Pe­ter Thiel jumps aboard Al­loy's lat­est $75M round, adding some heft to the an­ti­body dis­cov­ery out­fit's nascent plat­form

Errik An­der­son

In the world of ven­ture cap­i­tal, names mat­ter — and few names are big­ger than Sil­i­con Val­ley pow­er play­er Pe­ter Thiel. Af­ter mak­ing a sprin­kling of plays over the past cou­ple years, Thiel is now putting his weighty name be­hind an­ti­body play­er Al­loy Ther­a­peu­tics as part of a new fundrais­ing round.

Boston-based Al­loy, which was found­ed in 2017, closed a $75 mil­lion Se­ries C on Mon­day, head­lined by Thiel’s in­vest­ment. The biotech is build­ing a hu­man an­ti­body dis­cov­ery plat­form, dubbed ATX-Gx, that us­es high­ly im­muno­com­pe­tent trans­genic mice strains.

Pro­ceeds from the round will al­low Al­loy to ex­pand the scope of its plat­form as well as ex­pand its ca­pac­i­ty to take on more cus­tomers, ac­cord­ing to a re­lease. Cur­rent­ly, there are more than 70 com­pa­nies us­ing ATX-Gx in labs, Al­loy said.

“At Al­loy we are build­ing an ecosys­tem of col­lab­o­ra­tion across the bio­phar­ma com­mu­ni­ty to re­duce the bar­ri­ers of trans­la­tion and make bet­ter med­i­cines to­geth­er,” CEO Errik An­der­son said in a state­ment.

Fabi­an Hansen

Hav­ing Thiel on board will in­evitably help raise the com­pa­ny’s pro­file.

In 2017, Thiel made head­lines when he in­vest­ed more than $5 mil­lion in Pep­ti­log­ics, an an­tibi­ot­ic com­pa­ny fo­cused on al­ter­ing drug dis­cov­ery for un­met needs. Just a few months ago, Thiel al­so bet on Ab­Cellera, which at the time was a lit­tle known biotech. He con­tributed fund­ing and joined the com­pa­ny’s board as a non-ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor as it worked to de­vel­op what would ul­ti­mate­ly be­come the first an­ti­body treat­ment au­tho­rized for Covid-19 along­side part­ner Eli Lil­ly. They won $1.8 bil­lion in gov­ern­ment con­tracts to dis­trib­ute the drug in the US. That move came short­ly af­ter Thiel spoke out against the US fed­er­al gov­ern­ment’s han­dling of the Covid-19 pan­dem­ic.

Alaa Ha­lawa

8VC, Pre­sight Cap­i­tal and Thiel led the fund­ing round, and Mubadala Cap­i­tal, Founders Fund and Gain­gels par­tic­i­pat­ed as well. As a part of the fi­nanc­ing, Fabi­an Hansen, founder of Pre­sight, will join the board of di­rec­tors and Alaa Ha­lawa will come on as a board ob­serv­er.

“We have deep roots in com­pa­ny build­ing, par­tic­u­lar­ly in health­care,” Ha­lawa said in a state­ment. “Al­loy’s am­bi­tious long-term vi­sion is a nat­ur­al fit for our part­ner­ship.”

In De­cem­ber 2020, Al­loy teamed up with Maze Ther­a­peu­tics to cre­ate the spin­off com­pa­ny Broad­wing Bio. Broad­wing is fo­cused on oph­thal­mol­o­gy can­di­dates, an area that has been lack­ing in in­no­va­tion re­cent­ly.

So­cial im­age: Pe­ter Thiel (Pho­tog­ra­ph­er: Kiyoshi Ota/Bloomberg via Get­ty Im­ages)

Health­care Dis­par­i­ties and Sick­le Cell Dis­ease

In the complicated U.S. healthcare system, navigating a serious illness such as cancer or heart disease can be remarkably challenging for patients and caregivers. When that illness is classified as a rare disease, those challenges can become even more acute. And when that rare disease occurs in a population that experiences health disparities, such as people with sickle cell disease (SCD) who are primarily Black and Latino, challenges can become almost insurmountable.

Jacob Van Naarden (Eli Lilly)

Ex­clu­sives: Eli Lil­ly out to crash the megablock­buster PD-(L)1 par­ty with 'dis­rup­tive' pric­ing; re­veals can­cer biotech buy­out

It’s taken 7 years, but Eli Lilly is promising to finally start hammering the small and affluent PD-(L)1 club with a “disruptive” pricing strategy for their checkpoint therapy allied with China’s Innovent.

Lilly in-licensed global rights to sintilimab a year ago, building on the China alliance they have with Innovent. That cost the pharma giant $200 million in cash upfront, which they plan to capitalize on now with a long-awaited plan to bust up the high-price market in lung cancer and other cancers that have created a market worth tens of billions of dollars.

