Asclepix Therapeutics Inc., of Baltimore, said it raised $5 million in convertible note funding, led by Barer & Son Capital with additional funds from Rapha Capital Management, Salem Partners, TEDCO and Piedmont Capital Partners. The funds will be used to accelerate development of AXT-107, an innovative treatment for diabetic macular edema and wet age-related macular degeneration. The company will be able to complete an IND application for AXT-107. It has reported that in extensive animal testing, AXT-107 was safe and superior to current approved therapies in preventing and even reversing progressive pathologic changes in the retina with just two to three injections per year, a clear benefit in longer duration and less frequent dosing compared to those currently approved therapies.
Eton Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Deer Park, Ill., said it priced its IPO of 3.6 million shares at $6 each. The underwriter in the offering has been granted a 45-day option to purchase an additional 540,000 shares at the IPO price, less underwriting discounts and commissions. The gross proceeds are expected to be approximately $21.6 million, excluding any proceeds from the exercise of the underwriter's option to purchase additional shares. Eton's common stock has been approved for listing on Nasdaq and began trading under the ticker symbol ETON Tuesday, ending the day at $6.25.
Kleo Pharmaceuticals Inc., of New Haven, Conn., said it closed an oversubscribed $21 million series B financing to advance its first clinical candidates through IND-enabling studies and into the clinic in 2020. The financing was led by the company's development partner, Peptidream Inc., of Tokyo, Japan, with participation from current strategic investor Biohaven Pharmaceuticals Inc., of New Haven, Conn. The company is using its modular antibody recruiting molecules (ARMs) technology, which enables Kleo's compounds to bind at one end to specific targets on cancer cells and to the body's endogenous antibodies. That approach redirects the activity of any ARM-bound antibody against the cancer cells without inhibiting the antibody's native function. In parallel, Kleo is continuing to advance its two additional immuno-oncology therapy platforms, including its synthetic antibody mimics and monoclonal antibody therapy enhancers. (See BioWorld, July 27, 2017.)
Nextcure Inc., of Beltsville, Md., said it completed a $93 million series B equity financing round led by Hillhouse Capital Management and Quan Capital, and included Bay City Capital, Surveyor Capital (a Citadel company), Ping An Ventures, Taiho Ventures LLC, Arrowmark Partners and NS Investment. All existing investors also participated in the financing, with Indianapolis-based Eli Lilly and Co. investing $15 million in the round in conjunction with a discovery and development partnership signed earlier this month. The multiyear immuno-oncology (I-O) deal is designed to exploit Nextcure's Functional, Integrated, Nextcure Discovery in Immuno Oncology, or FIND-IO, technology. The company received $25 million up front in addition to the $15 million equity stake. The proceeds from the series B will be primarily used to support clinical development for the company's two lead drug candidates, including NC-318 and preclinical development of additional novel immunomedicine drug candidates. NC-318 is a Siglec-15 (S15)-targeting antibody. Preclinical research, the company said, shows that S15 promotes the survival and differentiation of suppressive myeloid cells and negatively regulates T-cell function, allowing cancer growth. In preclinical studies, NC-318 blocks the negative effects of S15. (See BioWorld, Nov. 7, 2018.)
Northwest Biotherapeutics Inc., of Bethesda, Md., said it completed an aggregate financing of $5 million from long-term angel investors. The notes sold have a one-year maturity, subject to the company's right to prepay the loan at any time by paying the principal plus the interest due until maturity. The company also agreed with the its CEO, Linda Powers, on further extensions of the demand notes relating to $5.4 million in funding she provided to the company in February, March and April as a short-term bridge. The further extensions will extend the notes to a maturity of one year from the funding dates. The note proceeds are being used for ongoing company programs and operations.
Roivant Sciences Ltd., of Basel, Switzerland, disclosed a $200 million equity financing. New investors include Novaquest Capital Management, RTW Investments and other large institutional asset managers. All existing institutional shareholders in Roivant are also participating. The financing values Roivant at about $7 billion, the company said. Proceeds will be used primarily to launch additional Vants developing innovative medicines and technologies. The round is expected to close by early December.