Vergent Bioscience Inc. raised $21.5 million in a series B financing round to advance development of VGT-309, its targeted fluorescent imaging agent that illuminates tumors during open, minimally invasive and robotic-assisted surgeries. The company plans to use the funds to support a phase II trial at the University of Pennsylvania that focuses on lung cancer and a multicenter study that will examine the agent’s use in other indications.
At first glance, Cellarity Inc. might appear as one more company harnessing the computational power of AI and machine learning to boost drug discovery efforts. A closer look, however, reveals a different approach, one that looks at cells and cellular behavior to address disease rather than the traditional method of seeking out molecular targets.
Sibylla Biotech Srl raised €23 million (US$22.9 million) in series A funding to progress its two lead programs in targeted protein degradation, to broaden its pipeline, and to enhance its computationally intensive discovery platform. The company is expanding the druggable proteome in a highly original fashion. It applies mathematical techniques originally developed in theoretical physics to simulating the intermediate folding states of target proteins that have no obvious drug-binding pockets. These may well have transient structures that a small molecule can bind. So instead of drugging the native, biologically active molecule, it aims to develop small-molecule drugs that lock them into an intermediate state. They are then eliminated by the usual protein degradation pathways that operate within cells.
Recent years have seen progress in treating brain disease, but one major challenge remains: getting therapeutic treatments across the blood-brain barrier. Now, Cranius LLC has raised $19.4 million to advance a device designed to bypass the blood-brain barrier and deliver medicines directly and continuously to the brain.