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Neil Woodford. Woodford Investment Management via YouTube

An­oth­er one of Neil Wood­ford's port­fo­lio com­pa­nies es­capes as UK biotech ex­ecs flee a col­lapse of faith

LONDON — Malin has joined the growing queue of life sciences companies that have managed to extricate themselves from a flailing Neil Woodford.

The biotech investment group $MLC noted in a release that Pentwater Capital — a US hedge fund — had boosted its holdings in the company to 26%, taking out a large portion of the stake that was held by a deeply troubled Woodford Investment Management, which now holds less than 3% of the stock.

Pearl Huang. Cygnal

'We're ripe': Cyg­nal draws the cur­tain on Flag­ship's lat­est bet on ex­oneur­al bi­ol­o­gy — and $65M in cash

No matter how many times one’s heard Flagship Pioneering’s ideation process described, there always seems to be an element of evolutionary wonder: bold, new concepts that are “several standard deviations away from what is known,” put through a rigorous vetting process first aimed at trying to kill the idea, and only the fittest survive.

That’s perhaps why Pearl Huang found its latest creation, Cygnal Therapeutics, and its focus on the peripheral nervous system “irresistibly attractive.” While Huang’s appointment as CEO back in January was well-publicized, Cygnal is just spelling out the details on its platform today, with $65 million — mostly from Flagship — to boast.

Richard Cornall, Eliot Charles, Simon Davis. MiroBio

An­ti­body re­search grad­u­ates from a top Ox­ford lab in­to the biotech world — with $34M to fund R&D work

For the past 15 years the University of Oxford’s Simon Davis has been mapping the surface of T cells, exploring and examining the structures of surface proteins while determining what it takes to manage specific immune cell signaling. And now a group of UK investors says its ready to advance that research toward the clinic, inside a new biotech vehicle they’re setting up to take the tech into the commercial sphere.

Aeov­ian Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals brings in $37 mil­lion in mTOR play

San Francisco-based Aeovian Pharmaceuticals has banked $37 million in Series A financing to launch its mTORC1 inhibitor into a proof-of-concept for what the company says is an undisclosed rare CNS disease.

Linked to a number of aging and nutrient-sensing processes, the mTOR pathway has typically been seen as a rich target for pharmaceutical companies hoping to make inroads in lifespan/healthspan extension. The secrecy behind the ‘undisclosed disease’ is not unusual in a field where research is often painted with the broad brush of ‘age-related diseases.’ Part of Aeovian’s IP comes from the Buck Institute in Novato, California, an independent research institute dedicated solely to studying connections between aging and chronic disease.

Re­gen­eron dou­bles down on part­ner Adicet's gam­ma delta T cell tech in $80M fi­nanc­ing

Three years after singling out Adicet Bio as a top contender in the race for a new wave of off-the-shelf immune cell therapies and putting down $25 million upfront for a research pact, Regeneron is reinforcing its endorsement in the form of an equity investment.

The big biotech has jumped into an $80 million Series B for its partner, which is designed to further its work on gamma delta T cells and push a lead therapy for non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma to the clinic. Solid tumor programs will follow.

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Meis­sa ob­tains $30M Se­ries A from Morn­ing­side to test syn­thet­ic bi­ol­o­gy ap­proach to 'elu­sive' RSV vac­cines

Morningside Ventures has written a $30 million check to fuel an early-stage exploration of a new kind of respiratory syncytial virus.

Meissa Vaccines has chosen a field in which the most high-profile recent development might be the demise of Gates Foundation-backed NovaVax, after its candidate failed to protect either infants or the elderly from respiratory tract infections caused by RSV. AstraZeneca has had more luck with an antibody approach, but other disappointments abound.

Boehringer In­gel­heim backs Max Planck spin­out in tak­ing a shot at tough class of can­cer tar­gets

Scientists have long known about tumor-associated carbohydrate antigens — those abnormal saccharides that are abundant on cancer cell surfaces and feed them on — but their ability to hide from the immune systems means they have proved to be evasive targets in immuno-oncology.

Two glycosciences experts at the Max Planck Institute in Germany believed synthesizing those targets in the first place is key to cracking that problem. They have now received a modest seed round to pursue that idea at their Berlin-based biotech spinout, Tacalyx.

Amid Wood­ford de­ba­cle, Im­muno­core cuts val­u­a­tion as it se­cures $74M from Gen­er­al At­lantic — re­port

Immunocore appears to be the latest domino to fall around Neil Woodford’s debacle as it solicits new backing at a drastically lower valuation.

Once a star in the UK biotech scene, Immunocore fetched $320 million to launch a sprawling operation around TCR research and its valuation had once reached nearly $1 billion (£800m). But that figure has been slashed to around $621 million (£500 million) in its latest financing, the Telegraph reported.

Jason Kelly. Mike Blake/Reuters via Adobe

Eye­ing big ther­a­peu­tic push, Gink­go bags $290M to build a cell pro­gram­ming em­pire

Ginkgo Bioworks is on a roll. Days after publicizing a plan to nurture new startups via partnerships with accelerators Y Combinator and Petri, the Boston biotech says it has raised another $290 million for its cell programming platform to reach further and wider.

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Zachary Hornby. Boundless

'A fourth rev­o­lu­tion in can­cer ther­a­pies': ARCH-backed Bound­less Bio flash­es big check, makes big­ger promis­es in de­but

It was the cellular equivalent of opening your car door and finding an active, roaring engine in the driver seat.

Scientists learned strands of DNA could occasionally appear outside of its traditional home in the nucleus in the 1970s, when they appeared as little, innocuous circles on microscopes; inexplicable but apparently innate. But not until UC San Diego’s Paul Mischel published his first study in Science in 2014 did researchers realize these circles were not only active but potentially overactive and driving some cancer tumors’ superhuman growth.