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Follow the Money: First Circular RNA-Based Clinical Assay, Oncology Programs, More

February 28, 2024| Circular Genomics plans to build and scale commercial operations in preparation for the launch of the world’s first circular RNA-based clinical assay; NextPoint Therapeutics will advance the company’s two immuno-oncology clinical programs, NPX267 and NPX887; Accent Therapeutics will use funding to support the advancement of both lead programs—Accent’s first-in-class DHX9 inhibitor and a potentially best-in-class KIF18A inhibitor; and more. 

 

$254M: Funding for Advancing Cancer Early Detection Tests 

Freenome announced the addition of $254 million from new and existing investors. The funding enables Freenome to advance the pipeline of single-cancer and tailored multi-cancer early detection tests built on its multiomics platform. Roche led the financing, joined by a16z Life Sciences Growth Fund, the American Cancer Society’s BrightEdge Ventures, ARK Investments, ArrowMark Partners, Artis Ventures, Bain Capital Life Sciences, Cormorant Capital, DCVC, Eventide Asset Management LLC, Intermountain Ventures, Perceptive Advisors, Polaris Partners, Pura Vida Investments, Quest Diagnostics (NYSE: DGX), RA Capital Management, Sands Capital, Section 32, Squarepoint Capital, with funds and accounts advised by T. Rowe Price Associates, Inc., and others.

$120M: Financing for Cell Therapies for Nervous System Disorders 

Neurona Therapeutics announced the successful completion of a $120 million financing co-led by Viking Global Investors and Cormorant Asset Management with participation from new and existing investors, including The Column Group, LYFE Capital, Schroders Capital, Willett Advisors, Ysios Capital Partners, Euclidean Capital, SymBiosis, Alexandria Venture Investments, Berkeley Frontier Fund, Sphera Biotech Master Fund LP, Spur Capital Partners, UCB Ventures, and UC Investments. Proceeds from the financing will be used to advance the company’s pipeline of wholly-owned, off-the-shelf cell therapies for multiple indications, including its lead investigational candidate, NRTX-1001. NRTX-1001 is being evaluated in an ongoing open-label, single-arm Phase I/II clinical trial for treatment of drug-resistant mesial temporal lobe epilepsy (MTLE) and has potential application in Alzheimer’s disease and other disorders of the nervous system.

$112M: Series B for ADC Cancer Treatment  

ProfoundBio announced an oversubscribed $112 million Series B financing supported by a syndicate of top healthcare dedicated and mutual fund institutional investors. This financing underscores the new and existing investor confidence in ProfoundBio’s innovative approach to cancer treatment and is expected to accelerate the development of its comprehensive ADC portfolio, including the planned pivotal trial of rinatabart sesutecan (Rina-S) for the treatment of ovarian cancer. The funding round was led by Ally Bridge Group, with substantial contributions from new investors including Nextech Invest, funds and accounts advised by T. Rowe Price Associates, Inc., Janus Henderson Investors, RA Capital Management, OrbiMed, Surveyor Capital (a Citadel company), Medicxi, Logos Capital, Octagon Capital, Piper Heartland Healthcare Capital and LifeSci Venture Partners, as well as continued support from existing investors Lilly Asia Ventures (LAV) and LYFE Capital.

$105M: Series A for Immune Tolerance Platform 

COUR Pharmaceuticals announced the closing of a Series A investment round, securing approximately $105 million in financing. The investment was co-led by Lumira Ventures and Alpha Wave Ventures, with participation from Roche Venture Fund, Pfizer (as part of the Pfizer Breakthrough Growth Initiative), Bristol Myers Squibb, Angelini Ventures, and the JDRF T1D Fund. In connection with the financing, Benjamin “Beni” Rovinski, Ph.D., Managing Director of Lumira Ventures, and Simon Greenwood, Senior Investment Director of Roche Venture Fund, will join the COUR Board of Directors. The proceeds will enable COUR to advance multiple, wholly owned product candidates that leverage the company’s immune tolerance platform, including Phase 2a proof-of-concept clinical studies in Myasthenia Gravis and Type 1 Diabetes, and other pipeline opportunities. These product candidates, in addition to existing Phase 2 partnered programs with Takeda Pharmaceuticals in Celiac Disease and Ironwood Pharmaceuticals in Primary Biliary Cholangitis, continue to strengthen COUR’s position as the leader in antigen-specific immune tolerance.

$75M: Series C for Small Molecule Precision Cancer Therapies 

Accent Therapeutics announced the completion of a $75 million Series C financing. The financing was led by Mirae Asset Capital Life Science, with participation from other new investors, Mirae Asset Capital, Mirae Asset Venture Investment, Bristol Myers Squibb and Johnson & Johnson Innovation—JJDC, Inc., as well as all existing investors, including The Column Group, Atlas Venture, Droia Ventures, GV, EcoR1 Capital, AbbVie Ventures, The Mark Foundation for Cancer Research, Timefolio Capital (formerly known as NS Investment) and others. In conjunction with the financing, Naveen Krishnan, MD, MPhil, Managing Director of Mirae Asset Capital Life Science will join the Company’s Board of Directors. Proceeds from the financing will be used to support the advancement of both lead programs—Accent’s first-in-class DHX9 inhibitor and a potentially best-in-class KIF18A inhibitor—through early clinical development including safety, pharmacokinetics, and early efficacy studies.

