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Biopharma financing digest—August 2021

Red DNA threads

Greenshoots Communications / AlamyStockPhoto

Ring Therapeutics raised $117 million in a series B funding round to expand its novel commensal virome vector platform. The company, based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, has developed the world's first and only anellovirus database with thousands of newly discovered anello-based vector candidates. Anellovirus vectors carry circular single-stranded DNA molecules that do not integrate with a person's existing DNA, overcoming some of the key challenges and limitations of current adenovirus-based gene therapy platforms. The company is creating a pipeline of immunocompatible and re-dosable vectors that could target many specific tissues and be administered in different ways.

Kriya Therapeutics secured $100 million from new and existing investors in a series B round. Kriya, with bases in Redwood City, California, and Triangle Park, North Carolina, is built on two technology platforms: its computationally-enabled platform for rational vector design, and its manufacturing platform for scalable and low-cost production, potentially improving speed to market, reducing cost per dose and expanding gene therapies to more mainstream diseases. The company’s pipeline currently has programs in metabolic disease, ophthalmology and oncology.

Biotech startup Prime Medicine established with $315 million comprising a $115 million series A and a $200 million series B financing roughly nine months after the company began. Prime is pioneering ‘search and replace’ gene editing that precisely alters DNA without cutting through the double helix to restore normal gene function, with minimal or no editing in other parts of the genome. The company, based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, hopes that its Prime Editing will be able to correct nearly all types of pathogenic gene mutations, correct multiple mutations at once, and treat a wider range of diseases than previously possible. Prime Medicine is currently targeting the liver, eye, ex-vivo hematopoietic stem cell, and even neuro-muscular indications.

Shape Therapeutics completed its series B financing, raising $112 million from new and existing investors. In contrast to gene editing approaches that permanently change DNA (e.g. CRISPR), the company, based in Seattle, Washington, has developed a suite of technology platforms that broadly enable RNA targeting, RNA editing and RNA replacement—the company plans to apply these next-generation RNA technologies to prevent or treat Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency and Rett syndrome.

RNAi therapeutic company Sirnaomics, based in Gaithersburg, Maryland, which uses a unique polypeptide nanoparticle to deliver its RNAi, secured $105 million in a series E financing to develop novel RNAi therapeutics for cancers, viral infections, fibrosis, and metabolic diseases.

Finally, gene-editing company Caribou, which uses CRISPR to improve the success of its experimental cell therapies for cancer (based on donor cells), raised $304 million in an IPO.

doi: https://doi.org/10.1038/d43747-021-00143-6

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