Follow the Money: NCI Awards Grant For Prostate Cancer Treatment Study, Recruiting Participants For Immunotherapy Drug Trials
September 27, 2023 | The Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai nets a grant to identify the best prostate cancer treatment for people with HIV; EverImmune will conduct a phase I/II clinical trial for its drug candidate Oncobax AK in patients undergoing immunotherapy; NIH establishes the Multi-Omics for Health and Disease Consortium to advance the generation and analysis of “multi-omic” data for human health research; more.
$1.7B: Collaboration for Cancer Therapies
Moderna and Immatics launch a strategic research and development collaboration to pioneer novel and transformative therapies for cancer patients with high unmet medical need. This will include developing breakthrough mRNA-enabled in vivo expressed TCER molecules and evaluation of Immatics’ investigational IMA203 PRAME TCR-T in combination with Moderna’s investigational PRAME mRNA cancer vaccine. This broad multi-platform collaboration will leverage the deep scientific expertise and core operational capabilities of both companies, combining Immatics’ TCR platform with Moderna’s cutting-edge mRNA technology, and span various therapeutic modalities including bispecifics, cell therapy and cancer vaccines. Under the terms of the agreement, Immatics will receive an upfront payment of $120 million, as well as research funding and is eligible to receive development, regulatory, and commercial milestone payments that could exceed $1.7 billion. Moderna will lead the clinical development and commercialization of cancer vaccines and TCER therapeutics resulting from the collaboration. Immatics will be responsible for conducting the preclinical studies and a potential Phase 1 clinical trial investigating IMA203 TCR-T in combination with the PRAME mRNA vaccine to further enhance IMA203 T cell responses. Each party will retain full ownership of its investigational PRAME compound, and the parties will fund the clinical study on a cost sharing basis.
$273M: Series C to Advance Generative AI Pipeline of Protein Therapeutics
Generate Biomedicines has raised $273 million in Series C financing. This financing round attracted many new investors including Amgen; NVentures, NVIDIA’s venture capital arm; MAPS Capital (Mirae Asset Group); and Pictet Alternative Advisors. Additionally, company founder, Flagship Pioneering, and every Series B investor, including a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority (ADIA); Fidelity Management & Research Company; funds and accounts advised by T. Rowe Price Associates, Inc.; ARCH Venture Partners; and March Capital, participated in the round. The funds will be used to further propel Generate Biomedicines’ platform, The Generate Platform, to increase precision, speed, and probability of success of novel therapeutics, which will allow it to better tackle complex targets and unmet patient needs. The platform recently won a Bio-IT World Innovative Practices Award.
$58M: Seed Funding for Autoimmune Neuropsychiatric Diseases
Arialys Therapeutics announced the close of $58 million in seed financing. The investors in the financing included the company’s founding investors, Avalon BioVentures, Catalys Pacific, and MPM BioImpact, along with Johnson & Johnson Innovation – JJDC, Inc. and Alexandria Venture Investments. The proceeds of the financing will be used to advance new precision medicines that specifically block pathogenic autoantibodies in the central nervous system (CNS) and meaningfully expand the treatment possibilities for neuropsychiatric diseases driven by autoimmunity.
$55M: Series C for Global Adoption of AI for Cancer Diagnosis
Ibex Medical Analytics has closed a $55 million Series C financing round led by 83North. Additional participants in the round were Sienna Venture Capital and existing investors in the company, Octopus Ventures, aMoon, Planven Entrepreneur Ventures and Dell Technologies Capital. The financing brings total funding to over $100 million since Ibex's inception in 2016. Ibex’s Galen platform is helping transform cancer diagnostics with AI-powered solutions that help pathologists improve the quality of diagnosis and support laboratories with enhanced efficiency and better turnaround times. The funding will enable Ibex to take major steps toward providing patients with timely, accurate, and personalized cancer diagnoses. It will also be used to expand Ibex’s footprint in the United States to meet increasing demands for AI-powered diagnostic solutions, as well as accelerate the growth of their product portfolio to create more tools for pathologists and labs.
$50.3M: NIH Grant For “Multi-Omics” Research
The National Institutes of Health is establishing the Multi-Omics for Health and Disease Consortium, with approximately $11 million awarded in the first year of funding. The new consortium aims to advance the generation and analysis of “multi-omic” data for human health research. Multi-omics refers to a research approach that incorporates several “omics” data types derived from different research areas, such as genomics, epigenomics, transcriptomics, proteomics, and metabolomics. Each of these data types reveals distinct information about different aspects of a biological system. Approximately half of the awarded funds will support the work of six disease study sites, which will examine conditions such as fatty liver diseases, hepatocellular carcinoma, asthma, chronic kidney disease, and preeclampsia, among others. The sites will enroll research participants—at least 75% of whom will be from ancestral backgrounds underrepresented in genomics research—and collect data on participants’ environments and social determinants of health to be used in conjunction with the multi-omics data. Combining the multi-omic and environmental data can offer an even more comprehensive view of the factors that contribute to disease risk and outcomes.
