Three biotechs raise $100M+ in funding for gene therapies, cancer vaccines and more
→ Another day, another gene therapy developer. Prevail Therapeutics, which leapt out of stealth mode in 2017 and raised $75 million in a Series A last year for its disease-modifying approach to neurodegenerative diseases, has secured another $5o million in the bank. The New York-based company is run by Columbia University’s Asa Abeliovich, who helped co-found Alector, which is going after Alzheimer’s.
→ Founded at the University of Basel and spun off in 2014, Swiss autoimmune-focused firm Polyneuron Pharmaceuticals has scored 22.5 million swiss francs (about $22.6 million) in Series A financing, led by Sofinnova Partners and New Enterprise Associates (NEA). The injection will be used to conduct the first human trial of its lead drug, PN-1007, for a rare nervous system disease called anti-MAG neuropathy, as well as to shepherd three other programs through preclinical development.
→ With dual expertise in material science and biological engineering, Darrell Irvine of MIT has helped launch the T cell therapy startup Torque Therapeutics. He’s now pioneering another tumor fighting approach Elicio Therapeutics, a startup born out of the ashes of a generation of failed cancer vaccines. The Cambridge, MA-based company uses an amphiphile platform to precisely deliver immunogens to the lymphatic system, it says, thereby “orchestrating” an immune response to aggressive cancers. Launching with $30 million in funding, Elicio plans to begin human studies in pancreatic, colorectal and head and neck cancers in the first half of 2020.
→ In another nod to real world data and artificial intelligence — buzzwords that are taking an evident, if vague, hold of the industry — Bristol-Myers Squibb has inked an agreement to integrate a platform created by Concerto HealthAI into its clinical development process. The pact focuses on precision oncology.