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June Lee, Esker CEO

Vik Ba­ja­j's start­up in­cu­ba­tor at Fore­site un­cloaks an im­munol­o­gy play­er with a lead TYK2 in­hibitor in tow

Looking at a healthcare system made more unequal by Covid-19, Foresite Capital managing director Vik Bajaj recently launched an expansive plan to launch five innovative startups to address unmet need. Just weeks after the first of those biotechs emerged from stealth, a second has now uncloaked, and it’s got immunology in its sights.

Esker Therapeutics launched Wednesday with a $70 million Series A to pursue precision immunology targets backed by Foresite Labs’ analytics engine kickstarted by Bajaj’s team, the biotech said. Foresite footed the entire round for Esker as it continues to develop its pipeline and advance its lead compound.

Fabian Gerlinghaus (Cellares)

Fo­cused on the cell ther­a­py man­u­fac­tur­ing bot­tle­neck, Cel­lares tur­bocharges plans for 'shut­tle' tech

When Cellares CEO and co-founder Fabian Gerlinghaus tore his ACL a few years ago, he was brought outside of a Bay Area hospital to the parking lot where he received an MRI inside a truck. He and his colleagues hope that the same can be done for cell therapy — one day — and they just received $82 million in funding to help do so.

Cellares on Wednesday bagged a Series B round, bringing its total funding to $100 million so far. Those funds will be used to develop the Cell Shuttle, a portable factory that Cellares hopes will disrupt the expensive and logistically complicated cell therapy manufacturing process.

Darrin Disley (L) and Pierre-Louis Joffrin

A UK-based start­up looks to beat Spark's Lux­tur­na at its own game with pro­gram­ma­ble cell plat­form for eye dis­ease

Spark’s Luxturna made waves in 2017 when it was approved to treat inherited retinal degradation by replacing the mutated RPE65 gene with a normal copy. But instead of replacing a faulty gene to regain function, what if scientists could reprogram whole cells in vivo?

On Tuesday, a UK-based startup reeled in $17 million to pursue just that.

Mogrify set out in 2016 to pioneer a new class of in vivo reprogramming therapies in ophthalmology and use that same technology to transform the way ex vivo cell therapies are developed. The company first closed a Series A round in 2019. And now, investors are tacking on another $17 million, bringing the expanded round to $33 million in total.

Riad Sherif, Oculis CEO

Can a top­i­cal treat­ment beat block­buster eye in­jecta­bles? A Swiss biotech has the cash now to find out

The eye disease therapy market is a lucrative one but a pain for patients who must rely on invasive injections a few times per year. A Swiss biotech is hoping to rewrite the game with a pair of lead topical drugs, and it’s got a fresh round of cash in its war chest to get there.

Oculis has bagged a $57 million Series C it will use to advance lead drug OCS-01 into late-stage trials in its bid to unseat in-the-eye injectables for eye disease as well as push ahead another candidate, OCS-02, the company said Tuesday.

Neuroelectrics co-founders Ana Maiques and Giulio Ruffini

Per­son­al­ized elec­tric stim­u­la­tion for epilep­sy, de­pres­sion? Morn­ing­side bets $17.5M on an idea dat­ing back to Ro­man Em­pire

In his 46 AD compendium of medical treatments, Scribonius Largus, the court physician to the Roman emperor Claudius, described a peculiar way to relieve headache.

Place a live torpedo fish — the black, flat, disc-looking fish also known as electric ray — on the place which is in pain, he instructed, until the pain ceases and the part grows numb. The purported effect? It would “immediately remove and permanently cure a headache, however long-lasting and intolerable.”

Rick Modi, Affinia Therapeutics CEO (Affinia)

Look­ing to rein­vent those trou­bled AAVs you've been read­ing about, in­vestors back a $110M re­boot ef­fort

Next week, Affinia Therapeutics will present four new abstracts at the American Society of Gene and Cell Therapy. Though they bear obscure and academic names, they will provide the first proof of concept for an approach investors have now poured $170 million into and that Affinia wants to get in the clinic next year.

Affinia, a 2019 spinout from the lab of old Jim Wilson protégé Luk Vandenberghe, announced Monday that it raised a $110 million Series B led by the biotech VC EcoR1 Capital and the Tom Steyer hedge fund Farallon Capital. Thirteen other investors joined, including the blue-chip firms Atlas, RA Capital, Perceptive Advisors, Casdin Capital, F-Prime and GV.

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Oxford professor Adrian Hill (Eddie Keogh/Reuters via Alamy)

The com­pa­ny be­hind As­traZeneca's Covid-19 vac­cine just went pub­lic, weeks af­ter com­plet­ing mon­ster Se­ries B, as Were­wolf al­so makes the Nas­daq leap

Editor’s note: Interested in following biopharma’s fast-paced IPO market? You can bookmark our IPO Tracker here.

The company behind the technology for AstraZeneca’s Covid-19 vaccine is prepped and ready to hit Nasdaq.

British biotech Vaccitech priced its IPO late Thursday night, pulling in a $110.5 million raise and will debut at the midpoint of their range at $17. It’s a quick public leap for the company, having completed a Series B just last month — though that crossover proved to be huge at $168 million.

Tim Miller, Forge Biologics CEO (Forge)

Forge Bi­o­log­ics bags $120M round as it looks to scale AAV man­u­fac­tur­ing for Krabbe dis­ease treat­ment

In less than a year, Forge Biologics has grown its staff size from just four employees to more than 75, a sure sign of rapid growth from the Chris Garabedian-launched start up. Here’s another sign: the $120 million Series B financing round the company just announced.

The gene therapy CDMO secured funding from RA Capital Management, and participation from Perceptive Advisors, Surveyor Capital, Octagon Capital and Marshall Wace.

Henrik Stage, ADCendo CEO

The biotech craze hits the Nordics, dri­ving a record-high $62M Se­ries A for a Copen­hagen-based ADC play­er

With the biotech boom in the US in full swing, more money than ever is flowing into the industry — but that gusher hasn’t fully translated across the pond. Now, a Danish biotech with some big-name backers has scored a record-high early fundraising round. Is it a one-off or a sign of things to come?

Copenhagen-based ADCendo has bagged a $62 million Series A round — the largest ever of its kind for a Danish biotech — to advance its pipeline of antibody-drug conjugates targeting uPARAP, a collagen scavenger receptor on some tumor cells, the company said Thursday.

US ups fund­ing for Mod­er­na Covid-19 vac­cine as to­tal nears $6B

The US government poured money into Moderna as it sought to speed its Covid-19 vaccine to market. In hindsight, the investments worked, and the US may end up investing about $6 billion in Moderna’s vaccine when all is said and done, according to a company SEC filing Wednesday.

The latest funds from the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, up to $236 million more, will reimburse for Moderna’s costs associated with the vaccine’s Phase III clinical trial, as well as pharmacovigilance efforts to track the vaccine’s safety.