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Follow the Money: Cystic Fibrosis Treatment, Advancing CAR-T Candidate, Modular T Cell Engagers, More

By Clinical Research Staff  

March 26, 2024| Sionna Therapeutics plan to develop a first-in-class small molecules designed to fully restore the function of the cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR) protein by stabilizing the first nucleotide-binding domain (NBD1); Capstan Therapeutics is advancing CPTX2309, the company’s lead in vivo chimeric antigen receptor T cell (CAR-T) candidate, to early clinical proof-of-concept in autoimmune disorders; Clasp Therapeutics is developing modular T cell engagers tailored to each patient’s immune system that are directed to common oncogenic driver mutations; and more. 

$182M: Series C for Cystic Fibrosis Treatment 

Sionna Therapeutics closed an oversubscribed $182 million Series C financing to support the clinical development of first-in-class small molecules designed to fully restore the function of the cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR) protein by stabilizing the first nucleotide-binding domain (NBD1). The Series C round was led by Enavate Sciences with additional new investors Viking Global Investors and Perceptive Advisors, as well as participation by all existing investors including RA Capital, OrbiMed, TPG’s The Rise Fund, Atlas Venture, the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, funds and accounts advised by T. Rowe Price Associates, Inc., and Q Healthcare Holdings, LLC., a wholly owned subsidiary of QIA.

$175M: Series B for CAR-T Candidate for Autoimmune Disorders 

Capstan Therapeutics has closed a $175 million oversubscribed Series B financing. The Series B financing was led by RA Capital Management, with participation from new investors Forbion, Johnson & Johnson Innovation – JJDC, Mubadala Capital, Perceptive Advisors, and Sofinnova Investments. Capstan’s existing investors Alexandria Venture Investments, Bristol Myers Squibb, Eli Lilly and Company, Leaps by Bayer, Novartis Venture Fund, OrbiMed, Pfizer Ventures, Polaris Partners, and Vida Ventures, also participated in the round. The proceeds from the Series B financing will be used to advance CPTX2309, Capstan’s lead in vivo chimeric antigen receptor T cell (CAR-T) candidate, to early clinical proof-of-concept in autoimmune disorders, and to further develop Capstan’s tLNP pipeline. CPTX2309, a product of Capstan’s tLNP platform, delivers an mRNA payload encoding for an anti-CD19 CAR to CD8-expressing T cells, effectively engineering CAR-T cells in vivo. The therapeutic goal of this approach is to achieve a reset of the immune system through rapid deep B cell depletion in both blood and lymphoid tissues, without the challenges of conventional ex vivo CAR-T.

$150M: Launch Financing for Oncology T Cell Engagers 

Clasp Therapeutics launched with $150 million in financing. The round was led by Catalio Capital Management, Third Rock Ventures and Novo Holdings, with participation from Vivo Capital, Cure Ventures, Blackbird BioVentures, Pictet Alternative Advisors, American Cancer Society’s Bright Edge and Alexandria Venture Investments. Clasp is developing modular T cell engagers tailored to each patient’s immune system that are directed to common oncogenic driver mutations, resulting in off-the-shelf, antibody-like medicines that can specifically target a wide variety of hard-to-treat tumor types.

$145M: Series E for TCF-Blocking β-Catenin Inhibitor in Solid Tumors  

FogPharma has closed a $145 million Series E financing round. The financing was led by Nextech Invest with participation from other new investors including RA Capital Management, Rock Springs Capital, General Catalyst, Marshall Wace, Samsara Biocapital, Foresite Capital, Symbiosis, Catalio Capital Management, Sixty Degree Capital and former chairman and CEO of Johnson & Johnson, Alex Gorsky. The financing will fund the ongoing clinical development of FOG-001, the company’s first-in-class intracellular TCF-blocking β-catenin inhibitor currently being evaluated in a Phase 1/2 study in solid tumors. The round will also accelerate the development of its robust portfolio of unique discovery programs, deepen its data science capabilities and strengthen its core Helicon therapeutics platform.

$138.8M: Series B2 for Antibody Drug Conjugates Development 

Tubulis announced the successful completion of an upsized and oversubscribed $138.8 million (€128 million) Series B2 financing. The round was co-led by EQT Life Sciences and Nextech Invest Ltd, on behalf of one or more funds managed by it, with participation from new US-based funds, Frazier Life Sciences and Deep Track Capital as well as all existing investors, including Andera Partners, BioMedPartners, Fund+, Bayern Kapital (with ScaleUp-Fonds Bayern), Evotec, coparion, Seventure Partners, OCCIDENT and High-Tech Gründerfonds (HTGF). The proceeds of the Series B2 will primarily support progress in Tubulis’ pipeline of next-generation ADCs toward clinical evaluation and help achieve clinical proof-of-concept for lead candidates, TUB-040 and TUB-030. TUB-040 addresses tumor-antigen Napi2b, a well-characterized target in ovarian and lung cancer and TUB-030 targets 5T4, an antigen often overexpressed in solid tumors. The capital will also fund the expansion of Tubulis’ suite of technology platforms to unlock novel payloads for the development of versatile and customizable ADCs. In line with the addition of new US investors, Tubulis plans to increase its corporate footprint by establishing a US subsidiary.

