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Striv­ing for high­er res imag­ing of cells, Har­vard team de­buts start­up with back­ing from ARCH, North­pond

As scientists race to find new ways to look into what’s going on inside cells, ARCH Venture Partners and Northpond Ventures are injecting $14 million into a Harvard team promising to visualize activity on a “subcellular level” — down to every RNA.

Xiaowei Zhuang and David Walt are two of the prominent scientists behind Vizgen. Zhuang, a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator and Harvard professor, was the inventor of another popular super-resolution microscopy method while David Walt was a scientific founder of the sequencing giant Illumina.

Amber Saltzman (Ohana)

Flag­ship's first ven­ture of 2020 is out, and it's all about sperm

A couple years ago, Amber Salzman got a call as she was returning East full-time after a two-year stint running a gene therapy company in California.

It was from someone at Flagship Pioneering, the deep-pocketed biotech venture firm. They had a new company with a new way of thinking about sperm. It had been incubating for over a year, and now they wanted her to run it.

“It exactly fit,” Salzman told Endpoints News. “I just thought I had to do something.”

Joe Jimenez, Getty

Ex-No­var­tis CEO Joe Jimenez is tak­ing an­oth­er crack at open­ing a new chap­ter in his ca­reer — and that in­cludes a new board seat and a $250M start­up

Joe Jimenez is back.

The ex-CEO of Novartis has taken a board seat on Century Therapeutics, the Versant and Bayer-backed startup focused on coming up with a brand new twist on cell therapies for cancer — a field where Jimenez made his mark backing the first personalized CAR-T approved for use.

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Samantha Truex (file photo)

Bruce Booth and Saman­tha Truex's lat­est ven­ture aims just above Hu­mi­ra

In 2000, about a year after the first trial data on Humira came out, a Japanese team identified a new gene that appeared to prevent GI cancer in mice: gasdermin, they called it, after the particular proteins it expressed.

Over the next decade-and-a-half, researchers found five more genes in the same family – often identified as gasdermin A, B, C, D, E and F – and yet their purpose baffled scientists. Mutations in appeared to make mice bald (alopecia), but deleting it had no effect. Mutations in F and A were linked to deafness. Mutant E caused human cells to self-destruct.

“The exact biological function of these proteins remained unknown for more than 15 years,” three of the field’s top researchers wrote in a  Nature review in November.

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Mer­ck KGaA spin­out gets first fund­ing to bring dual-act­ing can­cer mol­e­cules in­to the clin­ic

Two and a half years after launch, Merck KGaA spinout iOnctura is getting its first major round of funding.

The oncology startup raised €15 million ($16.6 million) to put its lead drug into the clinic and get its second drug past IND-enabling tests. INKEF Capital and VI Partners co-led the round and were joined by the biotech’s longtime backer M Ventures, an arm of Merck KGaA, and Schroder Adveq.

Eric Halioua (PDC*line Pharma via Andrew Lloyd & Associates)

French-Bel­gian biotech banks €20M to break ground in blood-splat­tered field of ther­a­peu­tic can­cer vac­cines

About a decade ago, the ill-fated therapeutic cancer vaccine — Provenge — was approved, eventually bankrupting its developer Dendreon. Since then, a number of drugmakers have seen similar efforts splutter and fizzle, although the emergence of immunotherapies — checkpoint inhibitors and CAR-T drugs — offered a glimmer of hope in resuscitating the field. Banking on that promise is PDC*line Pharma, which secured a €20 million injection on Wednesday.

Boehringer, No­vo-backed Ger­man biotech banks €11M in liv­er re­gen­er­a­tion push

When the Greek god of forethought, Prometheus, ran into conflict with the king of gods, the mighty Zeus — his punishment was peculiar. Chained to a rock in the Caucasus mountains, Prometheus’ liver was offered to an eagle. Every day the bird would eat part of the organ, and every night it would regenerate — making his sentence eternal. This myth has enthralled artists and scientists — and within medicine, it is seen symbolically representative of the regenerative capacity of the liver.

Take­da hops on­to $61M round for CRISPR play­er syn­the­siz­ing Cas9 al­ter­na­tives

Takeda Ventures and OrbiMed have helped pump $61 million into a New York biotech joining the rush to dramatically expand the CRISPR tool kit.

One crucial component in the CRISPR gene editing process is a nuclease that cuts the target DNA once it’s led there by a guide RNA. Cas9 is the most well known and broadly used among them, although researchers have been coming up with a variety of alternatives. The one that Emendo Biotherapeutics will be advancing with its new funding is dubbed OMNI.

Gates vets at Ad­ju­vant back Coda­genix's soft­ware-dri­ven ap­proach to re­cod­ing RSV, flu, on­colyt­ic virus­es and more

Software is eating the way we make vaccines, and it has earned Farmingdale, NY-based biotech $20 million for a platform tech theoretically applicable to any virus — from influenza to oncolytic viruses targeted at cancer.

Adjuvant Capital, the group of Gates Foundation veterans out to test a VC model for global health, led the Series B for Codagenix. Existing backers Euclidean Capital and Topspin Partners also returned for more.

Todd Harris and Daniel Bensen. Tyra

RA Cap­i­tal, Canaan help in­fuse $50M in­to Al­ta-in­cu­bat­ed biotech bat­tling ac­quired re­sis­tance to TKIs

Since Gleevec was approved in 2001, over 40 other tyrosine kinase inhibitors have come onto the market to treat various types of cancer. But with the proliferation of the class also came a surge of acquired resistance, where patients’ tumors mutate around the drug target and stop responding to the therapies.

Tyra Bio, a Carlsbad, CA-based biotech “purpose built” to address that problem, has just raised $50 million from Alta Partners, RA Capital Management, Boxer Capital of Tavistock Group, and Canaan.