The global pandemic may have roiled economies, killed hundreds of thousands and throttled entire industries, but the only effect it had on biopharma venture investing was to help turbocharge the field to giddy new heights.
Below you’ll find the new top 100 venture investors in the industry, ranked by the number of deals they were publicly involved in, as tracked by DealForma chief Chris Dokomajilar. The numbers master then calculated the estimated amount of money they put into each deal — divvying up the cash by the number of players — to indicate how they managed their syndicates.
In what could be an early shot in the battle against drugmakers that whiff on confirmatory studies to support accelerated approvals, the FDA ordered Bristol Myers Squibb late last year to give up Opdivo’s approval in SCLC. Now, Merck is next on the firing line — are we seeing the FDA buckling down on post-marketing offenders?
Merck has withdrawn its marketing approval for PD-(L)1 inhibitor Keytruda in metastatic small cell lung cancer as part of what it describes as an “industry-wide evaluation” by the FDA of drugs that do not meet the post-marketing checkpoints on which their accelerated nods were based, the company said Monday.
Soticlestat made it.
Takeda is bringing the drug back into its fold more than four years after first entrusting the team at Ovid with the mid-stage clinical work. For all that — generating what they saw as positive Phase II data in Dravet syndrome and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome — the biotech has been rewarded with $196 million in upfront cash, with another $660 million reserved for regulatory and commercial milestones.
Over the last decade, drugmakers have proven JAK inhibitors can treat a smattering of immune-related diseases ranging from rheumatoid arthritis to Covid-19. Now Eli Lilly has pulled out a new one.
Lilly and its biotech partner Incyte announced Wednesday that their JAK inhibitor baricitinib effectively regrew patients’ hair in a Phase III trial for alopecia areata, an autoimmune condition that can cause sudden, severe and patchy hair loss. Lilly didn’t break down the results from the 546-patient trial, but the primary endpoint was improvement on a standard score for alopecia symptoms.
About three years after acquiring SteadyMed and its experimental pulmonary arterial hypertension drug Trevyent, United Therapeutics has decided to kick the program to the curb.
In an 8-K form filed with the SEC on Tuesday, United revealed that they are shutting down development of Trevyent after receiving feedback from the FDA last week. The move marks the end of a long and bumpy road for the program, which had previously earned an RTF in 2017 and a CRL last April, as United moves forward with new Tyvaso formulations.
The outsourcing market for cell and gene therapies has stayed red-hot in recent months as some of the biggest CDMOs — and even major drugmakers — are diving in. Now, a Swiss CDMO wants a bigger piece of the action, and it’s looking to set up shop in Novartis’ fledgling life sciences hub in Stein.
Celonic plans to build a 91,500-square-foot manufacturing center focused on cell and gene therapies, next-gen vaccines and other “innovative” drugs as part of a two-part expansion at Novartis’ Rhine Valley hub, the CDMO said last week.
Janux Therapeutics had kept a relatively low profile since being founded back in 2017 but burst onto the scene late last year when Merck plunked down more than $1 billion in promised milestones for its T cell engagers. Now, less than three months later, the small biotech has clinched its first round of private funding led by some prominent backers.
As it prepares its first programs for INDs, Janux completed a $56 million Series A on Wednesday morning, with Jay Lichter’s Avalon Ventures joining forces with new investors OrbiMed and RA Capital Management to fund the company. Janux will use the cash to primarily advance its T cell engagers targeting PSMA and TROP2, which are expected to hit the clinic in the first and second quarters of 2022, respectively.
There is no shortage of biotechs pursuing off-the-shelf CAR-Ts, a so-called Holy Grail in oncology R&D. Now, less than a month after teaming up with AbbVie, a California player launched by CRISPR pioneer Jennifer Doudna has returned to the venture well, scooping up a big crossover round to help it along.
Caribou Biosciences took the wraps off a $115 million Series C on Wednesday morning, bringing their total raise to around $157 million, CEO Rachel Haurwitz said.
Merck spent $425 million to buy out OncoImmune in November, presumably under the belief that they could scale up their drug for severe Covid-19 and get it through the FDA on the strength of a Phase III trial the smaller biotech completed in September.
The FDA threw a wrench in those plans. The agency told Merck last week that the 203-person study wasn’t sufficient to show the drug was effective. Now, Bloomberg reports, Merck is preparing an additional Phase III study, one that will push results — and any chance of approval — back to the end of the year.
Lalo Flores is confident he’s found the way forward in cell therapy.
The feeling, to be sure, is not exclusive. Thanks to splashy companies like Allogene, Lyell and Artiva, biopharma is well aware of the promises of allogeneic therapies as next-generation alternatives to the autologous CAR-Ts that have already made it to the market. But fewer are talking about a finer distinction within that allogeneic group: Where do you find the cells to engineer and turn into a final off-the-shelf product?
Janux Therapeutics自2017年成立以来一直保持着相对低调的姿态，但去年年底，默克公司斥资逾10亿美元，承诺为其T细胞参与器提供一系列里程碑项目，这让Janux Therapeutics突然崭露头角。现在，不到三个月后，这家小型生物技术公司已经获得了由一些知名支持者牵头的第一轮私人融资。
Janux在为INDs准备第一个项目的同时，于周三上午完成了5600万美元的a轮融资，由Jay Lichter的Avalon Ventures联合新的投资者OrbiMed和RA Capital Management为该公司提供资金。Janux公司将利用这笔资金主要推进针对PSMA和TROP2的T细胞接合器，预计将分别于2022年第一季度和第二季度投入临床应用。
Caribou Biosciences首席执行官雷切尔·豪尔维茨说，周三上午，Caribou Biosciences完成了1.15亿美元的C轮融资，使他们的融资总额达到1.57亿美元左右。