$35M: Seed Financing for Osteoporosis  

Relation Therapeutics added $35 million in new seed financing, bringing its total seed fundraise to $60 million. This latest round was led by DCVC and co-led by NVIDIA’s venture arm, NVentures, with participation from initial seed lead Magnetic Ventures, existing investors Khosla Ventures, and Abcam founder Jonathan Milner, and new investors ARK Invest and Deerfield Management Company. The funds will enable Relation to advance its osteoporosis pipeline towards the clinic, as well as initiate discovery campaigns in new therapeutic areas of high unmet need.

$35M: Series B for Wearable Health Tracking 

Ultrahuman announced a $35 million equity and debt investment round. The series B funding round saw participation from venture capital firms Blume Ventures, Steadview Capital, Nexus Venture Partners, Alpha Wave and Zomato founder Deepinder Goyal. Ultrahuman will deploy the funds towards building further manufacturing capacity and deeper research in the health tracking space.

$30M: Series A for Cancer Care, Clinical Trials 

Pi Health announced more than $30 million in Series A funding. Pi Health, which incubated as a subsidiary of BeiGene, Ltd. three years ago, completed its fundraise to launch as an independent company. The round was led by AlleyCorp and Obvious Ventures, with additional investments from Invus Capital and leaders in oncology from across the globe. The Series A funding will support expansion of Pi Health’s partnerships with global trial sites and life sciences companies, along with further development of its FICS technology.

$22.4M: Series B for Organ Transplant 

X-Therma closed an oversubscribed $22.4 million Series B funding round. The investment enables X-Therma to scale global commercial operations and facilitates the company’s progression into the clinical stage with Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Breakthrough Device status, aimed at significantly increasing organ availability for transplantation by overcoming time-sensitive limitations. The investment will advance multiple key products in X-Therma’s development pipeline: XT-Thrive and XT-NoVoTM for regenerative medicine and cell therapy and XT-ViVo & TimeSeal for organ preservation for transplantation. XT-ViVo & TimeSeal received FDA Breakthrough Device designation, which is given to products that have the potential to offer more effective diagnosis or treatment of life-threatening diseases with an unmet medical need.

$15M: Financing for Cognitive Function Monitoring Platform 

BrainCheck closed a $15 million new financing round, led by Next Coast Ventures, S3 Ventures, and UPMC Enterprises, the innovation, commercialization, and venture capital arm of UPMC. The company also expanded its Board of Directors with the appointment of Nicholas Shapiro, Vice President, UPMC Enterprises, as a new board member, further strengthening the Company’s strategic leadership. The funding will accelerate BrainCheck’s commercial traction, expand innovation within its product portfolio, build upon existing clinical evidence, and extend the company’s impact throughout the healthcare landscape, including major integrations with healthcare systems. This announcement follows the recent launch of BrainCheck’s next generation platform and 3-minute screening solution, which empowers clinicians to screen and monitor patients’ cognitive function anytime, anywhere.

$11.4M: Series A for Advancing AI Platform 

Tierra Biosciences closed an $11.4 million Series A round. The investment was led by Material Impact with participation from new and existing investors including Prosus Ventures, In-Q-Tel (IQT), Hillspire, Freeflow Ventures, Creative Ventures, and Social Capital. The funding will allow Terra to expand its reach and extend its innovative capabilities to a broader set of customers and partners. The funding will additionally play a pivotal role in advancing Tierra’s predictive AI leveraging the large and growing closed loop synthesis parameter data lake generated from its centralized manufacturing of thousands of proteins.

$3.2M: Financing for RNA Sequencing  

lithea Genomics has closed a $3.2 million (CHF 2.8 million) extension to its seed financing. The round was led by the Novalis Biotech Acceleration fund and included new investor TechU Ventures alongside existing investors. The proceeds will be used to continue commercialization and expand manufacturing capacity of its unique RNA sequencing products, advance the development of new technologies and establish a subsidiary in the United States.

$2.35M: Funding for GenAI Security  

Enkrypt AI announced a $2.35 million funding round to solve security and privacy threats for enterprises, ensuring their use of generative AI and large language models (LLMs) is safe, secure, and compliant. Generative AI and LLMs present an opportunity for enterprises to gain new efficiencies and improve functionality, however, the safety and security of such technology remains an obstacle. The seed funding round was led by Boldcap with participation from Berkeley SkyDeck, Kubera VC, Arka VC, Veredas Partners, Builders Fund, and angel investors in the AI, healthcare, and enterprise space.

$636K: Seed Funding for Cryopreserved Cell Technology 

CryoLogyx has closed an oversubscribed seed funding round. The $636,000 (£500,000) investment came from private UK business angels and the Wider Oxford Technology Angel Network (WOTAN), which includes previous investors Oxford Technology Management. The funding will be used to support commercialization of the company’s innovative cryopreserved cell technology, scale up production of its assay-ready cells and expand its reach in the UK and Europe.