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Luc Boblet, Egle Therapeutics CEO

A new Treg play­er emerges with $46M and back­ing from Take­da

In recent years, the chorus of biotechs and Big Pharma backers targeting regulatory T cells — also known as “Tregs” — for cancer and autoimmune diseases has only grown louder.

The newest voice is from Egle Therapeutics, which sang out a $46.4 million Series A round on Friday led by LSP and Bpifrance through their InnoBio 2 fund. Takeda’s venture arm also chipped in, about a year after the pharma struck a research pact with the Paris-based upstart.

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Raymond Stevens, ShouTi Pharma CEO

A new Schrödinger-backed start­up emerges from the sci­en­tist who mapped the first hu­man GPCR

One of the most popular targets in drug development, representing about a third of existing drugs, are G-protein coupled receptors — the tiny but integral membrane proteins responsible for recognizing things like light, taste, smell, hormones and pain.

But due to challenges in mapping their structure, the protein family remains largely unexplored.

A slate of companies has emerged over the last few years to change that. If one can figure out the structure of these elusive membrane receptors, it might be possible to create small molecule drugs that overcome the limitations of, say, biologic and peptide therapies. That promise is what gets serial entrepreneur Raymond Stevens out of bed in the morning.

Scott Struthers, Crinetics CEO

Cri­net­ics spins out ra­dio­phar­ma ef­forts in­to a new com­pa­ny, high­light­ing the grow­ing field­'s al­lure

Largely known for its nonpeptide small molecule research, Crinetics has been keeping its radiopharma work comparatively under wraps. But that changed Monday afternoon as the California biotech spun out a new company focused solely on the burgeoning field.

Crinetics launched Radionetics after the closing bell Monday, the company announced, seeding the new entity with $30 million raised from 5AM Ventures and Frazier Healthcare Partners. Radionetics will start with its own radiopharma-centric platform and a pipeline of 10 programs aimed at solid tumors.

Amit Etkin, Alto Neuroscience CEO (Alto via Vimeo)

A star Stan­ford pro­fes­sor leaves his lab for a start­up out to re­make psy­chi­a­try

About five years ago, Amit Etkin had a breakthrough.

The Stanford neurologist, a soft-spoken demi-prodigy who became a professor while still a resident, had been obsessed for a decade with how to better define psychiatric disorders. Drugs for depression or bipolar disorder didn’t work for many patients with the conditions, and he suspected the reason was how traditional diagnoses didn’t actually get at the heart of what was going on in a patient’s brain.

Rajesh Devraj, Rectify Pharmaceuticals CEO

At­las backs a long­time Ver­tex em­ploy­ee’s quest to bring CF suc­cess to nu­mer­ous oth­er dis­eases

One of Vertex’s longest-tenured employees believes he can take the biotech’s biggest medical and scientific accomplishments and use it to develop treatments for more than just cystic fibrosis.

Three years ago, Jonathan Moore, a scientist and then executive at Vertex from 1990 to 2018, founded a company to develop treatments for diseases that, like CF, are caused by mutations in a “super family” of proteins known as ABC transporters.

AffyImmune CEO Moonsoo Jin (L) and COO Eric von Hofe

Tiny play­er picks up $30M to go af­ter CAR-T's biggest chal­lenges

Of all the challenges associated with reengineering CAR-T therapies — which have been wildly successful in treating certain blood cancers — to attack solid tumors, toxicity often ranks near the top.

“If there is no therapeutic window, the trial will be terminated,” Simone Song, founder and managing partner at ORI Capital, told Endpoints News.

It was the reason why ORI, a Hong Kong-based healthcare VC firm focused on cancer, metabolic disorders and neurodegenerative diseases, decided to incubate a startup by the name of AffyImmune back in 2017. And it’s why Song’s team is handing over another $30 million to fund a first-in-human trial that kicked off late last year and send a second CAR-T therapy into the clinic.

Kristina Burow and Paul Berns, Nemora

ARCH un­veils its Re­al­ly Big Neu­ro­science Com­pa­ny with $500M, an Am­gen deal and eyes on de­pres­sion, Alzheimer's and a lot more

ARCH Venture is doubling — and tripling and quadrupling — down on the belief that the 2020s will be neuroscience’s decade.

The VC firm, known for periodically launching massive companies from scratch, announced on Thursday the creation of Neumora, a biotech ARCH’s partners believe can finally crack a set of well-known neurodegenerative and psychiatric diseases that have long eluded drugmakers. The company, whose existence was first reported by Endpoints News in August, emerges from stealth with $500 million in the bank — $400 million from ARCH and other VCs and $100 million equity investment as part of a collaboration with Amgen.

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From left to right: Mark Springel, Kristina Wang, Lin Ao, Soufiane Aboulhouda

George Church, his stu­dents, and top VCs go na­tion­wide with a biotech train­ing camp

One night last fall, Floris Engelhardt sat down in her Boston apartment and logged onto a Zoom call, armed with a comic and a vague idea about starting a biotech.

Engelhardt was joining a student-run “match night.” A postdoc at MIT’s Bathe BioNanoLab, where researchers use DNA and RNA like Lego blocks for nanometer-sized structures, Engelhardt wanted to find real-world applications for her work. She sketched out — literally — a plan to use DNA origami, a decade-old technique for precisely folding DNA, to make therapies.

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Cullen Buie (L) and Paulo Garcia (Credit: The Engine)

On a jour­ney to dras­ti­cal­ly speed up cell ther­a­py man­u­fac­tur­ing, Ky­topen lands $30M Se­ries A

Spun out of an MIT lab, sitting in an office space above a Cambridge tapas restaurant from world-renowned chef Ken Oringer is a biotech focused on drastically reducing the amount of time it takes to make cell therapies. And Tuesday, the company co-founded by Paulo Garcia and Cullen Buie said it raised $30 million in Series A funding.

The funding will go toward commercializing its system for accelerating engineered cell therapy production, known as Flowfect Tx. The round also will allow the company to move toward treating its first human with the technology, which it says can engineer simple non-viral manufacturing of cell therapies in just a few days as opposed to weeks.

Martin Babler, Esker CEO

Fore­site re­cruits Prin­cip­ia vet Mar­tin Babler — and his old team — to oc­cu­py the C-suite of a start­up

Almost a year to the day after Sanofi closed on its $3.7 billion Principia buyout, handing CEO Martin Babler $81 million for his chunk of equity, the biotech exec is ending his sabbatical and getting back to the helm of a startup. And he’s bringing the old Principia team along with him for the R&D scrimmage ahead.

Babler is taking over the top post at Esker Therapeutics from June Lee, who helped found the upstart, which Foresite hatched out of its labs and endowed with a $70 million launch round. The immunology specialist broke out of stealth mode back in May with a tiny staff and a Phase I plan for a TYK2 drug — initially for psoriasis — part of its plan to address genetically defined patient groups in a field dominated by blockbusters and blockbuster wannabes.

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