Sequencing upstart raises $273M ahead of IPO; Aceragen acquires highly-anticipated Farber disease treatment
University of Oxford spinout Oxford Nanopore has raised a monster round for its “scalable” DNA and RNA sequencing tech ahead of a reported IPO filing in London.
Once caught up in the Woodford debacle, the sequencing group has raised £195 million — $273 million — with the help of a roster of new investors. Temasek, Wellington Management, M&G Investments and Nikon pitched in £125 million of that while existing investors ponied up the rest.
Reuters reported recently that the sequencing outfit has signed up bankers for a sprint to the London exchange in the second half of the year.
IP Group — a backer which itself committed £18.7 million to the round — reports that the company now has a valuation of about $3.4 billion, with its stake worth £359 million. — John Carroll
Aceragen acquires highly-anticipated Farber disease treatment
Aceragen is acquiring a company’s lead enzyme replacement therapy candidate for Farber disease, and entering a $35 million partnership to fund the development program into a potential registrational study.
The company announced the acquisition of Enzyvant’s enzyme replacement therapy RVT-801 for recombinant human acid ceramidase deficiency that presents as Farber disease. Aceragen will also enter a financing agreement with NovaQuest Capital Management to fund the drug’s development.
Enzyvant will receive up to $226 million, as well as tiered royalties on net sales, the company said in a release Monday. In 2019, the agent was granted rare pediatric disease and fast track designations from the FDA.
There is no known cure for Farber’s disease, which builds up harmful levels of lipids in the joints, tissues and central nervous system. It is caused by mutations in the ASAH1 gene and causes a deficiency of acid ceramidase, a natural lysosomal enzyme. Preclinical development has been completed, including in vivo proof of concept in a mouse model of Farber’s disease.
With the acquisition comes several completed toxicology studies, a quantitative patient research study and a natural history study in patients with Farber’s disease that highlights the progression and impact of the condition, CEO John Taylor said in a statement.
“The Aceragen team is delighted to announce the strategic transaction with Enzyvant and the relationship we have established with NovaQuest to continue the development of ACG-801. This program is based on the foundational work of Dr. Ed Schuchman at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, establishing the potential to address the underlying pathology of Farber disease, a genetic deficiency of acid ceramidase,” Taylor said.
— Josh Sullivan