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Biopharma financing digest—April 2021

Dollar banknote rolled up in pill

Repertoire Immune Medicines, a clinical-stage biotech secured $189 million in a series B round from new and existing investors. Repertoire, headquartered in Cambridge, Massachusetts, is decoding the interactions between antigens and multiclonal T cells involved in diseases to create new classes of immune medicines for cancer, immune disorders, infectious diseases, and other serious disorders.

The new funds, which bring its total raised to more than $350 million, will be used in part to expand the company’s DECODE discovery platform and accelerate multiple oncology clinical programs using Repertoire’s antigen-primed multi-clonal cytokine-enhanced T cell products in solid tumors.

Another company to close a series B round was Jaguar Gene Therapy, based in Lake Forest, Illinois. It raised $139 million to advance its preclinical pipeline of AAV9-based gene therapies. These include treatments for galactosemia (an inherited metabolic condition that can cause cataracts, liver failure, kidney dysfunction and brain damage); a specific genetic cause of autism spectrum disorder; type 1 diabetes; and, through its subsidiary Axovia Therapeutics, the neurometabolic condition Bardet Biedl syndrome.

Adagio Therapeutics, a biotech in Waltham, Massachusetts, that develops antibodies to broadly neutralize coronaviruses, raised $336 million from new and existing investors in a series C round. The financing will support rapid advancement of its lead novel antibody drug (ADG20) for treating and preventing COVID-19 and all known/potential variants. This includes an ongoing phase 1 study in health volunteers and a pivotal phase 1/2/3 STAMP trial in high-risk patients with mild/moderate infection, designed to support emergency use authorization submission to the US Food and Drug Administration by the end of the year.

Meanwhile, among the companies going public in April was London-based Achilles Therapeutics, which debuted on Nasdaq (ACHL) with gross proceeds of $175.5million. Achilles, a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company, develops precision T cell therapies targeting patient-specific solid-tumor clonal neoantigens, identified using its bioinformatics platform and patient-specific DNA sequencing data. The company has two phase 1/2a trials underway, one in advanced non-small cell lung cancer and another in recurrent/metastatic melanoma.

Another clinical-stage company, Recursion Pharmaceuticals, closed an IPO on the Nasdaq Global Select (RXRX) with gross proceeds of $501.8 million. The company, based in Salt Lake City, Utah, says it is industrializing drug discovery, integrating technological innovations across biology, chemistry, automation, data science, and engineering to “explore foundational biology unconstrained by human bias and navigate to new biological insights.”

Finally, Zymergen also closed an IPO, also on the Nasdaq Global Select Market (ZY), with gross proceeds of approximately $575 million. Zymergen, based in Emeryville, California, describes itself as a “biofacturing” company, combining biology, chemistry, software and automation to design and create new materials ‘faster, cheaper and greener’ for a broad range of industries. The company currently has one product on the market, Hyaline, an electronic film with best-in-class properties in optical transparency and strength, but is developing improved consumer-care products, including insect repellent, and naturally-occurring agriculture products.

doi: https://doi.org/10.1038/d43747-021-00087-x

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