Bi­cy­cle Ther­a­peu­tics banks a $52M B round for the next leg of the long R&D jour­ney ahead

A trans-At­lantic biotech with one foot in Cam­bridge, UK and an­oth­er plant­ed in Cam­bridge, MA has raised close to $52 mil­lion as it looks to beef up its staff and steer a range of its unique­ly de­signed drug con­ju­gates in­to the clin­ic.

Bi­cy­cle Ther­a­peu­tics won back­ing from a long list of mar­quee in­vestors: Ver­tex Ven­tures led the round with help from new in­vestors Cam­bridge In­no­va­tion Cap­i­tal and Christophe West­phal’s Long­wood Fund. Bi­cy­cle’s ex­ist­ing in­vestors – No­var­tis Ven­ture Fund, Glax­o­SmithK­line’s SROne, SVLS and At­las Ven­ture — all came back for the B round.

Their mon­ey will go in­to ear­ly-stage work on drugs like BT1718 — which tar­gets Mem­brane Type 1 Ma­trix Met­al­lo­pro­teinase, or MT1- MTP, ex­pressed on tu­mor cells. These drugs are sup­posed to drop a tox­ic pay­load right on tar­get — a fa­mil­iar con­cept that Bi­cy­cle has a fresh twist on.

Bi­cy­cle’s pep­tide plat­form looks to cre­ate a new class of ther­a­peu­tic that com­bines some of the best as­pects of dif­fer­ent kinds of treat­ments. They want the speci­fici­ty of an an­ti­body, the pen­e­tra­tion of a small mol­e­cule in tu­mors and an ad­justable half-life to make them ex­treme­ly po­tent for a brief pe­ri­od of time — lay­ing waste to tu­mor cells be­fore be­ing rapid­ly cleared from the body.

Kevin Lee

That’s a tall or­der. But Bi­cy­cle didn’t get rolling yes­ter­day, ei­ther. CEO Kevin Lee, a Pfiz­er vet, came on board in 2015, a year af­ter a $32 mil­lion A round and 6 years af­ter the com­pa­ny got start­ed.

“Bi­cy­cle was giv­en the lux­u­ry of time to de­vel­op the plat­form,” Lee tells me. And now it has more mon­ey to en­joy the lux­u­ry of tak­ing sev­er­al ini­tial shots on goal at one time.

“We don’t want the com­pa­ny to live and die on one mol­e­cule,” says Lee, so the plan is to take a num­ber of their mol­e­cules in­to the clin­ic — just how many and how long a run­way they’ll have is yet to be de­cid­ed.

At the same time, there’s more room on the plat­form for ad­di­tion­al non-can­cer part­ner­ships like the one it struck with As­traZeneca on res­pi­ra­to­ry dis­eases last year, with a tal­ly of up­front plus mile­stones that range around the $1 bil­lion mark.

There will al­so be a big­ger staff. Lee says he plans to in­crease the size of the can­cer re­search crew and busi­ness de­vel­op­ment team in Cam­bridge, MA, adding to the Amer­i­can ac­cent of what has been a pri­mar­i­ly British biotech.

Fur­ther down the road Lee would like to con­sid­er the pos­si­bil­i­ties of an IPO, but there’s a lot of re­search work to be done be­fore any­one starts cal­cu­lat­ing the range on a share price.

Has the mo­ment fi­nal­ly ar­rived for val­ue-based health­care?

RBC Capital Markets’ Healthcare Technology Analyst, Sean Dodge, spotlights a new breed of tech-enabled providers who are rapidly transforming the way clinicians deliver healthcare, and explores the key question: can this accelerating revolution overturn the US healthcare system?

Key points

Tech-enabled healthcare providers are poised to help the US transition to value, not volume, as the basis for reward.
The move to value-based care has policy momentum, but is risky and complex for clinicians.
Outsourced tech specialists are emerging to provide the required expertise, while healthcare and tech are also converging through M&A.
Value-based care remains in its early stages, but the transition is accelerating and represents a huge addressable market.

Clay Siegall, Morphimmune CEO

Up­dat­ed: Ex-Seagen chief Clay Sie­gall emerges as CEO of pri­vate biotech

Clay Siegall will be back in the CEO seat, taking the helm of a private startup working on targeted cancer therapies.

