Askgene Pharma Inc., which less than two weeks ago reported positive initial data from an ongoing phase I/II trial testing its claudin 18.2-targeting candidate, ASKB-589, added $20 million in a series A round, intended to advance the company’s clinical pipeline and support further development of its Smartkine cytokine drug platform.
Aspen Neuroscience Inc. has closed a series B financing of $147.5 million. The funds will help get its autologous neuron replacement candidate into a phase I/IIa study for Parkinson’s disease. Privately held Aspen has been talking about initiating the phase I/IIa clinical trial since at least 2019. But in April 2022, it came a lot closer to reality. That’s when the company launched its first patient screening studies at several sites in the U.S. Now, the trial-ready cohort study is designed to screen potential participants for the study.
With 47% fewer biopharma financings than last year, investors who were once enthused over the industry’s potential in combatting the deadly SARS-CoV-2 virus appear to be taking a step back. So far in 2022, the industry has raised $18 billion across 346 financings through the first week of May. By the same time in 2021, it had raised three times that amount, $53.9 billion through 651 transactions.
Sidekick Health AB stepped into a leading role in the fast-growing digital health space with the closing of a $55 million series B this week and an ever larger number of partners for its gamified app. Designed to help better manage multiple chronic conditions, the digital therapeutic engages users in video game-like activities and rewards positive changes in lifestyle choices while delivering personalized educational components.
IPOs continue to be sluggish but two companies, Pepgen Inc. and Bausch & Lomb Corp., that began trading May 6 managed to sidestep the turbulence despite having to lower their expectations before the market opened. Pepgen stock (NASDAQ:PEPG) closed at $12.89 per share May 6, up 7.4% on the day. Bausch & Lomb also had a solid IPO launch May 6 as shares (NYSE:BLCO) closed 11.1% upward at $20 each.
Orthoson Ltd. closed a £8.9 million (US$11.1 million) oversubscribed series A, which will be devoted to completing preparations for its ultrasound/hydrogel combination treatment for repairing degenerated spinal discs to start phase I clinical trials.