Money on the Move: March 16-22
Most major money moves this week were related to immune therapy companies, including rounds of funding for T cell therapies, allergy therapies and immunomodulation platforms.
Boston- and Seattle-based Affini-T Therapeutics closed an oversubscribed $175 million financing. The financing, led by major life sciences investor Vida Ventures and Bayer’s investment unit, Leaps by Bayer.
With $175 million, Affini-T will operationalize its T cell receptor (TCR) discovery engine, which can select and engineer immune cells to fight solid tumors. The TCR engine uses T cells to attach common genetic mutations such as the KRAS mutation to kill difficult-to-treat cancers of the pancreas, lung and colorectum. The solid tumor treatment market is expected to hit $424.6 billion by 2027.
Triumvira, a clinical-stage company dedicated to natural T cell treatments for solid tumors, raised a significant extension of its Series financing, bringing the total to $100 million. New investors included the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation’s venture philanthropy subsidiary and the Myeloma Investment Fund. The funding will support preclinical and clinical development for T cell therapy programs, one of which is already in a Phase I/II clinical trial for HER2-overexpressing solid tumors (TACTIC-2), including breast, gastric, ovarian, pancreatic, gall bladder and non-small cell lung cancers.
Nectar, the consumer-facing brand of allergy-focused healthcare company Nectar Life Sciences, raised $8 million in seed funding. This will empower Nectar to create personalized allergy care, identify and treat the root causes of allergies and provide long-lasting allergy relief. The company also plans on creating a telehealth experience for its patients with the fund money.
The funding, led by Juxtapose and Obvious Ventures, saw an opportunity in the underestimated allergy treatment market, which is estimated at $360 billion. Allergies affect over 120 million Americans, and only 35% of people with moderate/severe allergies are satisfied with their current allergy treatment options.
Paving its runway through the end of 2024, Revance Therapeutics closed a solid $300 million note purchase agreement with major healthcare asset management company Athyrium Capital Management. The funding is broken up into three tranches. The first tranche is worth $100 million and was issued at closing. The second $100 million is promised as long as Revance hits certain milestones within the next 18 months, such as FDA approvals. An uncommitted third tranche is available until March 31, 2024, and is based on achieving at least $50 million in revenue for Revance’s neuromodulator DaxibotulinumtoxinA injection. The tranches have a fixed interest rate of 8.5% and will hopefully spur DaxibotulinumtoxinA through FDA approvals and commercialization.
Canada-based private biopharma company Qu Biologics closed a USD$12M equity financing. The funding will fuel Qu’s projects to develop a first-in-class immunomodulation platform. Specifically, the funding will go toward three Phase II clinical trials of the platform, expanding Qu’s headcount and making developments in the platform. The novel platform uses site-specific immunomodulators (SSIs), which, unlike other immunotherapies, can target multiple types of cell receptors to restore innate immune function. This could be a treatment pathway for cancers, infectious diseases and chronic inflammatory diseases.