PureTech's video game for AD­HD gets big Se­ries D fi­nanc­ing; Day One in­creas­es term sheet ahead of ex­pect­ed IPO

The mak­er of the first pre­scrip­tion video game treat­ment an­nounced it re­ceived $110 mil­lion in Se­ries D fi­nanc­ing Wednes­day.

Ak­ili’s En­deav­or­Rx is an FDA-ap­proved video game to im­prove at­ten­tion func­tion in chil­dren with AD­HD. The game is de­signed to tar­get at­ten­tion­al con­trol sys­tems in the brain and present sen­so­ry and mo­tor chal­lenges to ac­ti­vate the ner­vous sys­tems.

The com­pa­ny was found­ed by PureTech, the Boston-based bio­ther­a­peu­tics com­pa­ny.

The fi­nanc­ing round brings Ak­ili’s to­tal fund­ing to $230 mil­lion so far, and will al­low the com­pa­ny to fur­ther its pre­scrip­tion dig­i­tal ther­a­peu­tics that tar­get cog­ni­tive dis­or­ders. It al­so re­ceived a $50 mil­lion cred­it from Sil­i­con Val­ley Bank. Neu­berg­er Berman Funds led the fi­nanc­ing round, and were joined by Po­laris Part­ners, Mi­rae As­sets, Sh­iono­gi & Com­pa­ny and Dave Baszuc­ki, among oth­ers.

“Our $160M fi­nanc­ing an­nounced to­day is an­oth­er sig­nif­i­cant step in de­liv­er­ing on Ak­ili’s mis­sion to rein­vent med­i­cine,” CFO San­tosh Shanbhag said in the re­lease. “It will en­able us to bring En­deav­or­Rx to as many ap­pro­pri­ate pa­tients as pos­si­ble, ad­vance our core tech­nol­o­gy, ex­pand our glob­al foot­print, and fund re­search across a wide range of cog­ni­tive im­pair­ments.”

In April, PureTech an­nounced that they’re us­ing a 200-year-old dis­cov­ery in­to a new ap­proach to treat Alzheimer’s dis­ease. Al­ready pub­lic in Lon­don, Puretech rang the Nas­daq open­ing bell in Jan­u­ary, in cel­e­bra­tion of its IPO. — Josh Sul­li­van

Day One in­creas­es term sheet ahead of ex­pect­ed IPO

Ahead of an ex­pect­ed IPO pric­ing Wednes­day evening, pe­di­atric can­cer biotech Day One has in­creased the num­ber of shares of­fered.

Day One plans to of­fer 10 mil­lion shares be­tween $14 and $16 apiece with an es­ti­mat­ed raise of $150 mil­lion, up from 8.4 mil­lion shares at the same range, ac­cord­ing to Re­nais­sance Cap­i­tal. That’s an in­crease of 19% with less than 24 hours to go for the biotech’s Nas­daq de­but.

Day One’s mis­sion re­volves around the gap it says ex­ists be­tween adult can­cer drugs and the pe­di­atric space, ar­gu­ing phar­ma has left this field be­hind. Their lead pro­gram is a for­mer Take­da pro­gram called DAY101, an oral pan-RAF in­hibitor that can cross the blood-brain bar­ri­er and block mu­ta­tions in gliomas.

Re­searchers are tar­get­ing an in­di­ca­tion to treat pe­di­atric low-grade gliomas, the most com­mon form of brain tu­mors in chil­dren. Day One plans to list un­der the tick­er $DAWN. — Max Gel­man

As­traZeneca an­nounces bond sale to help with Alex­ion pur­chase

As­traZeneca will sell $7 bil­lion in bonds to help fund its ac­qui­si­tion of Alex­ion Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals, the com­pa­ny an­nounced Wednes­day.

The phar­ma com­pa­ny will buy the Boston-based biotech for a deal worth $39 bil­lion in a deal that was an­nounced in De­cem­ber. British reg­u­la­tors are in­ves­ti­gat­ing the deal over com­pe­ti­tion con­cerns, and will be done by Ju­ly 21, they said.

The FTC has al­ready ap­proved the deal. An­oth­er 9 coun­tries, in­clud­ing Brazil and Cana­da, have all ap­proved the deal as well. More than 99% of share­hold­ers at both com­pa­nies vot­ed in fa­vor of the deal in sep­a­rate meet­ings ear­li­er in May. — Josh Sul­li­van

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.

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.

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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Div­ing deep­er in­to in­her­it­ed reti­nal dis­or­ders, No­var­tis gob­bles up an­oth­er bite-sized op­to­ge­net­ics biotech

Right about a year ago, a Novartis team led by Jay Bradner and Cynthia Grosskreutz at NIBR swooped in to scoop up a Cambridge, MA-based opthalmology gene therapy company called Vedere. Their focus was on a rather narrow market niche: inherited retinal dystrophies that include a wide range of genetic retinal disorders marked by the loss of photoreceptor cells and progressive vision loss.

But that was just the first deal that whet their appetite.

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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.

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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Den­mark's Gubra to col­lab­o­rate with Bay­er on pep­tides; Sam­sung and Bio­gen re­ceive FDA ap­proval for Lu­cen­tis biosim­i­lar

Danish biotech Gubra announced a research collaboration and license agreement with Bayer to develop peptide therapeutics to treat cardiorenal diseases. The collaboration will utilize Gubra’s peptide drug discovery platform to identify potential candidates.

This is not the first time Gubra has partnered with a company on peptide therapeutics — they partnered with Boehringer Ingelheim back in 2017 to create peptide therapeutics to treat obesity.

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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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.