With a new HQ un­der con­struc­tion and Ab­b­Vie as a part­ner, Alec­tor grabs $133M round to fund a move in­to the clin­ic

Sabah Oney

When Sabah Oney joined Alec­tor three years ago, the two-year-old com­pa­ny helmed by CEO Arnon Rosen­thal had a lean, 15-staffer op­er­a­tion tight­ly packed in­to one small space.

To­day, it’s 65 peo­ple — head­ed to 90 by the end of the year — and the chief busi­ness of­fi­cer can look for­ward to much more space with a new and ex­pan­sive 100,000-square foot HQ un­der con­struc­tion in South San Fran­cis­co.

So as the com­pa­ny po­si­tions its first three drugs for neu­rode­gen­er­a­tive dis­eases to en­ter hu­man stud­ies for the first time, this is a great time for a $133 mil­lion Se­ries E mega-round.

“Our goal is to re­ju­ve­nate the im­mune sys­tem,” says Oney. But in­stead of the adap­tive im­mune sys­tem, where you can rev up a tar­get­ed re­sponse, think in­nate, where the im­mune sys­tem can play a crit­i­cal sup­port­ive role in cleans­ing — or pre­vent­ing the ac­cu­mu­la­tion of — tox­ic ma­te­r­i­al in the brain.

Arnon Rosen­thal

At this stage of the game, Alec­tor has now raised $420 mil­lion, in­clud­ing $205 mil­lion gained in an up­front from its com­pa­ny-mak­ing al­liance with Ab­b­Vie.

The biotech is one of the new com­pa­nies that want to move past the amy­loid be­ta- or tau-fo­cused com­pa­nies, where there have been far more miss­es than hits in hu­man stud­ies. By con­cen­trat­ing on more nar­row, ge­net­i­cal­ly fo­cused tar­gets, Alec­tor be­lieves that it can start mak­ing a dif­fer­ence with monother­a­pies, as the play­ers in the field move to­ward more com­plex cock­tail ther­a­pies that can hit their tar­gets from mul­ti­ple sides.

Robert Paul

Their lead drug AL001 is ex­cit­ing, says chief med­ical of­fi­cer Robert Paul. Ze­ro­ing in on a very nar­row, ge­net­i­cal­ly de­fined pop­u­la­tion with good bio­mark­ers to guide them along the way, Paul be­lieves their drug can ac­com­plish the very sim­ple task of bring­ing pro­gran­ulin back up to nor­mal.

And there are good rea­sons to be­lieve that once they do that, they can make a very dis­tinct dif­fer­ence in the lives of pa­tients with rare cas­es of fron­totem­po­ral de­men­tia.

Two oth­er tar­gets are TREM2 and SIGLEC-3 for Alzheimer’s.

Check out the syn­di­cate:

Deer­field Man­age­ment, Ab­b­Vie Ven­tures, Fed­er­at­ed Kauf­mann Fund, Sec­tion 32, Eu­clid­ean Cap­i­tal, Fore­site Cap­i­tal, Lil­ly Asia Ven­tures, New Leaf Ven­ture Part­ners, Per­cep­tive Ad­vi­sors, Cas­din Cap­i­tal, Po­laris Part­ners, Or­biMed, MRL Ven­tures, GV, the De­men­tia Dis­cov­ery Fund, Mis­sion Bay Cap­i­tal, Am­gen Ven­tures, and oth­ers.

With that group Alec­tor moves one step clos­er to an IPO. And some­where up ahead the com­pa­ny hopes to even­tu­al­ly make it to a piv­otal tri­al, when the biotech can con­sid­er its prospects in adding a com­mer­cial op­er­a­tion.

Im­ages: Muham­mad Al­hawa­gri/ALEC­TOR

BiTE® Plat­form and the Evo­lu­tion To­ward Off-The-Shelf Im­muno-On­col­o­gy Ap­proach­es

Despite rapid advances in the field of immuno-oncology that have transformed the cancer treatment landscape, many cancer patients are still left behind.1,2 Not every person has access to innovative therapies designed specifically to treat his or her disease. Many currently available immuno-oncology-based approaches and chemotherapies have brought long-term benefits to some patients — but many patients still need other therapeutic options.3

Pfiz­er’s Doug Gior­dano has $500M — and some ad­vice — to of­fer a cer­tain breed of 'break­through' biotech

So let’s say you’re running a cutting-edge, clinical-stage biotech, probably public, but not necessarily so, which could see some big advantages teaming up with some marquee researchers, picking up say $50 million to $75 million dollars in a non-threatening minority equity investment that could take you to the next level.

Doug Giordano might have some thoughts on how that could work out.

