Numero quattro: Immunology experts at deal-focused IFM line up $55.5M for the next leg of their drug exploration journey
It’s pipeline priming time at IFM Therapeutics. And they have the money to get the job done.
The immunology experts at the discovery outfit have lined up $55.5 million in new venture backing from an expanded syndicate — still including their big believers at Atlas. And it’s not hard to figure out the motivation.
Gary Glick, who’s moving from CEO to executive chairman on this round, and his team have lined up a slate of deals for their early-stage work.
Just 2 months ago Novartis’s NIBR stepped up with an $840 million buyout option tied to research funding for therapeutics that fire up the STING pathway. And they’ve reaped more than $600 million in cash from Bristol-Myers and Novartis on both sides of NLRP3, tamping down as well as triggering that pathway, in addition to STING.
“The financing will have a goal of graduating 2 programs into subsidiaries,” says Martin Seidel, a NIBR vet who’s now moving up to the CEO post after running research for IFM over the last couple of years.
Now comes their third subsidiary, IFM Quattro, as the crew also starts their own incubator to play with some new ideas in the field.
They’re sticking to their area of expertise in the innate immune system, looking for new ways that work in fighting cancer as well as new anti-inflammatories. What exactly is on the horizon is a topic they aren’t ready to discuss with Endpoints News, but there are a variety of possibilities. Just a couple of weeks ago a group of their scientists and collaborators published new work on the role the inflammasome plays in tau pathology — a possible new approach to Alzheimer’s, where nothing has worked so far.
“So the plan at a high level is to continue to execute on the strategy: Take target specific programs into subsidiaries” and then hunt up partners around the IND stage, says Lina Gugucheva, the BD chief at IFM. The new venture round will be enough to fuel the company of 35 staffers for the next 3 years or so as it sets up the new subsidiaries and starts to look to execute new deals.
With their track record, backers have good reason to believe that IFM has decent odds of paying off again with a solid multiple in a relatively short span of time. As a result, says Glick, there was plenty of interest from new investors, and they opted to let Omega Funds into the small syndicate, alongside Atlas and Abingworth. Omega’s Paulina Hill joins Jean-Francois Formela at Atlas and Shelley Chu from Abingworth on the board.
So what’s with the Italian numbering system at IFM? Glick says it was inspired by a traditional 12 course Italian meal. And that leaves IFM preparing the main course.
Social image: Martin Seidel, Gary Glick, Lina Gugucheva