Steve Tregay (Mission BioCapital)

Tout­ing close ties to biotech in­cu­ba­tors, Mis­sion Bio­Cap­i­tal grabs $275M to help launch star­tups

Be­fore mov­ing to shiny new of­fices on their ven­ture dimes, many biotech star­tups trace their be­gin­nings back to shared lab­o­ra­to­ry spaces like Lab­Cen­tral and Bi­o­Labs.

As the in­flux of VC dol­lars push more sea­soned play­ers to­ward ear­li­er stages of in­vest­ing, Mis­sion Bio­Cap­i­tal — the in­vest­ment firm be­hind some of the more promi­nent in­cu­ba­tor fa­cil­i­ties — has re­fu­eled with an­oth­er $275 mil­lion to place a fresh set of bets.

Pe­ter Park­er

Pe­ter Park­er and Jo­hannes Frue­hauf, two of the co-founders of Lab­Cen­tral, are part of the 10-per­son in­vest­ment team at Mis­sion. Most re­cent­ly, Pfiz­er vet and ex-De­ci­phera CEO Michael Tay­lor joined as op­er­at­ing part­ner while Steve Tre­gay took the co-man­ag­ing part­ner post, his first since leav­ing For­ma Ther­a­peu­tics.

Through part­ner­ships with MBC Bi­o­Labs, Lab­Cen­tral and Bi­o­Labs, Park­er said, they hope to of­fer sup­port and com­mu­ni­ty to founders “when they need it most.”

“Our team em­pow­ers ex­cep­tion­al biotech en­tre­pre­neurs from all walks of life,” Park­er said in a state­ment. “With our new com­pa­ny cre­ation ef­fort in this fund, we’ll be able to go a step fur­ther in help­ing founders build new en­ter­pris­es based on com­pelling new sci­ence. In ad­di­tion, we’ll be able to unite sci­en­tif­ic teams work­ing across mul­ti­ple ge­o­gra­phies.”

Michael Tay­lor

More than dou­ble the size of its pri­or fund, Mis­sion Bio­Cap­i­tal V will have a spe­cial fo­cus on work­ing with aca­d­e­m­ic re­searchers and en­tre­pre­neurs to build com­pa­nies around new tech­nolo­gies.

Mis­sion, which has of­fices in both Boston and San Fran­cis­co, has al­ready made sev­en in­vest­ments out of the new fund, four of which were on star­tups it co-found­ed: ARase Ther­a­peu­tics, Ar­clight Ther­a­peu­tics, Jupiter Bioven­tures and Telo Ther­a­peu­tics.

Big Phar­ma's Twit­ter ex­o­dus; Mer­ck wa­gers $1.35B on buy­out; $3.5M gene ther­a­py; and more

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Paul Perreault, CSL Behring CEO

CSL lands FDA ap­proval for he­mo­phil­ia B gene ther­a­py, sets $3.5M list price

The FDA has approved the world’s first gene therapy for hemophilia B, ushering into the market a treatment that’s historic in both what it promises to do and how much it will cost.

CSL will be marketing the drug, Hemgenix, at a list price of $3.5 million — which sets a new record for the most expensive single-use gene therapy in the US.

In a statement provided to Endpoints News, the Australian company noted that the current costs of treating people with moderate to severe hemophilia B can be significant over a lifetime. By some estimates, healthcare systems could spend more than $20 million per person.

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Image: Shutterstock

MIT re­searchers re­veal DNA "Paste" tech be­hind lat­est gene edit­ing start­up

MIT scientists have developed a tool that they say can insert large gene sequences where they want in the genome.

In a paper published Thursday in Nature Biotechnology, MIT fellows Omar Abudayyeh, Jonathan Gootenberg and colleagues detail a technology they call PASTE, which they say can potentially be used to insert long strands of DNA and treat genetic diseases caused by many different mutations, such as cystic fibrosis and Leber congenital amaurosis, a rare eye disorder that causes blindness.

