New­path Part­ners kicks off $350M fund with a wun­derkind hold­ing the bag and an all-star sci­en­tif­ic team wait­ing in the wings

The world of biotech isn’t short on big per­son­al­i­ties, but it’s not ex­act­ly com­mon to see young pro­fes­sion­als earn­ing the broad re­spect of sea­soned aca­d­e­mics. Yet, Tom Cahill and his team at New­path have snagged the sup­port of some of biotech’s biggest names in just a few short years in ex­is­tence.

How did Cahill do it? He thinks big.

New­path Part­ners kicked off its sec­ond ven­ture fund Wednes­day, dubbed New­path Fund II, with $350 mil­lion to sup­port re­search from some of the best and bright­est re­searchers and se­r­i­al biotech en­tre­pre­neurs wait­ing in the wings.

Un­der Cahill’s lead­er­ship, New­path has plant­ed its flags in some of the biggest biotech launch­es in the past year, in­clud­ing the $315 mil­lion launch of Prime Med­i­cines in Ju­ly, the $500 mil­lion launch of Neumo­ra Ther­a­peu­tics and a $125 mil­lion launch for Chro­ma Med­i­cine last month.

Cahill, a Duke grad­u­ate with on­ly a few years in ven­ture cap­i­tal, has punched above his weight in as­sem­bling a who’s who list of aca­d­e­m­ic part­ners, in­clud­ing (but cer­tain­ly not lim­it­ed to) best­selling au­thor and Co­lum­bia re­searcher Sid­dhartha Mukher­jee, the Broad In­sti­tute’s gene edit­ing gu­ru David Liu and leg­endary Howard Hugh­es Med­ical In­sti­tute re­searcher Ron Vale.

One of those fre­quent col­lab­o­ra­tors is Stu­art Schreiber, the famed co-founder of the Broad, who has worked with Cahill’s team launch­ing Ko­jin Ther­a­peu­tics in Ju­ly and build­ing the stealth biotech Kis­bee Ther­a­peu­tics. Get­ting backed by Schreiber, whose long shad­ow Cahill al­le­go­rized to End­points News as the “Genghis Khan of biotech” (he meant that in a nice way), is no mi­nor achieve­ment.

But Schreiber said Cahill’s pre­co­cious tal­ent in iden­ti­fy­ing the next sci­en­tif­ic break­through and his earnest mis­sion to make the world a bet­ter place has earned the trust of oth­er­wise jad­ed re­searchers who have been in and around the game for years.

“Tom Cahill is a force of na­ture and a sin­gu­lar­i­ty in many ways,” he said. “This is a guy who is all about val­ues, and he’s very in­ter­est­ed in dis­rup­tive ideas that are the right ideas. He has a vo­ra­cious ap­petite for things that if suc­cess­ful will change the world.”

In­deed, Cahill is many things — and sim­ple isn’t one of them. On our call, Cahill de­scribed the evo­lu­tion of biotech as part of a great sci­en­tif­ic pro­gres­sion dat­ing back to the Re­nais­sance. Where New­path fig­ures in­to that ex­pan­sive his­to­ry, Cahill says, is em­pow­er­ing the most for­ward-think­ing re­searchers to pur­sue the biggest pos­si­ble ideas, re­gard­less of tech­ni­cal chal­lenges or a prece­dent of fail­ure.

In short, he said: “We’re not here that long so let’s do some cool work.”

That dri­ve to help the best sci­ence have the best pos­si­ble chance at suc­cess means Cahill has been more than hap­py to col­lab­o­rate with oth­er ven­ture part­ners on dri­ving promis­ing com­pa­nies through stealth and be­yond. In two of the three ex­am­ples cit­ed above, Cahill’s team worked close­ly with Bob Nelsen’s out­fit at Arch Ven­ture — a fre­quent col­lab­o­ra­tor — which Cahill de­scribed as like-mind­ed in terms of dri­ving the next gen­er­a­tion of biotech. Nelsen him­self is known as a per­son­al­i­ty in the world of biotech, and his work both at Arch and dis­rup­tive man­u­fac­tur­ing out­fit Re­silience has caught more than a few eyes through­out the years.

With $350 mil­lion to play with, Cahill said the plan is to seed or fi­nance five more star­tups out­side of the four that are cur­rent­ly in the works, in­clud­ing his team’s work with Schreiber on Kis­bee. In terms of what those com­pa­nies are work­ing on? We’ll have to wait and see.

But Cahill did of­fer a bit of in­sight in­to what ar­eas in­ter­est him, in­clud­ing neu­ropsy­chol­o­gy, which he called the dis­ease ar­eas of the next 10 years, and de­liv­ery tech. If you’ve been fol­low­ing along with biotech the past cou­ple years, you will have no­ticed that neu­ro­science has seen a resur­gence among drug de­vel­op­ers as long sought-af­ter drug tar­gets have sud­den­ly shown promise with the rise of new ther­a­peu­tic modal­i­ties.

So where will Cahill go next? Stay tuned to find out.

Dominic Borie, Kyverna Therapeutics CEO

Well-con­nect­ed, Gilead-backed biotech gets an­oth­er stack of cash to pur­sue CAR-Ts for au­toim­mune dis­ease

Almost exactly two years after its debut at the 2020 JP Morgan confab — and on the heels of a new partnership with the gene editing experts at Intellia — a Gilead-backed, autoimmune disease-focused startup has returned to the well with a clearer outline of just what it plans to do with its CAR-T platform.

