Protein degradation pioneer C4 Therapeutics nabs $170M; Barcelona startup has €30M to go after cancer metastases
→ Protein degradation has been good to C4 Therapeutics. The Watertown, MA-based biotech just raised $170 million. That includes a $150 million B round as well as $20 million in venture debt from Perceptive. “This funding comes at a significant juncture, as our company is moving to a clinical stage,” says CEO Marc Cohen. “We plan on filing our first IND by the end of this year and expect to have four drug candidates in the clinic by the end of 2022.” The syndicate is big. The round was co-led by existing investor Cobro Ventures and new investor Perceptive Advisors. New equity investors in the round included Adage Capital Management, Axil Capital, Bain Capital Life Sciences, Commodore Capital, 3E Bioventures Capital, HBM Healthcare Investments, Lightchain Capital, Logos Capital, Mizuho Securities Principal Investment, Nextech, RA Capital Management, RTW Investments, Sphera Funds Management, Taiwania Capital Management, Yonjin Venture, and funds and accounts managed by T. Rowe Price Associates and Janus Henderson Investors. Existing investors also participated.
→ A Barcelona-based startup with its own approach to metastasis has just raised a €30 million launch round. Ona Therapeutics has rounded up the money from Asabys Partners and new investors Alta Life Sciences, Bpifrance – InnoBio 2, Fund+ and Ysios Capital. The biotech is founding on key findings by co-founder Salvador Aznar-Benitah, who showed that metastatic cells are addicted to fat — unlike primary tumors, which feasts mostly on sugar. While many cancer drug developers have tended to lump primary tumors and metastases together, “we see it as a different type of beast,” CEO Valerie Vanhooren told Endpoints News. The Ablynx vet expects the cash to take them through a large proof-of-concept basket trial involving up to 150 patients, from which Ona will select the most promising indications to pursue for its antibodies.
→ Hopping on the SPAC bandwagon, RA Capital has filed for a $100 million IPO for its blank check company. Peter Kolchinsky is Therapeutics Acquisition’s CEO and chairman — which in effect means he will lead the search for a promising biotech to buy and flip to the Nasdaq. Special purpose acquisition companies have become a trendy vehicle among marquee healthcare investors, with Chardan and RTW already executed the mergers that their SPACs were set up for.
→ Shenzhen, China-based Immvira has raised $58 million to fund development of its oncolytic viruses, which promises to replicate better, kill cancer cells more effectively, and induce more immune response than the previous generation. Its lead candidate has launched clinical studies in Australia, China and the US. Huagai Capital led the round, with participation from Apricot Capital and Cowin Capital.
→ Can CAR-T be part of the answer to an HIV cure? A group of UCLA researchers have received a $13.65 million grant from the NIH to find out. By modifying a patient’s own stem cells to resist HIV infection and hunt down infected cells, the treatment would ideally replicate the effect of a stem cell transplantation.