Acelyrin’s $300M haul for novel biologic leads a slate of biotech financings

by Bailey Amber
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Ten months after Acelyrin landed $250 million for mid-stage clinical development of an in-licensed immunology drug that could compete against blockbuster Novartis and Eli Lilly drugs, the biotech has raised $300 million more.

The new cash follows the report over the summer of positive Phase 2 data for izokibep, an antibody mimetic that blocks interleukin-17A. Los Angeles-based Acelyrin plans to use the latest fundraising haul to fund Phase 3 tests of its drug in psoriatic arthritis and axial spondyloarthritis.

Acelyrin’s Series C round of funding was the biggest biotech cash infusion of the past week. Here’s a recap of other notable financings:

Capstan Therapeutics emerged from stealth with $165 million raised to date as it works to advance toward the clinic with cell therapies engineered inside a patient’s body. The startup, which has operations in San Diego and Philadelphia, is based on research from University of Pennsylvania scientists with expertise in cell therapy and messenger RNA.

—Radiopharmaceuticals developer RayzeBio closed a $160 million Series D financing, which the company will apply toward more clinical tests of its lead asset, RYZ-101. A Phase 1b study is underway in neuroendocrine tumors; the company says Phase 3 tests could begin as early as next year. The FDA has also cleared the company to begin testing the radiopharmaceutical in non-small cell lung cancer.

Nimbus Therapeutics, a biotech company whose drug discovery approach is based on computational techniques, raised $125 million to back clinical development of programs in autoimmune diseases and oncology. One of those programs is blocks an enzyme called TYK2, which the Cambridge-based biotech is developing for moderate-to-severe plaque psoriasis and active psoriatic arthritis. The biotech is chasing Bristol Myers Squibb drug Sotyktu, whose recent FDA approval made it the first approved TKY2 inhibitor for moderate-to-severe plaque psoriasis.

—ATP, a venture capital firm formerly known as Apple Tree Partners, has merged three of its portfolio companies to form Galvanize Therapeutics, which is now backed by $100 million. San Carolos, California-based Galvanize is developing a pulsed electric field energy technology to treat various disorders including chronic bronchitis, cardiac arrhythmias solid tumors, as well as drug delivery. The new financing is a Series B round led by Fidelity Management & Research Company with participation from Intuitive Surgical, ATP, and Gilmartin Capital.

Forge Biologics, a company that operates as a gene therapy contract manufacturer while also developing its own therapies, closed a $90 million round. Columbus, Ohio-based Forge will use the new capital to expand its offerings to clients and bolster its manufacturing platform. The Series C financing was co-led by Drive Capital and Aisling Capital with an additional investor that remains undisclosed.

—SparingVision, a biotech developing gene therapies to treat inherited eye disorders, has raised €75 million. The Paris-based company will use the cash to begin clinical testing of two therapies, SPVN06 and SPVN20. SparingVision also plans to advance CRISPR-based gene-editing programs covered under a partnership with Intellia Therapeutics. The Series B round of financing was co-led by Jeito Capital and UPMC Enterprises. 4Bio Capital, Bpifrance, the RD Fund, and Ysios Capital also participated.

—Pretzel Therapeutics launched with $72.5 million to finance development of technology that modulates mitochondria, the energy-producing components of cells. Mitochondrial dysfunction is associated with more than 50 diseases, both rare and common. Waltham, Massachusetts-based Pretzel’s platform takes three approaches to affect mitochondrial function: genome correction, genome expression modulation, and mitochondrial control. Arch Venture Partners and Mubadala Capital led Pretzel’s Series A round.

Novome Biotechnologies raised $43.5 million for its gut microbiome approach to treating disease. The South San Francisco-based biotech’s lead program is in mid-stage testing for hyperoxaluria, in which people lack an enzyme needed to break down a compound in leafy greens called oxalate. Novome’s experimental treatment is comprised of bacteria engineered to break down oxalate. Tencent led Novome’s Series B financing.

—Carver Biosciences, a new company founded by Princeton University molecular biologist Cameron Myhrvold, emerged with an unspecified amount of seed financing led by Khosla Ventures. Boston-based Carver is developing antivirals that employ the CRISPR gene-editing system along with the RNA-directed Cas13 enzyme to target respiratory viruses. Myhrvold, whose research included developing Cas13-based technologies for studying viral host RNAs, founded Carver last year and will serve as the chair of the biotech’s scientific advisory board.

Picture: Feodora Chiosea, Getty Images

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