida Ventures, RA Capital Management, Invus and Acuta Capital Partners, in addition to prior investors.
Locanabio said at the time of the financing announcement that the new funding would go toward advancing the company’s portfolio of novel RNA-targeted gene therapies for retinal, neuromuscular and neurodegenerative diseases.
Also, in December 2020, Verily, a life sciences division from Google/Alphabet, raised $700 million in an investment round co-led by Temasek, in addition to Alphabet, Silver Lake and Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan. Google/Alphabet’s Verily said it planned to harness the new funding to expand parts of the company’s leading commercial businesses, including Verily Health Platforms and Baseline.
Temasek was very busy in December of last year, as it also participated in an $80 million Series D financing round for Pear Therapeutics, a prescription therapeutics company. The financing round was co-led by SoftBank Vision Fund 2 and had participation from existing investors such as 5AM Ventures, Arboretum Ventures, JAZZ Venture Partners, Novartis, CrimsoNox and EDBI, as well as several other new investors such as Forth Management and QUAD Investment Management.