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Biopharma financing digest—July 2021

Greenshoots Communications / AlamyStockPhoto

Abata Therapeutics, based in Cambridge, Massachusetts launched a $95 million series A financing led by Third Rock Ventures, a healthcare venue capital firm based in Boston, Massachusetts. Abata is engineering regulatory T cells (Tregs) as targeted therapies that halt and prevent autoimmunity and promote repair in affected tissues—a new approach to treating serious autoimmune and inflammatory diseases. The autologous Treg cell therapies express T cell receptors that recognize antigens present in tissue where the body is attacking itself, enabling them to infiltrate, disrupt and suppress disease-causing inflammation at the site, without systemic immune suppression. The company’s pipeline includes a lead program in progressive multiple sclerosis and candidates for inclusion body myositis and type 1 diabetes.

Fractyl Health (previously Fractyl Laboratories) raised $100 million in a series F financing from new and existing investors. The company, based in Lexington, Massachusetts, focuses on the root cause of metabolic disease. Fractyl will use the funds to expand and accelerate clinical development of Revita DMR, an outpatient endoscopic procedure that resurfaces the duodenal mucosa to restore appropriate signalling and insulin sensitivity in those with metabolic disease. In April Fractyl obtained FDA Breakthrough Device Designation for Revita DMR in patients with type 2 diabetes who are currently treated with insulin.

Meanwhile, Umoja Biopharma, which uses its integrated technologies to reprogram immune cells in vivo to create next-generation immunotherapies, closed a series B financing, raising $210 million from new and existing investors. The proceeds will enable the oncology-focussed company, which is based in Seattle, Washington, to advance internal manufacturing capabilities and to develop its two lead programs into the clinic. The first is based on CAR T-cell adapter-mediated tumor-targeting (TumorTag) for folate receptor-expressing solid tumors, the second on the in vivo modification of immune cells (VivoVec and RACR/CAR) for CD19+ hematological cancers.

Tvardi Therapeutics, based in Houston, Texas, also closed a series B, raising $74 million to advance its small-molecule STAT3 inhibitor clinical programs. STAT3 is a regulatory protein involved in many signalling pathways implicated in cancer survival and immune evasion; it also plays a key role in many inflammatory and fibrotic diseases. Tvardi’s lead product, TTI-101, is currently in a phase 1 trial treating patients with advanced solid tumors who have failed all lines of therapy.

Finally, Lyndra Therapeutics closed a $60.5 million series C financing. The company, based in Watertown, Massachusetts, is transforming daily pills into once-weekly to -monthly oral treatment options. The company’s ultra long-acting, extended-release oral capsule dosage form technology is designed to reside in the stomach and provide linear drug release of small molecules and peptides for at least a week. The proceeds, which bring Lyndra’s total raised to date to almost $250 million, will be used to advance into pivotal trials its lead product candidate, a once-weekly oral risperidone treatment for schizophrenia.


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