$42.5M: Series B for Immuno-Oncology Clinical Programs 

NextPoint Therapeutics announced the closing of a $42.5 million Extension to its Series B financing round resulting in a total of $122.5 million raised in the Series B financing. The funds will be used to advance the company’s two immuno-oncology clinical programs, NPX267 and NPX887, as well as propel the development of additional therapeutic modalities in the pipeline that target the novel HHLA2 tumor antigen. The Extension was led by existing investor Catalio Capital Management, and as part of the financing, R. Jacob Vogelstein, PhD, has joined the NextPoint Board of Directors. Catalio is joined by other existing investors including MPM BioImpact, Leaps by Bayer, Sanofi Ventures, Invus, Sixty Degree Capital, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute’s Binney Street Capital and NextPoint founder Gordon Freeman, PhD. Along with Catalio, new investors Arkin Bio-Capital and WTT investment Ltd were the largest participants in this fundraising.

$28.7M: Investment for Self-Sampling Solutions 

Capitainer has secured a significant financial investment of $28.7 million (approx. SEK 30 million) from We Venture Capital, the venture capital arm of the globally renowned Werfen Group. This strategic investment marks a milestone in Capitainer’s journey towards becoming the foremost provider of self-sampling solutions. This funding will fuel Capitainer’s expansion efforts, including scaling up production capacity, enhancing sales and marketing strategies, and launching new products. The investment will be administered in two phases: an initial $14.3 million (approx. SEK 15 million) followed by an additional $14.3 million (approx. SEK 15 million), contingent upon Capitainer achieving specific milestones.

$12M: Series A for Advancing Clinical Trial Platform 

Power has closed a Series A funding of $12 million. The investment was led by Kin and Contrary with support from existing investor Footwork. The funds will be used to advance the platform and deepening collaboration with life science companies. Power is designed to simplify the patient experience, give researchers a consumer-grade way to accelerate enrollment, and empower life science companies to support patient education. The platform empowers the medical research community to claim their trials and manage their Power profile, ensuring patients always have access to the most recent trial data.

$11.3M: Series A for Vaccine Development 

Baseimmune has closed $11.3 million (approx. £9 million) in Series A funding led by new investors MSD Global Health Innovation Fund and IQ Capital, with participation from existing investors including Hoxton Ventures, Creator Fund, Beast Ventures and Maki.vc. The funding will enable Baseimmune to accelerate development of its three vaccine candidates currently in preclinical development for African swine fever, coronavirus, and malaria. The company will also use the new capital to further advance its technology, expand its team, increase the number of programs in development and accelerate new vaccine programs.

$8.4M: Funding for Cancer Diagnosis and Treatment 

University of Birmingham spinout Tagomics announced an $8.4 million (approx. £6.7 million) funding round. The investment was led by Calculus Capital, with participation from Illumina Ventures, IQ Capital, Agilent Ventures, Mercia Ventures and the MEIF Proof of Concept & Early Stage Fund, which is managed by Mercia Ventures and is part of the Midlands Engine Investment Fund (MEIF), Meltwind and OMX Ventures. The current investment will accelerate Tagomics’ scientific research and product development, with the goal of delivering improvements in cancer and other diseases’ diagnosis and treatment.

$8.3M: Series A for First Circular RNA-Based Clinical Assay 

Circular Genomics have closed an $8.3 million Series A investment round. Led by Mountain Group Partners, this round also welcomes new investor UNM Rainforest Innovations in addition to initial investors, including Cottonwood Technology Fund, Tramway Venture Partners, and other undisclosed individuals. The new funding will enable Circular Genomics to build and scale commercial operations in preparation for the launch of the world’s first circular RNA-based clinical assay. This groundbreaking test is poised to improve the standard of care in depression treatment by informing clinicians of a patient’s likelihood to respond to antidepressant medications. It addresses a critical need in the healthcare system, streamlining patient care and bringing renewed hope to the millions of patients grappling with high failure rates of first-line treatments and lengthy periods of trial-and-error to find the right therapy.

$2.2M: Series A for Tertiary Genomic Data Analysis Platform 

Zetta Genomics has expanded its second seed round, securing an additional $2.2 million (approx. £1.8 million) and strengthening investor expertise. Demonstrating continued confidence from first-round VCs, the expansion also attracts fresh investment from diagnostics start-up specialist We Venture Capital, as Zetta Genomics—with its transformational XetaBase tertiary genomic data analysis platform—configures for Series A. Zetta Genomics’ latest funding sees fresh commitments from second-round global investors: Nina Capital, Apex Ventures, and Cambridge Enterprise. New investment comes from We Venture—the innovation VC arm of global specialised diagnostics leader, Werfen. The proceeds will be used to encompass 500,000 genomes under management; configure customer success capabilities; deepen bioinformatics translation expertise; build out engineering capabilities to ensure a continuous cycle of innovation, development, and delivery; and continue international growth, with an initial focus on the UK, US and Spain.