Startups channel feed

Charlie Silver (Mission Bio)

'We want to be every­where.' Mis­sion Bio rais­es $70M be­hind re­sis­tance-hunt­ing se­quenc­ing plat­form

Charlie Silver wants to look really, really closely at a lot of your cells. And he just got a lot of money to do so.

Silver’s startup, Mission Bio, raised $70 million in a Series C round Thursday led by Novo Holdings. The money, which brings Mission Bio to $120 million raised since its 2012 founding, will be used to advance the single-cell sequencing platform they built to detect early response or resistance to new cancer therapies.

Bing Li, Debra Yu and Konstantin Poukalov, LianBio

Per­cep­tive births its first in-house start­up — and it's a Chi­na play

Perceptive Advisors is going to China.

The decision dates back two years, chief investment officer Adam Stone tells Endpoints News, when the firm began to figure out how it can, in hedge fund-speak, strategically increase its exposure to a growing biopharma market poised to be a key geographic area in the next several decades. It was a bit of a blindspot for Perceptive, he admits.

As “globalized scientist-investors, we just couldn’t afford to have that blindspot in place,” he says.

Ben Dake (Source: Aerovate)

RA Cap­i­tal-backed Aerovate launch­es with $72.6M to treat PAH with a re­pur­posed can­cer med

The landmark cancer drug imatinib has been on the market since 2001, first sold by Novartis as Gleevec and in recent years as a generic. Now, a new Boston biotech is aiming to repurpose the drug as a treatment for pulmonary arterial hypertension.

Aerovate emerged from stealth Thursday and announced a $72.6 million Series A, which will be used to develop and run trials for its candidate AV-101 — a dry powder version of imatinib meant to be used with an inhaler. The company emerged from RA Capital’s incubator and funding was led by Sofinnova.

Elisa Kieback (T-knife)

Ver­sant funds TCR ther­a­py biotech T-knife's $78M+ Se­ries A to boost hu­man­ized T cell mice plat­form

Just a day after announcing the formation of a startup in Switzerland that will develop alternative TCR cell therapies, Versant is keeping its foot on the gas.

The multibillion dollar life sciences VC announced Thursday morning it is leading the Series A funding of T-knife, a German biotech that plans to use its proprietary humanized T cell receptor (HuTCR) mouse platform to treat solid tumors. T-knife raised about $78.4 million in the round and hopes to not only develop its own pipeline but also license out its mice for use by other companies.

Sean Nolan and RA Session II

Less than 3 months af­ter launch, the AveX­is crew’s Taysha rais­es $95M Se­ries B. Is an IPO next?

The old AveXis team is moving quickly in Dallas.

Three months ago, they launched Taysha with $30 million in Series A funding and a pipeline of gene therapies out of UT Southwestern. Now, they’ve announced an oversubscribed $95 million Series B. And the biotech is declining all interview requests on the news, the kind of broad silence that can indicate an IPO is in the pipeline.

Biotechs, including those relatively fresh off launch, have been going public at a frenzy since the pandemic began. Investors have showed a willingness to put upwards of $200 million to companies that have yet to bring a drug into the clinic. Still, if Taysha were to go public in the near future, it would be perhaps the shortest path from launch to IPO in recent biotech memory.

Ver­sant de­buts Ridge­line's start­up #4, armed with $30M and al­ter­na­tive TCR cell ther­a­pies for sol­id tu­mors

For all the iterations and advances in TCR therapies for cancer, any experimental treatments involving T cell receptors share one trait: By definition, they only recognize antigens presented as peptides on the major histocompatibility complex (MHC) on cells.

Versant reckons it’s time to expand the arsenal. With $30 million in initial funding, its Ridgeline Discovery Engine in Switzerland has been working on a non-peptidic approach that it says has tumor-agnostic potential, especially in solid tumors. They’ve named it Matterhorn, after a Swiss mountain as they did with the three other companies that have emerged from the Basel-based incubator.

Bruce Hironaka, IgGenix CEO

IgGenix emerges from stealth with $10 mil­lion Se­ries A hop­ing to re-en­gi­neer al­ler­gic cas­cade

A little over six months after the FDA approved the first treatment for peanut allergies, a new biotech has emerged hoping to break through in a field that’s seen virtually no innovation.

IgGenix came out of stealth mode Tuesday morning, announcing a $10 million Series A round to get the company started. The California-based biotech aims to focus not just on peanuts, but all types of food allergies and related serious conditions by developing a platform that can interfere with the allergic cascade. Financing was led by Khosla Ventures and joined by Parker Ventures.

Mahesh Karande (Omega)

'Ex­quis­ite con­trol': Flag­ship pulls off $85M ral­ly around Omega Ther­a­peu­tic­s' clin­i­cal push for epi­ge­net­ic pro­gram­ming tech

Omega Therapeutics began, as all biotech fledglings incubated at Flagship Labs do, with an off-the-wall question: Can one control gene expression but not create the massive nucleic acid sequence changes that are created by gene therapy and gene editing?

Not long after the internal team began ruminating on the idea, as chief Mahesh Karande explained at the official launch last September, they found an answer in a seminal paper published by Rick Young’s group at the Whitehead Institute. Genes and their regulatory elements, he found, generally reside in loops closed off by a pair of CTCF proteins — neighborhoods that were later named “insulated genomic domains,” or IGDs. By sending regulator or effector proteins to dysregulated IGDs (there are more than 15,000 of them in total), Omega’s pitch was to create a controlled epigenetic programming platform for what Karande calls the “control room of human biology.”

Alpna Seth (Nura Bio)

Three years af­ter leav­ing Bio­gen, Alp­na Seth takes the spot­light with $73M for her neu­ro start­up

When Alpna Seth returned to the US from Europe in 2017 — where she was tasked with setting up Biogen’s biosimilars business from the ground up — she knew she was ready to leave her 19-year tenure behind and lead her own startup as CEO. Once she landed in the Bay Area, she called George Scangos, her just-retired boss.

“He said, ‘You know, I’m setting up Vir,’” she recalled. “We have a lot of money, you have experience setting up new businesses — why don’t you come join me as chief operating officer?”

A pro­tein en­gi­neer­ing plat­form spawns a new IL-2 play­er out of Basel, with hu­man tri­als loom­ing next sum­mer

Versant Ventures is debuting another biotech upstart this morning that its partners believe has big potential for developing pipelines in products created by its own unique platform tech. And they have their sights set first on one of the hottest targets in immuno-oncology.

The company is Bright Peak Therapeutics, launched out of Versant’s Ridgeline Therapeutics Discovery Engine in Basel, which is growing clinical development roots in San Diego. And they have $35 million of Versant A round cash to fund their drive to the clinic.