It’s been almost a year since Siegall resigned from Seagen, the biotech he co-founded and led for more than 20 years, in the wake of domestic violence allegations by his then-wife. His eventual successor, David Epstein, sold the company to Pfizer in a $43 billion deal unveiled last week.

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No­vo Nordisk oral semaglu­tide tri­al shows re­duc­tion in blood sug­ar, plus weight loss

Novo Nordisk is testing higher levels of its oral version of its GLP-1, semaglutide, and its type 2 diabetes trial results released today show reductions in blood sugar as well as weight loss.

In the Phase IIIb trial, Novo compared its oral semaglutide in 25 mg and 50 mg doses with the 14 mg version that’s currently the maximum approved dose. The trial looked at how the doses compared when added to a stable dose of one to three oral antidiabetic medicines in people with type 2 diabetes who were in need of an intensified treatment.

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Ly­me vac­cine test com­ple­tion is pushed back by a year as Pfiz­er, Val­ne­va say they'll ad­just tri­al

Valneva and Pfizer have adjusted the end date for the Phase III study of their investigational Lyme disease vaccine, pushing it back by a year after issues at a contract researcher led to thousands of US patients being dropped from the test.

In a March 20 update to, Valneva and Pfizer moved the primary completion date on the trial, called VALOR, from the end of 2024 to the end of 2025.

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Stuart Peltz, former PTC Therapeutics CEO

Stu­art Peltz re­signs as PTC Ther­a­peu­tics CEO af­ter 25 years

Stuart Peltz, the longtime CEO of PTC Therapeutics who’s led the rare disease drug developer since its founding 25 years ago, is stepping down.

Succeeding him in the top job is Matthew Klein, who joined PTC in 2019 and was promoted to chief operating officer in 2022. In a call with analysts, he said the CEO transition has been planned for “quite some time” — in fact, as part of it, he gave the company’s presentation at the JP Morgan healthcare conference earlier this year.

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Bet­ter Ther­a­peu­tics cuts 35% of staff while await­ing dig­i­tal ther­a­peu­tic ap­proval

Digital therapeutics company Better Therapeutics announced on Thursday that it’s cutting 35% of its staff as it awaits FDA clearance for its first product.

The company, which launched eight years ago, is one of a growing group of companies seeking a digital alternative to traditional medicine. The space saw a record $7.5 billion in investments in 2021, according to Chris Dokomajilar at DealForma, with uses spanning ADHD, PTSD and other indications. However, private insurers have been slow to hop on board.

FDA spells out how can­cer drug de­vel­op­ers can use one tri­al for both ac­cel­er­at­ed and full ap­provals

The FDA’s Oncology Center of Excellence has been a bright spot within the agency in terms of speeding new treatments to patients. That flexibility was on full display this morning as FDA released new draft guidance spelling out exactly how oncology drug developers can fulfill both the accelerated and full approval’s requirements with just a single randomized controlled trial.

While Congress recently passed legislation that will allow FDA to require confirmatory trials to be recruiting and ongoing prior to granting an accelerated approval, the agency is now making clear that the initial trial used to win the AA, if designed appropriately, can also serve as the trial for converting the accelerated approval into a full approval.

Steven James, Pionyr Immunotherapeutics CEO

Gilead pass­es on ful­ly ac­quir­ing Pi­o­nyr, as eyes now turn to Tizona, a fel­low sum­mer 2020 buy­out op­tion

Gilead and Pionyr Immunotherapeutics, a biotech trying to follow up on the first generation of checkpoint inhibitors, have “mutually agreed” on a rewrite to their 2020 terms, with Gilead deciding not to buy out the company.

The California biopharma waived its option to acquire the remaining 50.1% of Pionyr, which would have triggered a $315 million upfront payment and up to $1.15 billion down the road. Had Gilead waited to decide, the drugmaker would have had a potential payment to make in the near term under their agreement, a spokesperson said in an email to Endpoints News.

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Zhi Hong, Brii Biosciences CEO

Brii Bio­sciences stops man­u­fac­tur­ing Covid-19 an­ti­body com­bo, plans to with­draw EUA re­quest

Brii Biosciences said it will stop manufacturing its Covid-19 antibody combination, sold in China, and is working to withdraw its emergency use authorization request in the US, which it started in October 2021.

The Beijing and North Carolina biotech commercially launched the treatment in China last July but is now axing the work and reverting resources to other “high-priority programs,” per a Friday update. The focus now is namely hepatitis B viral infection, postpartum depression and major depressive disorders.

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