Japanese biotech pitching iPSC-derived med for the heart gains $26M; Andreessen Horowitz leads $4.1M seed funding for AI upstart
→ A longtime researcher in cardiac regenerative medicine has closed a $26 million Series B to advance his development of iPSC-derived cardiomyocytes as a treatment for heart failure. Keiichi Fukuda convinced a number of new investors, including SBI Investment, JMDC, Gene Techno Science, Nissay Capital and SMBC Capital, to join Astellas Venture Management in backing Tokyo-based Heartseed. The biotech expects to launch its own Phase I/II for the lead drug in HFrEF late next year, while supporting another trial for dilated cardiomyopathy initiated by Keio University.
→ Genesis Therapeutics — a spinout of Vijay Pande’s lab at Stanford joining the rush of putting AI tech to work on drug discovery and development — has bagged $4.1 million in seed funding led by Andreessen Horowitz with Felicis Ventures as a major investor.
Genesis founder Evan Feinberg told Endpoints News they differentiate themselves from other AI companies by building a neural network specifically tailored towards biopharma, rather than one based from image processing or other forms of AI.
“For many years, both academics and companies working on machine learning for small molecule drug discovery “cut and pasted” AI techniques from these other domains of computer vision and natural language and applied them to chemistry, and many still do,” He wrote in an email to Endpoints. “However, in our research, we realized that small molecule drug candidates, which are formed of atoms and bonds, could be more richly represented, and those representations could be better leveraged, by devising neural networks that directly reflect symmetries of nature”
→ After providing an update on its ongoing Phase II study of vosoritide in children with achondroplasia, BioMarin Pharmaceutical has announced that they’ve submitted a marketing authorization application (MAA) to the EMA for its investigational gene therapy, valoctocogene roxaparvovec, for adults with severe hemophilia A. The company anticipates the review to take place in January 2020 under accelerated assessment.