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Szabolcs Nagy, Turbine co-founder and CEO

Sim­u­la­tions for ex­per­i­ments: Bay­er-backed start­up lands $20M to test out its tech

How do you get the attention of Big Pharma when you’re a small biotech startup working out of Budapest, Hungary?

For Szabolcs Nagy and his co-founders at Turbine, the golden ticket came through Bayer’s grant program for digital health, G4A, for which the company was selected a few years back.

“We roamed around the building and sort of just knocked on a whole bunch of doors after a lot of introductions,” Nagy told Endpoints News.

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Replay CEO Lachlan MacKinnon (L) and president Adrian Woolfson

Mak­er of new gene ther­a­py vec­tor launch­es its sec­ond com­pa­ny, look­ing to ze­ro in on rare skin con­di­tions

The hub-and-spoke biotech Replay, which came onto the scene with $55 million in seed capital and a vision to launch four companies around its gene delivery platform, has already launched one company this year, but it is not looking to slow down as the year starts to wrap up.

Replay announced on Monday that the biotech is launching Telaria, a gene therapy company targeting rare skin diseases. The top therapy in Telaria’s pipeline is a treatment for recessive dystrophic epidermolysis bullosa (RDEB). This also marks the second of the four spinoffs that Replay is planning to launch by leveraging its “high payload capacity” herpes simplex virus (HSV) delivery vector.

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Greg Verdine, FogPharma CEO

With the clin­ic in sight, Greg Verdine's start­up bags $178M for new class of tar­get­ed ther­a­pies

ARCH Venture Partners is buying into Greg Verdine’s vision for a world where no targets are off-limits — with the goal of finally pushing the first drug into the clinic.

The size of the Series D financing — $178 million — matches the grand ambitions FogPharma has sketched out with its Helicon compounds, a new class of polypeptide drugs it says combines the cell-penetrating capacity of small molecules with the target-engaging tenacity of biologics.

Gideon Bollag, Opna Bio CEO

Plexxikon vets kick off new drug dis­cov­ery out­fit — with old as­sets and new tar­get

Daiichi Sankyo shut down its South San Francisco subsidiary Plexxikon earlier this year. Now a new startup is looking to forge its own path — with 10 Plexxikon veterans, five assets from the now-defunct biotech and a focus around a new target.

Opna Bio, led by ex-Plexxikon CEO Gideon Bollag, announced its emergence from stealth this morning — combined with a $38 million Series A round.

Plexxikon, bought out by Daiichi in 2011 for $935 million, was shut down earlier this year as the Japanese pharma planned to streamline efforts to further R&D into Enhertu and two other ADCs. The company, which was founded more than two decades ago, pushed two cancer therapies all the way past the FDA: the Roche-partnered Zelboraf for melanoma, and Turalio for tenosynovial giant cell tumors in 2019.

Stef van Grieken, Cradle CEO

Eu­ro­pean pro­tein soft­ware start­up Cra­dle launch­es with back­ing from Lyft, Twist CEOs

On his LinkedIn page, Stef van Grieken describes himself as the “purveyor of fine protein.” Van Grieken heads Cradle, a new startup out of the Netherlands and Switzerland that hopes to use machine learning to make it easier for scientists to design new proteins.

Thursday, Cradle launched out of stealth with $5.4 million in seed funding from Kindred Capital and tech fund Index Ventures, alongside a number of notable names — Lyft’s co-founder and president John Zimmer, former DSM CEO Feike Sijbesma, University of California Berkeley professor Patrick Hsu and Twist Bioscience CEO Emily Leproust.

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Dan Edelstein, Haystack Oncology CEO

Fol­low­ing AS­CO show­ing, Bert Vo­gel­stein’s lat­est start­up launch­es in­to re­cur­rent can­cer de­tec­tion

Cancer research luminary Bert Vogelstein is adding to his line of cancer diagnostic companies, following Exact Sciences, Inostics, PGDx and Thrive (which was bought by Exact).

Haystack Oncology is launching out of Catalio Capital Management, where Vogelstein serves as a venture partner as well. It’s starting out with a $56 million Series A, adding to its $10 million in seed funding, which was led by Catalio but also featured research tool manufacturer Bruker, the venture arm of Exact, and Alexandria Venture Investments.

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John Mulligan, Bonum Therapeutics CEO

The crew that sold its lead IL-2 pro­gram to Roche is back with $93M to work on more next-gen I/O drugs

John Mulligan was in the process of raising about $90 million for a Series B to take Good Therapeutics’ PD-1-regulated IL-2 into the clinic when the board decided to do a smaller round while fielding buyout talks from Big Pharma companies.

He ended up selling the company — or more specifically, that lead program and the underlying intellectual property — to Roche for $250 million upfront, plus a slate of biobucks, and returning the money to investors. But the 26 employees, lab lease and the technology for making conditionally active cancer drugs remained, in the form of a new company named Bonum Therapeutics, which was sustained by a bridge round of $3 million.

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Ulrik Mouritzen, Breye CEO

Oral al­ter­na­tive to eye in­jec­tions? No­vo backs start­up’s big plan to re­pur­pose shelved drug

For patients with diabetic retinopathy, anti-VEGF injections to the eye are often the only non-surgical option to stave off vision loss. But in recent years, several Big Pharma players — including Roche and Bayer — are beginning to test drugs that can be given orally.

A biotech startup out of Copenhagen wants to give them a run for their money.

Founded by Novo Seeds, Breye Therapeutics (rhymes with “eye”) is coming out of the gate with $4 million in seed funding from Novo Holdings and Sound Bioventures. Its lead drug comes from Zealand Pharma, where Breye CEO Ulrik Mouritzen served as head of clinical development before launching the new company in 2019.

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Philip Vickers, Faze Medicines CEO

Up­dat­ed: Two years af­ter launch, Third Rock-backed neu­ro start­up Faze Med­i­cines is clos­ing its doors — re­port

In 2020, the biotech market was propelled upward by Covid-19, as money flowed quickly into the industry. In December of that year, Faze Medicines launched with an $81 million Series A and a goal of developing a treatment for ALS and other neurodegenerative diseases through molecular condensates — membraneless, fluidlike schools of protein and nucleic acids that impact a range of cell functions.

Fast forward to 2022. That “sugar high,” as one industry expert put it, has largely stalled, and biotechs have been laying off employees, pruning pipelines, and finding other so-called ‘strategic alternatives.’ And Faze Medicines is shutting its doors, according to employee social media posts and a report in STAT.

Neil Miller, NRG Therapeutics CEO

GSK vets the­o­rize that a mi­to­chon­dr­i­al tar­get may un­lock Parkin­son's and ALS treat­ments in new start­up

Can targeting a mitochondrial pathway previously thought to be undruggable crack the code in devastating neurodegenerative diseases, such as Parkinson’s and ALS? For a new British startup, that’s the £16 million question.

NRG Therapeutics unveiled its Series A early Wednesday morning on the backs of two GSK vets and their research that, they claim, has pinpointed a way to protect mitochondria from the hallmark neuronal damage seen in neurodegeneration. If everything goes according to plan, the biotech could develop “disease-modifying” small molecule treatments for both Parkinson’s and ALS, CEO Neil Miller told Endpoints News.

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