Kyverna brought in $85 million in its oversubscribed Series B, the company announced Wednesday. Northpond Ventures led the round, and Westlake Village BioPartners, Vida Ventures, Gilead and Intellia all contributed as well.

Alexander Lefterov/Endpoints News

A new can­cer im­munother­a­py brings cau­tious hope for a field long await­ing the next big break­through

Bob Seibert sat silent across from his daughter at their favorite Spanish restaurant near his home in Charleston County, SC, their paella growing cold as he read through all the places in his body doctors found tumors.

He had texted his wife, a pediatric intensive care nurse, when he got the alert that his online chart was ready. Although he saw immediately it was bad, many of the terms — peritoneal, right iliac — were inscrutable. But she was five hours downstate, at a loud group dinner the night before another daughter’s cheer competition.

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Bahija Jallal, Immunocore CEO

BREAK­ING: FDA hur­ries up a quick ap­proval for the world's first TCR -- af­ter a 14-year R&D trek

Over the 14 years since Immunocore was spun out of MediGene in a quest to develop a gamechanging cancer med, the biotech has raised record sums and undergone a major shakeup on a long roller coaster ride of valuations for investors. But they survived and thrived and today they’re popping the champagne corks to celebrate an FDA approval of their first TCR drug.

Immunocore flagged the FDA’s green light for tebentafusp Wednesday morning by highlighting a series of firsts.

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Days af­ter Gilead yanks PI3K drug, In­cyte with­draws NDA for its own PI3K — say­ing con­fir­ma­to­ry tri­als would take too long

The FDA’s intensifying scrutiny on accelerated approvals isn’t just putting pressure on drugmakers with marketed products. It is also subtly reshaping the regulatory dynamics.

Case in point: Incyte announced late Tuesday that it has made the “business decision” to withdraw an NDA for parsaclisib, its oral PI3Kδ inhibitor, after deciding that running the confirmatory studies the agency was asking for to support an accelerated approval wouldn’t be worth it.

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Dan O'Day (Getty Images)

In a set­back, FDA or­ders Gilead to hit the brakes on their late-stage, $5B can­cer play

Gilead’s $5 billion drug magrolimab has run into a serious setback.

The FDA ordered Gilead to halt enrollment on their studies of the drug in combination with azacitidine after investigators reports revealed an “apparent imbalance” in the suspected unexpected serious adverse reactions between study arms. And the halt is raising questions about Gilead’s plans for a quick pitch to regulators.

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Graphic: Alexander Lefterov for Endpoints News

Small biotechs with big drug am­bi­tions threat­en to up­end the tra­di­tion­al drug launch play­book

Of the countless decisions Vlad Coric had to make as Biohaven’s CEO over the past seven years, there was one that felt particularly nerve-wracking: Instead of selling to a Big Pharma, the company decided it would commercialize its migraine drug itself.

“I remember some investors yelling and pounding on the table like, you can’t do this. What are you thinking? You’re going to get crushed by AbbVie,” he recalled.

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Mar­ket­ingRx roundup: Pfiz­er de­buts Pre­vnar 20 TV ads; Lil­ly gets first FDA 2022 pro­mo slap down let­ter

Pfizer debuted its first TV ad for its Prevnar 20 next-generation pneumococcal pneumonia vaccine. In the 60-second spot, several people (actor portrayals) with their ages listed as 65 or older are shown walking into a clinic as they turn to say they’re getting vaccinated with Prevnar 20 because they’re at risk.

The update to Pfizer’s blockbuster Prevnar 13 vaccine was approved in June, and as its name suggests is a vaccine for 20 serotypes — the original 13 plus seven more that cause pneumococcal disease. Pfizer used to spend heavily on TV ads to promote Prevnar 13 in 2018 and 2019 but cut back its TV budgets in the past two fall and winter seasonal spending cycles. Prevnar had been Pfizer’s top-selling drug, notching sales of just under $6 billion in 2020, and was the world’s top-selling vaccine before the Covid-19 vaccines came to market last year.

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Brian Thomas, Metagenomi CEO

Gen 2: Berke­ley spin­out lands $175M megaround to keep it on the cut­ting edge of the boom­ing gene-edit­ing field

The big bucks keep pumping into the gene-editing field.

This morning Metagenomi, allied with one of the biggest names in the mRNA field with a company DNA that includes the ubiquitous Jennifer Doudna, is showing off a $175 million B round that will pay for a rapid swelling of its staff in pursuit of some of the cutting-edge tech that keeps this field in the spotlight. And they’re aligning themselves with some major industry players with an eye on the clinic while getting behind some startups to help expand the work into new fields.

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Michael Egholm, Standard BioTools president and CEO (IsoPlexis)

Eli Cas­din co-leads $250M in­fu­sion in­to mi­croflu­idics play­er that land­ed NIH fund­ing for Covid-19 test­ing

In about 17 months, Fluidigm has gone from working with sharks to Vikings.

The South San Francisco-based company, which landed NIH money in a Shark Tank-style program for Covid-19 testing, announced that it will take on an investment worth $250 million from Casdin Capital and Viking Global Investors. It will also rebrand, and call itself Standard BioTools. The investment will help the company focus on the highest growth areas of discovery and development and expand its CRO and CMO service providers. Right now, the company’s customer reach is limited to basic research, it said.

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