$16.1M: Collaboration to Develop T Cell Receptor Based Therapies
JURA Bio announced a $16.1 million financing led by Michael Chambers, John Ballantyne, Fontus Capital, and Josh Elkington. The funding will accelerate the mapping of the adaptive immune system. JURA Bio aims to complete a predictive map of TCR-antigen-HLA binding powered by an off-the-shelf library of >100B synthesized human T cells and their cognate antigens and HLAs by the end of 2024. During this timeframe, it will also expand its machine-learning based gene synthesis into the design and discovery of B cell receptors.
$15M: Series A for Enhancing DNA Break Mapping Platform
Broken String Biosciences has closed a $15 million Series A investment round, co-led by Illumina Ventures and Mérieux Equity Partners, with contributions from HERAN Partners, and existing investors Tencent and Dieter von Holtzbrinck Ventures (DvH Ventures). As part of the round, Yoann Bonnamour, Mérieux Equity Partners, and Arnaud Autret, Illumina Ventures, join the Company’s Board of Directors. The funding will be used to develop Broken String’s Next Generation Sequencing (NGS)-based DNA break mapping platform, INDUCE-se, into a scalable ‘Platform as a Service’ (PaaS) offering and to expand its capabilities beyond gene editing, broadening its go-to-market strategy and driving commercial traction. The investment also supports the Company’s ongoing growth, including recruitment for its UK team based at the Wellcome Genome Campus, Cambridge, and the establishment of a US office.
$15M: Funding for mRNA Manufacturing, Formulation Solutions
Primrose Bio has been established as a result of the combination between Primordial Genetics and Pelican Technology Holdings. As part of the transaction, Ligand Pharmaceuticals has contributed $15 million in funding. Primrose Bio's technologies have been leveraged to launch Prima RNApols and PeliCRM197, two widely licensed manufacturing and formulation solutions for biopharma companies developing mRNA medicines and conjugate vaccines, respectively.
$14M: Seed Financing for Transformer-Based Machine Learning Methods
Noetik closed an oversubscribed $14 million seed financing round led by DCVC, with participation from Zetta Venture Partners, 11.2 Capital, Catalio Capital Management, Epic Ventures, Intermountain Ventures, North South Ventures, Chau Khuong and CJNV BioVentures, Enveda Founder and CEO, Viswa Colluru and Hummingbird Nomads Fund, and Recursion CEO & CFO, Chris Gibson and Michael Secora. In The funding will support Noetik’s significant internal data generation efforts and the continued development of transformer-based machine learning methods. From this data, the company aims to rapidly initiate target and therapeutics discovery. The funding will also be used to expand Noetik’s team in machine learning, computational biology, and cancer immunology.
$11M: Seed Round for Advancing Neural Data Accessibility
Sonera announced $11M in seed funding led by Amplify Partners with participation from Abstract Ventures and existing investors. This latest funding brings total capital raised to $20M from investors including Spark Capital; Material Impact; Boom Capital; angel investor Josh Duyan, CTRL-Labs CSO and co-founder; and others. With this investment, Sonera will continue its mission to make neural data accessible for a range of applications, from personal computing and smart apparel to healthcare and neurotherapeutics.
$8M: Seed Funding for Patient/Caregiver Clinical Trial Platform
Mural Health Technologies has raised $8 million in seed funding, led by Bessemer Venture Partners, with participation from Virtue VC, Operator Partners, Arkitect Ventures, Correlation Ventures, and Project Mayhem Ventures. The investment empowers the company to accelerate the growth of its Mural Link platform which modernizes the clinical trial experience for both patients and caregivers.
$7.4M: Trial Funding for Testing Regenerative Therapeutics
Theradaptive has been awarded a U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) Clinical Trial Award of up to $7.4 million with options, subject to FDA approval to begin phase I/II clinical studies. Awarded through the DOD’s Peer Reviewed Medical Research Program (PRMRP), the award recognizes the scientific merit of Theradaptive’s work in targeted regenerative therapeutics to create safer and more efficacious treatments for patients with conditions such as spinal degenerative disc disease, orthopedic trauma, and craniomaxillofacial and dental repair. The Clinical Trial Award is aimed at providing assistance to companies implementing clinical trials for biologics or medical devices focused on improving the patient outcomes of military service members and veterans. This award will help Theradaptive scale up the production of its OsteoAdapt regenerative therapeutic product for spine and trauma repair and will become clinically available upon initiation of first in human clinical trials in early 2024.
