→ An Oxford spinout has nabbed about $9 million in a Series A round designed to allow the university founders to industrialize their peptide discovery and development platform. Professors Graham Ogg and Terry Rabbitts started Orbit Discovery and say they already have three pharma partners for the biotech upstart. Oxford Sciences Innovation led the round, joined by new investors RT Ventures, Borealis Ventures, Perivoli Innovations, along with further investment from all existing investors and Oxford University. “We’ve been very successful in delivering on Orbit’s strategy, leading to growth in both capability development and commercial collaborations,” commented Alex Batchelor, CEO at Orbit. “This Series A funding allows us to greatly expand platform industrialisation whilst achieving the milestones in our existing three pharma partnerships. Moreover, we can support further strategic collaborations that align with development of our platform.”
→ Cambridge, MA-based bluebird bio $BLUE has picked up some significant bragging rights today, winning the FDA’s breakthrough therapy designation for their Lenti-D investigational gene therapy for cerebral adrenoleukodystrophy. The BTD comes on the heels of a speech by FDA commissioner Scott Gottlieb, who’s promising to pull out the stops in accelerating approvals for new gene therapies now in the pipeline.
→ Verrica Pharmaceuticals in West Chester, PA has filed for an IPO, penciling in $86 million for the raise. They’re a dermatology company, working on a lead drug that uses a reformulation of cantharidin that’s applied through a single-use applicator. It’s now in two late-stage studies.
→ Consonance Capital Partners is teaming up with Jay Mohr to “seek out opportunities to acquire, develop and commercialize specialty pharmaceutical products with the intended goal of creating a durable, scalable specialty pharmaceutical platform.” Mohr was a co-founder at Locust Walk.
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