Existing investor Omega Funds linked up with new backer Novo Holdings to co-lead the $80 million series B for Morphic Therapeutic Inc. New investors Invus and Ecor1 Capital and Morphic's other series A investors joined the round, designed to propel the company's lead small-molecule integrin modulator and a follow-on oral integrin candidate through IND-enabling and clinical proof-of-concept studies.
Silverback Therapeutics Inc. lifted the shades on its secretive operation just enough to reveal an extension of its series A round, previously cited only in SEC filings, to $47.5 million. The financing was led by existing investor Orbimed with participation from new investors Celgene Corp. and Alexandria Venture Investments.
Months after inking an agreement with GC Labcell (GCLC), Canadian startup Feldan Therapeutics Inc. pocketed $12.5 million in a series A financing led by parent company GC Holdings Corp., the recently rebranded Korean conglomerate that also houses GC Pharma, formerly Green Cross Corp. Participants in the round included South Korea's Stonebridge Ventures and Anges Québec Capital and members – a previous seed investor – along with undisclosed existing investors. Feldan, based in Québec City, is developing therapies based on its peptide-based intracellular delivery technology, dubbed the Feldan Shuttle.
"We wanted to get this product to patients as quickly as possible," Joshua Cohen, senior director and therapeutic area lead for migraine and headache at Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd., said in explaining the subcutaneous formulation of Ajovy (fremanezumab-vfrm), approved by the FDA late Friday to prevent migraine. Ajovy became the second calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP) entry in the U.S. migraine space, joining Aimovig (erenumab) from Amgen Inc., approved in May.
"We've finally pushed open a door to an entirely new pathway of potential approaches to treat cancer," Walter Klemp, chair and CEO of Moleculin Biotech Inc., said about the initiation of an investigator-led phase I study of STAT3 inhibitor WP-1066 in glioblastoma at MD Anderson Cancer Center. "People have been pounding on this door for a long time, and it was painful getting here, but now it's opened."
With "so many things going on in our biotechnology industry," Mike Narachi said he had his pick of opportunities following the shutdown of Orexigen Therapeutics Inc., whose obesity drug, Contrave (naltrexone HCl/bupropion HCl), went to Pernix Therapeutics Holdings Inc. at the end of July following bankruptcy proceedings.
When John Orwin joined Atreca Inc. in April as president and CEO, replacing co-founder Tito Serafini, who slid into the role of chief strategy officer, the stated goal was to combine Orwin's prowess in clinical scale-up with Serafini's scientific vision for the company's core Immune Repertoire Capture (IRC) technology.
Although the body of research is growing, therapeutic efforts to curb or reverse hearing loss fall far short of those in the more prominent sensory impairment of vision loss. Several dozen drugs are approved to treat visual disorders such as macular degeneration and glaucoma that can lead to blindness. In contrast, not a single drug is approved to treat or prevent hearing loss.
When it comes to sensory functions, the eyes have been the focus of much attention from researchers and drug developers, resulting in last year's breakthrough for Spark Therapeutics Inc. with the FDA nod for gene therapy Luxturna (voretigene neparvovec-rzyl) to treat children and adults with confirmed biallelic RPE65 mutation-associated retinal dystrophy, an ultra-rare disease that leads to vision loss and, sometimes, blindness.