Roughly three and a half months since its last fundraising round, the Peter Thiel-backed ATAI Life Sciences has pulled in its latest venture haul.
The company closed a $157 million Series D round early Wednesday as it presses the gas on its psychedelics-based strategy. Though the short time between the two raises will likely fuel speculation about a potential jump to Nasdaq, ATAI isn’t ready to talk about that just yet, preemptively declining comment on all IPO-related questions.
Nevertheless, it marks a four-month span in which the company has seen nearly $300 million of capital flow into its coffers, as well as Thiel joining its cadre of investors.
ATAI’s business model for developing therapeutics covering a range of mental health disorders — bringing portfolio companies under one umbrella — is driving the heavy investor interest, CEO Florian Brand told Endpoints News. With the new raise coming almost immediately after the Series C, ATAI can now “double down” on its strategy, Brand said.
“A lot of awareness is increasing that the mental health crisis is a severe issue, which has only been amplified by Covid,” Brand said. “The way we’ve positioned ourselves gives us a very good opportunity to bring more effective treatments to the market and create interest among the investor community on more projects.”
Right now, ATAI has 13 programs developing drugs, and has disclosed two platform-based companies they’ve welcomed into their portfolio.
On top of that, the market has seemingly validated ATAI’s focus on psychedelics. Brand pointed to Compass Pathways’ $146.6 million IPO last September as a key development for legitimizing what ATAI is also trying to accomplish.
Compass’s most recent data come from December 2019 in a Phase Ib trial, showing their man-made version of the chemical psilocybin — a psychoactive ingredient found in some species of “magic mushrooms” — had been well-tolerated in 89 healthy volunteers. Coincidentally or not, Compass also brought in investments from Thiel to research psilocybin with psychological support as a treatment for mental illnesses such as depression, anxiety and addiction.
Though the cash has been flowing in for ATAI, the M&A landscape has been quiet since their January deal to acquire schizophrenia-focused company Recognify Life Sciences. Brand said he’s hoping that ATAI’s acquisition appetite will kick back into gear with the new Series D.
But ATAI’s bigger goal over the next few years, now that they have some more cash to expand their portfolio, is to push the psychedelics space to resemble precision medicine. ATAI is ultimately working toward digital therapeutics that can ideally predict what treatments might work best for specific patients, CMO Srinivas Rao told Endpoints.
It’s still too early for the company to divulge too much of its efforts on this front, Rao said, but once they get the ball rolling they hope to push forward an “aggressive” timeline.
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.
CRLs. 483s. CBER, CDER and RWE. For biopharma professionals, these acronyms command attention because of the fundamental role FDA plays in drug development. Now Endpoints is doubling down on regulatory coverage, and launching a weekly report focusing on developments out of White Oak, with analysis and insight into what it all means.
Coverage will be led by our new senior editor, Zachary Brennan. He joins Endpoints from POLITICO, where he covered pharma. Prior to that he was the managing editor for Regulatory Focus, a news publication from the Regulatory Affairs Professionals Society.
One of Europe’s most high-profile biopharma investors is getting $540 million to invest in new crossover deals for late-stage companies.
The Paris-based VC says the fresh Sofinnova Crossover Fund raise positions them as the “largest crossover investor in Europe dedicated to late-stage biopharma and medtech investments.”
They got a leg up in France after winning a special “Tibi” designation from the French government, giving them access to a pool of €6 billion that helped them gain an edge with institutional investors. Since they were founded close to 50 years ago, the venture group has backed more than 500 companies and currently has more than €2 billion under management.
GlaxoSmithKline and Vir Biotechnology were hopeful that one of their partnered antibodies would carve out a win after getting the invite to a major NIH study in hospitalized Covid-19 patients. But just like Eli Lilly, the pair’s drug couldn’t hit the mark, and now they’ll be left to take a hard look at the game plan.
The NIH has shut down enrollment for GSK and Vir’s antibody VIR-7831 in its late-stage ACTIV-3 trial after the drug showed negligible effect in achieving sustained recovery in hospitalized Covid-19 patients, the partners said Wednesday.
A little more than a week after BrainStorm acknowledged that regulators at the FDA had informed them that the biotech needed more data before it could expect to gain an approval for its ALS treatment NurOwn — while still touting a “clear signal” of efficacy and not ruling out an application — the agency has decided to clarify the record in a most unusual statement.
The FDA statement amounts to a straight slap own, offering a different set of efficacy numbers from the company’s public presentation last November and ruling out any chance of statistical significance.
It occasionally occurs to Paul Sekhri that if they pull this off, his company will be on the front page of the New York Times and a lead story in just about every major news outlet on the planet. He tries not to dwell on it, though.
“I just want to be laser-focused on getting to that point,” Sekhri says, before acknowledging, “Yes, it absolutely crossed my mind.”
Sekhri, a longtime biopharma executive with tenures at Sanofi and Novartis, is now entering year three as CEO of eGenesis, the biotech that George Church protégé Luhan Yang founded to genetically alter pigs so that they can be used for organ transplants. He led them through one megaround and has just closed another, raising $125 million from 17 different investors to push the first-ever (humanized) pig to human transplants into the clinic.
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.
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.
从上一轮融资开始算起，经过了三个半月的时间，这家由PeterThiel支持的ATAI Life Sciences已经收获了最新的收益。
尽管现金一直在为阿泰流入，但自从他们今年1月与Acquire Schiz？o？phrenia-fcused com？pa？ny recogn？nify Life Sciences达成交易以来，并购地景就一直在被抢走。布兰德说，他希望阿泰的Acqui-Sitionappetite将重新投入到新的SE D中来。
但阿泰在未来几年的大目标，现在他们有更多的现金和他们的港口，是推动PSY公司的空间，以恢复前期医疗。CMO Srini-vas Rao告诉End-Points说：“我们正在努力挖掘能够预测哪种治疗最适合消费者的疗法。”
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。