Deals

The small, virtual team at Syntimmune bags a $50M round in the march toward a pivotal test

David de Graaf, CEO, Syntimmune

With a pair of Phase Ib/IIa studies underway for its lead drug, the virtual team at Syntimmune now has a $50 million venture round— largely provided by Apple Tree Partners — to take them on toward a potential registration study.

Over the last 3-plus years since the biotech was founded, Syntimmune has been making steady progress on its key goal: working on drugs targeting IgG-mediated autoimmune diseases by blocking FcRn-IgG interactions. They’ve put the lead program for SYNT001 through a small Phase Ia and now they’re intent on extending their view into the potential efficacy their lead drug has in two rare diseases— pemphigus and warm autoimmune hemolytic anemia.

“I think we have the ability to go all the way,” CEO David de Graaf tells me. With this new cash infusion, the company can get to the registration study and then have a discussion about the future. As with most venture-backed startups plotting their way through mid-stage work and on to what they hope will be a clean success in a pivotal study, that discussion usually boils down to a choice between an IPO and selling long term goals to investors, another round or selling the company.

“We don’t have to worry about that now,” says de Graaf. With 001 moved forward, he says, “everything else is a distraction.”

This is the experienced CEO’s first virtual company. Technically based in New York, the biotech has an office in Waltham, MA with five staffers and a host of consultants lending a hand as needed. With the new round, says de Graaf with a light laugh, he may well boost the virtual staff to six.

Just because the company is small doesn’t mean it’s slow.

“We hope to move very rapidly,” says de Graaf, “and may even be in a registration trial by the middle to end of next year.” The investor cash in this round will also help Syntimmune scale up manufacturing so it will have the drug ready for a registration trial.

There’s also time and money to add to the program, he notes. The platform tech extends to a range of diseases, and if their lead drug works on these two ailments, the same strategy should work in other similar conditions.

It’s worth noting that this is the third venture investment of the morning. Together, they amount to close to $200 million for work centered in the Cambridge/Boston hub. That’s a considerable haul, and the day is just beginning.


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RAPS Regulatory Convergence 2017