The SVP of business development at the pharma giant has helped forge a new fund called the Pfizer Breakthrough Growth Initiative. And he has $500 million of Pfizer’s money to put behind 7 to 10 — or so — biotech stocks that fit that general description.

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Hill­house re­casts spot­light on Chi­na's biotech scene with $160M round for Shang­hai-based an­ti­body mak­er

Almost two years after first buying into Genor Biopharma’s pipeline of cancer and autoimmune therapies, Hillhouse Capital has led a $160 million cash injection to push the late-stage assets over the finish line while continuing to fund both internal R&D and dealmaking.

The Series B has landed right around the time Genor would have listed on the Hong Kong stock exchange, according to plans reported by Bloomberg late last year. Insiders had said that the company was looking to raise about $200 million.

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Gilead re­leas­es an­oth­er round of murky remde­sivir re­sults

A month after the NIH declared the first trial on remdesivir in Covid-19 a success, Gilead is out with new results on their antiviral. But although the study met one of its primary endpoints, the data are likely to only add to a growing debate over how effective the drug actually is.

In a Phase III trial, patients given a 5-day dose of remdesivir were 65% more likely to show “clinical improvement” compared to an arm given standard-of-care. The trial, though, gave little indication for whether the drug had an impact on key endpoints such as survival or time-to-recovery. And in a surprising twist, a 10-day dosing arm of remdesivir didn’t lead to a statistically significant improvement over standard of care.

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Stephen Isaacs, Aduro president and CEO (Aduro)

Once a high fly­er, a stag­ger­ing Aduro is auc­tion­ing off most of the pipeline as CEO Stephen Isaacs hands off the shell to new own­ers

After a drumbeat of failure, setbacks and reorganizations over the last few years, Aduro CEO Stephen Isaacs is handing over his largely gutted-out shell of a public company to another biotech company and putting up some questionable assets in a going-out-of-business sale.

Isaacs —who forged a string of high-profile Big Pharma deals along the way — has wrapped a 13-year run at the biotech with one program for kidney disease going to the new owners at Chinook Therapeutics. A host of once-heralded assets like their STING agonist program partnered with Novartis (which dumped their work on ADU-S100 after looking over weak clinical results), the Lilly-allied cGAS-STING inhibitor program and the anti-CD27 program out-licensed to Merck will all be posted for auction under a strategic review process.

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Bris­tol My­ers Squib­b's just-launched MS drug Zeposia makes the cut in key ul­cer­a­tive col­i­tis tri­al

In March, Zeposia became the third oral S1P modulator to secure US approval for multiple sclerosis. Now, the drug has succeeded in a key ulcerative colitis study.

The immunomodulator, akin to others in its class, controls lymphocyte trafficking by limiting the white blood cells to the lymphatic system, in the lymph nodes, and thwarting their ability to jam up lymph nodes — precluding their ability to penetrate the bloodstream and the central nervous system.

Fangliang Zhang (Imaginechina via AP Images)

The big mon­ey: Poised to make drug R&D his­to­ry, a Chi­na biotech un­veils uni­corn rac­ing am­bi­tions in a bid to raise $350M-plus on Nas­daq

Almost exactly three years after Shanghai-based Legend came out of nowhere to steal the show at ASCO with jaw-dropping data on their BCMA-targeted CAR-T for multiple myeloma, the little player with Big Pharma connections is taking a giant step toward making it big on Wall Street. And this time they want to seal the deal on a global rep after staking out a unicorn valuation in what’s turned out to be a bull market for biotech IPOs — in the middle of a pandemic.

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Federico Mingozzi (Spark)

Spark touts an­i­mal da­ta for a so­lu­tion to AAV gene ther­a­py's an­ti­body prob­lem

Among all the limitations of using an adeno-associated virus as a vector to deliver a gene — still the most established modality in gene therapy given years of trial and error and finally success — the presence of neutralizing antibodies, whether pre-existing or induced, looms large.

“When I think about the immune responses in AAV, I try to sort of layer them,” Federico Mingozzi, the CSO at Spark Therapeutics, told Endpoints News. “The antibody is the first layer. It’s the first block that you find when you’re trying to do gene transfer.”

Novus Ther­a­peu­tics plunges deep in­to pen­ny stock ter­ri­to­ry af­ter failed ear tri­al

After a more than 15-year run, a California-based biotech is exploring options, including a sale, after its lead experimental therapy failed an exploratory mid-stage study in patients with middle ear infections characterized by a build-up of fluid behind the eardrum.

The company, initially called Tokai Pharmaceuticals but which subsequently changed its name to Novus Therapeutics in 2017, saw its shares more than halve on Monday after the drug — OP0201— did not pass muster as an adjunct therapy to oral antibiotics in infants and children aged 6 to 24 months with acute otitis media (OM).