January 7, 2020 | December saw a new life sciences venture fund launching along with funding news across the sector.
$210M: Investment Fund Closing
Perceptive Advisors, an investment management firm focused in life sciences, today announced the closing of its inaugural venture capital fund, the Perceptive Xontogeny Venture Fund, LP (the "PXV Fund"), solely focused on investment in early-stage life science companies. The PXV Fund was oversubscribed and has closed with $210 million in commitments with a global investor base that includes prominent endowments, foundations, family offices, and institutional investors. The PXV Fund complements Perceptive Advisors’ Life Sciences Master and Credit Opportunities Funds as it will be solely focused on early-stage venture capital and expects to be the sole or predominant lead investor in Series A rounds in the range of $10-20 million with capacity to participate in subsequent Series B rounds. The PXV Fund is led by Chris Garabedian, Portfolio Manager, who also serves as Chairman and CEO of Xontogeny, a Boston-based accelerator that provides seed investments along with strategic and operational support to early-stage life science companies through its professional staff and network of consultants and service providers. The PXV Fund will be focused exclusively on life sciences technologies across therapeutic areas with a greater emphasis on drug technologies and less focus on early drug and platform discovery. The general goal of PXV Fund’s Series A financings will be advancing a product/technology from a preclinical lead into or through early clinical development.
$125M: Series D, Digital Genome Engineering Platform
Inscripta, Boulder, Colo., has raised $125 million in a Series D financing with support from the company’s existing investors and new investors JS Capital Management LLC and Oak HC/FT. Paladin Capital Group led the round, bringing the total amount raised by the company to $259.5 million. The new funds will be used to accelerate applications expansion and commercialization of the company’s revolutionary Onyx Digital Genome Engineering platform, a fully automated benchtop instrument for genome-scale engineering. Consisting of an instrument, consumables, software, and assays, it enables scientists to create libraries of millions of precisely engineered single cells in one experiment through a fully automated workflow. The new platform offers immediate and significant benefits that will give scientists in genome discovery, healthcare, bio-industrial materials development and manufacturing, and sustainability the power to design, engineer, evaluate, and track results of genome engineering experiments in their own labs.
$55M: Series C, Actionable Genomic Alterations In Tissue Or Blood
ArcherDX, Boulder, Colo., closed a $55 million Series C financing round led by Perceptive Advisors, which was joined by new investors Redmile Group, Soleus Capital, Driehaus Capital Management and ArrowMark Partners, as well as existing investors Sands Capital, Longwood Fund, PBM Capital and its affiliates, Boulder Ventures and others. Proceeds of the financing are intended to be used in part to expand the ArcherDX global commercial footprint, support the registration and launch of the STRATAFIDE pan-solid tumor companion diagnostic (CDx) and, in concert with ongoing biopharma collaborations, to support development of ArcherDX’s Personalized Cancer Monitoring (PCM) platform. Based on patented technology, with more than 150 peer-reviewed publications, STRATAFIDE identifies actionable genomic alterations in tissue or blood samples, including alterations targeted by emerging therapies undergoing clinical trials, therapies already recommended in clinical guidelines such as NCCN, and therapies approved by the FDA. Unlike current centralized testing, STRATAFIDE allows tissue and blood samples to be analyzed at any local lab with a sequencer, thereby enabling faster turnaround times, while providing physicians with critical information needed to deliver targeted, personalized care. STRATAFIDE was granted FDA Breakthrough Device Designation in January 2019.
$40M: Series B, AI-Powered Drug Discovery
Deep Genomics, Toronto, Canada, has closed its Series B round with $40 million in new investment. The proceeds from this financing will be used to develop new treatments for rare genetic diseases, and to expand the company’s proprietary AI discovery platform to support the discovery and development of novel therapies for more common disorders. Deep Genomics uses AI to power every stage of drug development, from identifying therapeutic targets that were previously dismissed as being undruggable, to designing novel therapeutic candidates, to designing animal models. The approach results in remarkable clarity and speed: 70% of research projects have led to therapeutic leads, and programs have been taken from target discovery to drug candidate in less than 12 months. The company plans to advance two programs to IND in 2020 and obtain Phase 1/2 data for its Wilson disease candidate in 2021.
Read more about Deep Genomics: Deep Genomics Identifies Rare Disease Targets Using AI System and Causation in Context: Brendan Frey's Vision for Deep Genomics
$28M: Series C, Digital and Real-Time PCR
ChromaCode, Carlsbad, Calif., has secured $28 million in Series C financing led by Northpond Ventures, a global firm dedicated to science and technology headquartered in Bethesda, Maryland. Also participating were new investors Windham Ventures, Moore Venture Partners and the California Institute of Technology; and existing investors New Enterprise Associates (NEA), Domain Associates and Okapi Ventures. Pat Smerkers of Northpond has joined the Board of Directors. Proceeds from the financing will be used to accelerate development of novel HDPCR products for digital PCR and real-time PCR platforms; expand partnerships with leading companies in molecular infectious disease, reproductive health and precision medicine for oncology; and support commercialization of ChromaCode's new multiplexed products for multi-drug resistance and tick-borne pathogens.
$12M: Series A, Novel Genetic Sequencing Technology
TwinStrand Biosciences, Seattle, Wash., announced the close of $16 million in Series A funding, including $12 million in new capital. Madrona Venture Group led the investment with participation from Alexandria Venture Investments, Ridgeback Capital and Sahsen Ventures. The funding will be used to accelerate the company's commercial pipeline, as well as to support the growth of corporate infrastructure and pharmaceutical partnerships. The University of Washington spinout previously raised $5.5 million in Seed funding, in addition to $6.4 million in SBIR grants, to develop and commercialize its Duplex Sequencing technology. Duplex Sequencing is a biochemistry and software-based enhancement to existing DNA sequencing platforms that enables researchers and clinicians to detect genetic "needles in a haystack." By identifying ultra-low frequency DNA mutations with a resolution 10,000-fold greater than conventional tools on the market, clinically important decisions can be made with confidence. Duplex Sequencing identifies extremely rare mutations that go undetected by current next-generation sequencing (NGS) platforms. TwinStrand's scientist-leaders have authored more than 15 peer-reviewed articles on Duplex Sequencing and have developed a portfolio of over 45 patents and patent applications. The company is already collaborating with pharmaceutical companies, academic centers, clinical research networks, and federal regulatory agencies.
$5M: Connecting Health Data System
Bridge Connector, Nashville, Tenn., offers data-driven workflow automation to solve health IT interoperability challenges. The company’s latest $5 million investment was led by the private investment office of Jeff Vinik, with additional funds coming from existing investor Axioma Ventures, brings total funding to $25M. The additional financing will support Bridge Connector’s continued scalability and its upcoming launch of Destinations, a new integration platform as a service (iPaaS) that connects health data systems without the need for code. The company plans to close on Series B funding in the second quarter of 2020, further supporting a business model that creates an ecosystem where all health care organizations, regardless of size, can equitably reap the benefits of connected data systems.
Verantos, Palo Alto, Calif., has received a grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS), to support clinical phenotyping utilizing RWE. The grant supports advanced scientific efforts by Verantos to define the clinical phenotype, a detailed view of patient characteristics required for RWE studies. The grant ties directly to the 21st Century Cures Act's national goals of increasing the use of RWE to refine the standard of care and create a more tailored approach to therapy. The grant aims to improve the ability to understand a patient's journey through the healthcare system, assess and predict their clinical outcomes, and use the resulting insight to improve care for the next patient. The grant number is R44TR002437.
Read more about Verantos: How Accurate Are Real World Data?