Venture

RA backs Medeor’s $57M round as researchers fast forward to PhIII

The Bay Area’s fast-growing biotech Medeor Therapeutics has raised $57 million in a B round to advance its late-stage tech, which might prevent the body’s rejection of organ transplants.

Peter Kolchinsky

The round was led by RA Capital Management, a well-known crossover investor, signaling Medeor Therapeutics may be prepping for an IPO in the near future.

The California biotech, founded in 2012, is developing personalized cell-based immunotherapy that’s designed to switch off the body’s immune response to donated and transplanted organs.

Almost 29,000 organ transplants have been performed in the US this year, with most of those procedures involving the kidneys. After these transplants are done, patients often take drugs like cyclosporine and tacrolimus to suppress the body’s immune system and help prevent rejection of the new organ. But these drugs must be taken for life, and can cause some pretty serious side effects.

Medeor’s approach to improving organ transplant success is quite different. The company’s lead program, called MDR-101, involves injecting blood stem cells and T cells from the organ’s donor into the receiving patient. In effect, this would “trick” the immune system of the patient to accept the donated organ as if it was their own.

The company already has this program in Phase III clinical trials in HLA-matched kidney transplant patients. The trial is being conducted under a Special Protocol Agreement with the FDA, which should speed the process along towards approval. Medeor is also doing Phase IIb trials in HLA-mismatched kidney transplants, and plans to start two additional programs with the new funds.

Other new investors in the round included Sofinnova Ventures and 6 Dimensions Capital. Existing investors Vivo Capital and WuXi Healthcare Ventures also joined.

As part of the financing, Medeor is getting two new board members: Peter Kolchinsky, portfolio manager and managing director at RA Capital; and Anand Mehra, general partner at Sofinnova.

“Organ transplantation is one of the most remarkable life-giving feats of modern medicine, though patients must deal with intense and sometimes intolerable chronic immune suppression,” Kolchinsky said in a statement. “Based on brilliant insights into human immunology, we believe Medeor may have elegantly transformed this procedure to meaningfully reduce the need for long-term immunosuppression, allowing patients not only to survive thanks to the generosity of a donor but also to enjoy a higher quality of life.”


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