Elon Musk (GDA via AP Images)

Biggest drug com­pa­nies halt­ed Twit­ter ad buys af­ter Lil­ly in­sulin spoof

Almost all of the drug industry’s biggest advertisers cut their spending on Twitter to zero or near-zero over the last two weeks amid worries about impersonation of their brands by pranksters and the future of the social media company.

Among 18 of the biggest pharmaceutical advertisers in the US market, 12 cut their Twitter ad spending to nothing for the week beginning Nov. 14, according to Pathmatics, which tracks data on prescription drug ad spending as well as general corporate advertising. The list of drugmakers cutting spending to zero includes Merck, AstraZeneca, Eli Lilly, Novartis, Pfizer and others.

Rob Davis, Merck CEO

Up­dat­ed: No Seagen here: 'Do more' means a small $1.35B pur­chase of Ima­go for Mer­ck

Merck is making an acquisition, the Big Pharma announced before Monday’s opening bell. No, Seagen is not entering the fold, as had been speculated for quarters.

Folding under Merck’s wings will be Pfizer-backed Imago BioSciences. For nearly a year, Merck CEO Rob Davis has been saying the pharma giant needs to “do more” on the business development front after its 2021 $11.5 billion acquisition of Acceleron.

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Andrew Phillips, Nexo Therapeutics CEO

Scoop: Ver­sant, NEA launch new biotech helmed by ex-CEO of pro­tein de­grad­er C4 Ther­a­peu­tics

Long-time biotech venture firms Versant and New Enterprise Associates are backing a new startup run by former C4 Therapeutics chief executive Andrew Phillips.

The fledgling biotech has raised at least $30 million so far, according to paperwork filed with the SEC this week. The round could balloon to $60 million.

Phillips, who left protein degradation startup C4 in 2020 to be a managing director at Cormorant Asset Management, is running the show of the new venture as president, the SEC filing outlines. He also served as interim CEO of Cormorant-backed and Hansoh Pharmaceutical-partnered Blossom Bioscience last year.

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J&J's Spra­va­to pulls a PhI­II win against Sero­quel XR in treat­ment-re­sis­tant de­pres­sion

A day before Thanksgiving, J&J’s Janssen has a new cut of Phase III Spravato data to be grateful for.

The pharma giant announced on Wednesday that its nasal spray, also known as esketamine, beat extended-release quetiapine, previously sold by AstraZeneca as Seroquel XR, in treatment-resistant depression (TRD). Of 676 adults, a significantly higher number of patients on Spravato were able to achieve remission and avoid relapse after 32 weeks, according to J&J.

Dermavant Sciences' first consumer TV ad for its Vtama psoriasis med shows people ready for a new topical treatment.

Roivant’s Der­ma­vant de­buts first-ever TV com­mer­cial for pso­ri­a­sis cream Vta­ma

Dermavant Sciences has been marketing its first product, psoriasis med Vtama, to dermatologists for months, but on Tuesday it rolled out its first consumer campaign. The debut DTC effort including a streaming TV commercial encourages patients to a “Topical Uprising” in a nod to Vtama being a topical cream.

In the new commercial, a swell of people discards scarves and jacket coverings, gathering in the street to converge on a pharmacy to demand a steroid-free prescription. A moment of levity follows when a pharmacist says, “You know you can just talk to your doctor, right?” The gathered crowds collectively says, “Oh.”

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FDA preps for DMD drug gener­ics as Sarep­ta has yet to fin­ish its con­fir­ma­to­ry tri­al

The FDA typically releases guidance to help generic drug manufacturers develop new copycats of small molecule drugs, oftentimes in preparation for a brand name product’s patents or exclusivity to expire.

This week, FDA released such bioequivalence guidance for any generic drugmakers looking to take on Sarepta’s Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) drug Exondys 51 (eteplirsen), even though the drug’s sponsor has yet to convert the accelerated approval to a full approval, showing clinical benefit.