$3.41M: Recruiting Participants for Phase I/II Clinical Trial of Drug Candidate
EverImmune has secured €3.46 million (approximately $3.41 million) in funding from Bpifrance, under the ‘Innovation in biotherapeutics’ scheme. The company will be able to conduct a phase I/II clinical trial for its drug candidate Oncobax AK in patients undergoing immunotherapy. This funding will be used to recruit 71 trial patients with Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer (NSCLC) or Renal Cell Cancer (RCC). EverImmune will investigate whether Oncobax AK improves the effectiveness of the patients’ immunotherapy treatment. The clinical trial will be conducted in 15 hospitals throughout France and Belgium, including Gustave Roussy, the leading cancer center that spun-off EverImmune.
$3.4M: Grant for Prostate Cancer Treatment Model
The National Cancer Institute has awarded the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai a $3.4 million grant to create a model that identifies the best prostate cancer treatment for people with HIV. This project will use state-of-the-art computer models and data to investigate the natural progression of prostate cancer, and outcomes using various treatments, in people with HIV to identify treatment approaches that work best in this vulnerable group. Prostate cancer will be the leading cancer diagnosed in people living with HIV in the next decade as more men with HIV are living longer than ever. This grant will help researchers embark on new, clinically important research for an understudied cancer in this population.
$3.1M: Seed Round for Point-of-Care Diagnostic Platform
Glasgow-based diagnostics spinout Microplate Dx has closed a £2.5 million (approximately $3.1 million) seed funding round to develop its point-of-care diagnostic platform. Investors in this funding round include existing investors Deepbridge Capital LLP and the University of Strathclyde, as well as new investors Scottish Enterprise, impact investor SIS Ventures, and Boston-based life sciences investor Thairm Bio—in line with the company’s plans for US market entry. Microplate Dx has developed a platform for rapid antibiotic susceptibility testing, enabling the optimum antibiotic to be prescribed by a clinician in minutes rather than days. With the product currently at prototype stage, new funding will allow Microplate Dx to continue its clinical trials in 2024/25, with a view to launching commercially across European pharmacies and exploring entry into the US market.
$2.2M: Seed Round for Quantum Simulation
Kuano closed a £1.8 million (approximately $2.2 million) seed funding round, led by Mercia Ventures, and including ACF Investors, Ascension Ventures, o2h Ventures, Meltwind Advisory LLP, and other Angel investors. The investment will facilitate further validation of Kuano’s quantum simulation platform for the design of more effective drug candidates targeting enzymes, as well as continued company growth through strategic partnerships and recruitment. Kuano’s quantum simulation platform enables scientists to see and model enzymes in their dynamic state, opening new possibilities for more effective drug design. Combining these unique enzyme profiles with its suite of AI tools, Kuano can then predict the best structures with which to target them.
$2M: ML Manufacturing of Oligonucleotide Therapeutics
Intellegens has secured a £1.6 million (approximately $2 million) grant from Innovate UK, part of UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), to apply ML in the emerging field of oligonucleotide therapies. In collaboration with the Centre for Process Innovation (CPI), the two-year project will augment and validate the company’s ML technology, Alchemite, as a tool to enhance productivity and yields of oligonucleotide therapeutic manufacture through performance prediction and optimization of quality control strategies. Expert support for the project is being provided with direct input from six leading research organizations, including top 10 pharma companies, such as Novartis and specialist biotech companies, such as Silence Therapeutics. Through automated data processing and process modelling, Alchemite will be used for analysis of large datasets, predictions of process performance, and subsequent optimization of quality control strategies and process parameters. The project has been granted access to CPI Medicines Manufacturing Innovation Centre (MMIC), providing world-leading expertise and state-of-the-art facilities for the duration of the collaboration.
$1.08M: Collaboration for Diagnostics, Sample-Handling
KK-stiftelsen has granted a consortium involving medtech company Capitainer SEK 12 million (approximately $1.08 million) for the project "Advanced Materials for Individualized Medicine and Diagnostics." The collaboration, including Capitainer, Attana, AroCell, Luma Metall and Region Kalmar, is conducted at Linnaeus University in Växjö, Sweden, and led by Professor Ian Nicholls. The project aims to develop highly sensitive and reliable diagnostic platforms and associated sample-handling techniques for important medical conditions in order to provide increased knowledge to healthcare providers, patients, policymakers and researchers. This is achieved by developing diagnostic tools based on new sensor platforms and sample-handling techniques