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David Meek, new Mirati CEO (Marlene Awaad/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Fresh off Fer­Gene's melt­down, David Meek takes over at Mi­rati with lead KRAS drug rac­ing to an ap­proval

In the insular world of biotech, a spectacular failure can sometimes stay on any executive’s record for a long time. But for David Meek, the man at the helm of FerGene’s recent implosion, two questionable exits made way for what could be an excellent rebound.

Meek, most recently FerGene’s CEO and a past head at Ipsen, has become CEO at Mirati Therapeutics, taking the reins from founding CEO Charles Baum, who will step over into the role of president and head of R&D, according to a release.

FDA hands ac­cel­er­at­ed nod to Seagen, Gen­mab's so­lo ADC in cer­vi­cal can­cer, but com­bo stud­ies look even more promis­ing

Biopharma’s resident antibody-drug conjugate expert Seagen has scored a clutch of oncology approvals in recent years, finding gold in what are known as “third-gen” ADCs. Now, another of their partnered conjugates is ready for prime time.

The FDA on Monday handed an accelerated approval to Seagen and Genmab’s Tivdak (tisotumab vedotin-tftv, or “TV”) in second-line patients with recurrent or metastatic cervical cancer who previously progressed after chemotherapy rather than PD-(L)1 systemic therapy, the companies said in a release.

Rafaèle Tordjman (Jeito Capital)

Con­ti­nu­ity and di­ver­si­ty: Rafaèle Tord­j­man's women-led VC firm tops out first fund at $630M

For a first-time fund, Jeito Capital talks a lot about continuity.

Rafaèle Tordjman had spotlighted that concept ever since she started building the firm in 2018, promising to go the extra mile(s) with biotech entrepreneurs while pushing them to reach patients faster.

Coincidentally, the lack of continuity was one of the sore spots listed in a report about the European healthcare sector published that same year by the European Investment Bank — whose fund is one of the LPs, alongside the American pension fund Teacher Retirement System of Texas and Singapore’s Temasek, to help Jeito close its first fund at $630 million (€534 million). As previously reported, Sanofi had chimed in €50 million, marking its first investment in a French life sciences fund.

Dave Lennon, former president of Novartis Gene Therapies

Zol­gens­ma patent spat brews be­tween No­var­tis and Re­genxbio as top No­var­tis gene ther­a­py ex­ec de­parts

Regenxbio, a small licensor of gene therapy viral vectors spun out from the University of Pennsylvania, is now finding itself in the middle of some major league patent fights.

In addition to a patent suit with Sarepta Therapeutics from last September, Novartis, is now trying to push its smaller partner out of the way. The Swiss biopharma licensed Regenxbio’s AAV9 vector for its $2.1 million spinal muscular atrophy therapy Zolgensma.

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Time for round 2: Il­lu­mi­na-backed VC snags $325M for its next fund

Illumina Ventures closed off its second investment fund with a total commitment of $325 million, offering fresh fuel to back a slate of startups that have already included a smorgasbord of companies, covering everything from diagnostics to biotech drug development and genomics.

Fund II brings the total investment under Illumina Ventures’ oversight to $560 million, which has been focused on early-stage companies. And it has a transatlantic portfolio that includes SQZ, Twist and Encoded Therapeutics.

Volker Wagner (L) and Jeff Legos

As Bay­er, No­var­tis stack up their ra­dio­phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal da­ta at #ES­MO21, a key de­bate takes shape

Ten years ago, a small Norwegian biotech by the name of Algeta showed up at ESMO — then the European Multidisciplinary Cancer Conference 2011 — and declared that its Bayer-partnered targeted radionuclide therapy, radium-223 chloride, boosted the overall survival of castration-resistant prostate cancer patients with symptomatic bone metastases.

In a Phase III study dubbed ALSYMPCA, patients who were treated with radium-223 chloride lived a median of 14 months compared to 11.2 months. The FDA would stamp an approval on it based on those data two years later, after Bayer snapped up Algeta and christened the drug Xofigo.

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Raju Mohan, Ventyx Biosciences CEO

Months af­ter a mam­moth raise, Ven­tyx Bio­sciences dips back in­to ven­ture well

Several months after emerging from what CEO Raju Mohan called “quiet mode” with a mammoth $114 million raise, Ventyx Biosciences is now making its plans for the clinic loud and clear.

The California-based immune modulation player kicked the week off with a $51 million Series B, while also naming some key hires ahead of its big clinical push.

The CMO slot is going to Jörn Drappa, former CMO at Viela Bio before it was bought out by Horizon Therapeutics earlier this year. The AstraZeneca vet stayed on at Horizon for a while as executive VP of R&D before making the jump to Ventyx.