A new $126 million series A round will recapitalize Singapore-based Tessa Therapeutics Ltd. as it advances a pipeline ofcell therapies, including one headed into a pivotal study.Polaris Partners led the round alongside prior investorsTemasek, EDBI, Heliconia Capital and Heritas Capital. Thebiotech had raised at least $130 million during 2017-18, buthas shifted focus to its current programs. They includeautologous CD30-targeting CAR T therapy TT11, which hasled to responses in a Phase II trial, and allogeneic therapyTT11X, which is in Phase I testing and uses the company’svirus specific T-cells augmented with a CD30-targeting CAR.
Cross-border molecular glue newcoDegron raises $22M series A
Degron Therapeutics Inc. raised a $22 million series A roundto advance its GlueXplorer targeted protein degradationplatform, developed in the ShanghaiTech University lab ofco-founder Yong Cang. The Shanghai- and San Diego-basedcompany has developed 6,000 compounds with over 60diverse cores based on a patented scaffold — almost of all ofwhich bind to the E3 ubiquitin ligase cereblon — and hasthree undisclosed programs in lead optimization for cancerand inflammatory diseases. The A round was led by Med-FineCapital, with participation from Dyee Capital, Baidu Ventureand NeuX Capital, along with seed investors CO-WINVentures and Yuanbio Venture Capital.
Arnay deal adds RNA, antisense to Alloy’stoolbox
Alloy Therapeutics Inc., a start-up that is aggregating toolsand resources to serve as an infrastructure partner forbiotechs, has formed a collaboration with Arnay SciencesLLC to add RNA-based drug discovery and antisensecapabilities to its offerings. Arnay is led by antisense pioneerSudhir Agrawal. Alloy’s CEO Errik Anderson was a co-founder of antibody discovery company Adimab LLC.Arnay’s platforms will be available to newcos formed withinAlloy’s “venture studio,” which complements the company’splatform licensing and services businesses.
Lightspeed, S.R. One back Ancora in$60M series A
Lightspeed Venture Partners and S.R. One have co-led a $60million series A round for Ancora Biotech LLC, which housesthree bispecific antibodies spun out from TeneoBio Inc.Ancora will advance TNB-486, a bispecific T cell engagertargeting CD19 and CD3 that is in Phase I testing for B cellcancers; TNB-738, an anti-CD38 enzyme inhibitor formetabolic disorders currently in a study in healthy volunteers;and an HBsAg x CD3 bispecific for HBV. Amgen Inc.(NASDAQ:AMGN) paid $900 million up front for TeneoBiolast year. AbbVie Inc. (NYSE:ABBV) had previously boughtanother of the asset-focused biotech’s programs.
Relation debuts with ML platform, $25Mseed round, new CEO, CTO
With its newly raised $25 million seed round, London-basedRelation Therapeutics Ltd. is looking to scale its active-graphmachine learning platform, which combines ML with single-cell omics and clinical data, and apply it to drugdevelopment for bone diseases. Through NVIDIA, Relationhas access to the Cambridge-1 GPU supercomputer, whichwill help it map the “combinatorial functional relationshipsbetween genes, proteins, and drugs.” The seed round wasco-led by DCVC and Magnetic Ventures, with participationfrom Khosla Ventures LLC, OMERS Ventures and firstminuteCapital, as well as Peer Schatz, the former CEO of QiagenN.V. (NYSE:QGEN; Xetra:QIA), Jonathan Milner, founder ofAbcam plc (NASDAQ:ABCM; LSE:ABC), and Mark Stevenson,former COO of Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc. (NYSE:TMO).Relation appointed David Roblin as CEO and LindsayEdwards as CTO and president of platform.
Buoyed by good data, DBV raises $194M
Two days after its epicutaneous patch Viaskin Peanut 250 μg met in a Phase III study of toddlers aged 1-3 to treat peanut allergy, DBV Technologies S.A. (NASDAQ:DBVT; Euronext:DBV) announced a $194 million PIPE financing. The company is selling 32.9 million ordinary shares at €3.00 ($3.22) each, and pre-funded warrants to purchase up to 28.3 million ordinary shares at €2.90 per warrant, which equals the per share price for ordinary shares less a €0.10 exercise price. Goldman Sachs Bank Europe SE and SVB Securities LLC are acting as placement agents in the private placement, which is expected to close on June 13. The $3.22 price is a 78% premium over Wednesday’s close of $1.81.
F-Prime and OrbiMed co-lead Charm’s $50M series A
The U.K.-based drug discovery company Charm Therapeutics Ltd. raised a $50 million series A round co-led by F-Prime Capital and OrbiMed, with participation from General Catalyst, Khosla Ventures, Braavos and Axia. Charm’s Dragonfold AI platform, a protein-ligand co-folding algorithm, was developed by co-founders David Baker and CEO Laksh Aithani. Baker is head of the Institute for Protein Design at the University of Washington, and Aithani was most recently entrepreneur-in-residence at Braavos. Gary Glick became executive chair, and Sarah Skerratt joined as SVP and head of drug discovery at the start-up. Glick founded IFM Therapeutics LLC, Scorpion Therapeutics Inc. and Odyssey Therapeutics Inc., and Skerratt was head of preclinical sciences at Merck Sharp & Dohme.