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Daphne Koller, insitro CEO (insitro)

Daphne Koller’s AI start­up gets $143M in new cash from a16z, oth­ers

Biotech is becoming saturated with machine learning companies promising to reinvent and hasten drug development, but few, if any, have amassed the war chest Daphne Koller has.

Entering Tuesday, the former Stanford professor, MacArthur Fellowship recipient, Coursera founder and chief computing officer of Google’s secretive anti-aging biotech Calico had raised $100 million for her AI startup insitro. Now she’s raised $143 million more.

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Ex-Ax­o­vant crew at Arvelle ups Se­ries A haul, de­ploy­ing $200M-plus to com­mer­cial­ize epilep­sy drug in Eu­rope

One of the characteristic features of the sprawling biotech group Vivek Ramaswamy has built at Roivant is its ability to whip up big-money financing deals for its subsidiaries. Axovant was a prime example, raising $315 million in an IPO — a monster by 2015 and even today’s standards — with an Alzheimer’s pitch before a spectacular flop forced the company to replot its course directly and pivot to gene therapy.

Andrew Hopkins, Exscientia founder and CEO (Exscientia)

Af­ter years of part­ner­ships, AI biotech Ex­sci­en­tia lands first ma­jor fi­nanc­ing round at $60M

After years racking up partnerships with biotechs and Big Pharma, the AI drug developer Exscientia has landed its first large financing round.

The UK-based company raised $60 million in a Series C round led by Novo Holdings — more than double the $26 million it garnered in a Series B 18 months ago. The round will help further the company’s expansion into the US and further what it calls, borrowing a term from the software world, its “full-stack capabilities,” i.e. its ability to develop drugs from the earliest stage to the market.

Sujal Patel and Parag Mallick, Nautilus co-founders

Be­zos, Paul Allen funds, a16z put up $100M to build an Il­lu­mi­na of hu­man pro­teins

Beaming in from the wooden table of his West Coast home, an 80-year-old Lee Hartwell recalls the early days of the genomic revolution, when it seemed like cancer might become the answer to an equation: Learn its genetic basis, learn its antidote.

The 2001 Nobel Prize winner was still president of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center during those early years, at the start of the millennium. The idea held promise then, he said. Reality has been tougher.

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Jean-Pierre Sommadossi, Atea Pharmaceuticals CEO (Atea)

Phar­mas­set co-founder jumps in­to Covid-19 fight, with a new com­pa­ny and $215 mil­lion to get there

For 7 years, Atea Pharmaceuticals hummed along, another biotech in a city full of them, filing patents, quietly picking up a few small funding rounds for molecules targeting hepatitis, Dengue and RSV — some of the few infectious diseases that could still generate investor interest.

Then Covid-19 struck and now they’ve raised $215 million in a single round from over a dozen investors, including Bain Capital and RA Capital. They’ll use it to launch a cross-country Phase II trial testing their lead drug, AT-527, as the latest new antiviral to go up against the coronavirus.

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An­dreessen Horowitz backs a new mol­e­cule builder from UCLA equipped with the lat­est in con­ver­gence tech. And he’s aim­ing big

Sri Kosuri has spent years at a scientific crossroads, watching the rapidly accelerating work on synthetic biology, big data and genomics. The MIT grad spent time working as a staff scientist with George Church at the Wyss Institute. And he kept at it as a professor in chemistry at UCLA.

Now, Kosuri’s taken a leave of absence after bagging a $30 million investment from Andreessen Horowitz to see if he can take these convergent technologies in polypharmacology and create a powerful new machine for drug discovery. The upstart biotech is called Octant. And Kosuri’s shooting for something groundbreaking in the toughest fields he can find.

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Anthony Sun (Zentalis)

Flush with $165M IPO cash, Zen­tal­is en­tices Ty­bourne, Or­biMed to fund a $20M Chi­na joint ven­ture

Weeks after jumping into the public eye with an upsized $165 million IPO ($190 million if you count the overallotment), setting an upbeat tone for the later pandemic biotech floats, Zentalis Pharmaceuticals is following up with a plan to take three of its experimental cancer drugs to China.

Tybourne Capital Management had led a $20 million Series A for Zentera Therapeutics, a joint venture tasked with developing and commercializing current and future drugs out of Zentalis. OrbiMed Asia also came on board, though Zentalis remains the majority shareholder.

Robert Spignesi (Rapid Micro Biosystems)

Al­ly Bridge joins Bain in $120M bet that speed­ing up man­u­fac­tur­ing QC can hit big in post-pan­dem­ic world

The global tide of venture and private equity money flooding into biopharma — undeterred, if not boosted, by the public health crisis — is floating the boats of not just drug developers but also the vendors that help them do their job. In the latest example, China’s Ally Bridge Group and Switzerland’s Endeavour Vision have joined Bain Capital in contributing to Rapid Micro Biosystems’ $120 million financing.

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'Tis the sea­son for bio­phar­ma fundrais­ing, as Cowen clos­es $493M fund

Another healthcare venture fund is surfeit with capital, as the season for fundraising motors on amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Cowen Healthcare Investments (CHI), an investment manager affiliated with the investment bank Cowen, has closed its third fund, raising $493 million, a meaty $93 million above its original target. Founded in 2012, CHI focuses its investments in established biopharma, diagnostics and digital health companies and has injected funds in 38 private companies thus far.

With bucks from Pfiz­er added to their new round, Am­plyx steers a tricky course through PhII and a glob­al pan­dem­ic

After beefing up its pipeline last year with an in-licensing deal from Novartis, San Diego-based Amplyx has lined up an extension of their C round, designed to pay their way through a slate of mid-stage trials putting their experimental drugs to the test in humans. And this time they’re getting some bucks from Pfizer to pay for the next leg in the development process.

The new money — a $53 million add to the first tranche in 2017 — brings their C round total to $90 million-plus, with Pfizer joining a syndicate that includes Sofinnova Venture Partners, with participation from existing investors including New Enterprise Associates, Lundbeckfonden Ventures, Arix Bioscience, Pappas Capital, RiverVest Venture Partners, 3×5 Partners and BioMed Ventures. Adage Capital was another new investor in the round, with Pfizer, which brings the biotech’s total raise to date to $140 million.