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Rene Russo (Alicia Petitti for Xilio)

Ex ni­hi­lo: Take­da leads $100M+ round to fund biotech's sneak at­tack on tu­mors, pro­pelling new IL-2, CT­LA-4 drugs to clin­ic

Since emerging out of stealth in 2018 with $30 million in launch money from Atlas and F-Prime, Akrevia has kept a relatively low profile, hammering away at its platform technology to design immunotherapies with all their potency but little of their side effects. With an official CEO in place for almost a year — and now a new name — the biotech is ready to step up with another $100.5 million to bring its two lead compounds into the clinic.

Jim Wilson's gene ther­a­py start­up Pas­sage Bio bucks mar­ket sen­ti­ments, rais­ing up­sized $216M IPO

A coronavirus fear-induced bloodbath on the Nasdaq has not stopped Passage Bio from making a public debut — and an exuberant one.

By pricing an upsized offering at $18, the top of the range, the gene therapy biotech bagged $216 million from its IPO, 72% more than it’s originally penciled in.

The proceeds likely reflected confidence in Jim Wilson, who gathered all the tools he’s built over decades of gene therapy research to assemble the startup and teamed up with Frazier and OrbiMed to hone its focus on rare, monogenic disorders of the central nervous system. Just before the IPO, Deerfield partner Bruce Goldsmith took over from OrbiMed’s Stephen Squinto as CEO.

Mickey Kertesz, KidsandArtOrg via YouTube

Soft­Bank's newest, $165M biotech in­vest­ment looks for in­fec­tious traces in the blood

SoftBank has found its newest biotech investment.

The Japanese bank has invested $165 million into Karius, a company that uses blood tests to diagnose infectious diseases, as part of its new Vision Fund 2. The full scope of the new fund has yet to be announced, but the first and newly-beleaguered Vision Fund poured $100 billion into technology companies, including the biotechs Vir Biotechnology and Roivant and the sequencing company 10x Genomics.

Juergen Horn

An­i­mal health vet Juer­gen Horn makes new an­ti­body play for pets, rak­ing $15M in Se­ries A haul

Zoetis forked over $85 million in 2017 to acquire Nexvet Biopharma and its pipeline of monoclonal antibodies. Juergen Horn, Nexvet’s former chief product development officer, has now secured $15 million for his own biologic company for animals: Invetx.

Buoyed by emerging advances in gene therapies for humans, scientists have started looking at harnessing the technology for animals setting up companies such as Penn-partnered Scout Bio and George Church-founded Rejuvenate Bio. But akin to Nexvet, Invetx is working on leveraging the time-tested science of monoclonal antibodies to treat chronic diseases that afflict man’s best friend.

Matt Roe (Verana)

Fresh off $100M round, GV-backed re­al-world da­ta start­up woos Duke re­searcher as CMO

Days ago Verana Health closed $100 million to expand its real-world data system and get ready for “regulatory-grade.” What’s left unsaid was that they’ve also found the guy to help them do it.

The San Francisco startup has recruited Matt Roe from Duke University to be its chief medical officer, overseeing the iterative process of generating clinical data and deriving scientific insight from prospective research. His job is also to work with other stakeholders such as academic centers and the FDA to map out more use cases for real-world data.

Carol Robinson, Professor Dame Carol Robinson Research Group

Drug dis­cov­ery in HD: Ox­ford spin­of­f's mass spec­trom­e­try ap­proach scores fresh fund­ing

The technology used to detect explosives at airports — mass spectrometry — is being piloted as an engine for drug discovery.

Mass spectrometry is a tool designed to measure with profound accuracy the mass of a single molecule. Typically, mass spectrometers can be used to identify unknown compounds, to quantify known compounds, and to determine the structure and chemical properties of molecules.

Corey Goodman, venBio

Corey Good­man mar­shals $105M mega-round for his CD47 up­start, look­ing to break new ground in PhII

Corey Goodman has put another notch on his venture belt, ringing up a $105 million mega-round for his CD47 startup ALX Oncology.

Fueling a startup backed by his group at venBIO, the new money will go to a slate of mid-stage studies to test the theory that his biotech’s ALX 148 could be a game-changer in the CD47 arena. And that could be nice window dressing for a company that may be looking to go the IPO route.

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From mice to dogs, and some­day man: George Church's gene ther­a­py cock­tail for ag­ing-re­lat­ed dis­eases

Emerging gene-therapy technology could help dogs live healthier, if not longer, lives as man’s best friend.

A startup called Rejuvenate Bio — launched out of George Church’s lab at Harvard Medical School (HMS) and the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University — on Thursday, with big plans to make work on gene therapy technology engineered to prevent and treat a slew of age-related diseases in dogs and extend their healthspan.

Olivier Morand (Azafaros)

Dutch biotech scores €25M in small mol­e­cule bet to tack­le lyso­so­mal stor­age dis­or­ders

While a host of biotech companies work on gene and enzyme replacement therapies for certain lysosomal storage disorders, a Dutch player is aiming to slot in its small molecule approach across a range of these rare inherited metabolic disorders.

The company — Azafaros — founded in 2018 based on science developed from Leiden University and Amsterdam University Medical Center has secured €25 million in Series A financing as it works on shepherding its lead experimental drug into the clinic.


The Sanofi-part­nered start­up find­ing clin­i­cal tri­als for the 90%

Sanofi wanted help finding new trial sites, so a couple years ago they started talking with a startup down the street – who sent them to China.

The Paris-based startup, Inato, was building a platform to expand the pool of patients for clinical trials. Only instead of advertising or matching patients with trials, as other young companies have, Inato was trying to match pharma companies with the vast majority of hospitals that rarely, if ever, host a trial, even if they have patients better suited to a particular study than a marquee name hospital. Call them a trial platform for the 99% – or, by Inato’s calculations, the 90% of sites that are generally ignored in clinical research.