Good day. Biotechnology startup Expansion Therapeutics Inc. has
collected $80 million to hunt for oral medicines that make a
significant impact on neurodegenerative diseases.
Conventionally, medications have targeted disease proteins.
Boston-based Expansion and some other companies are now also
developing drugs that target RNA involved in producing disease
Ionis Pharmaceuticals Inc.'s Tegsedi, for example, treats
patients with nerve damage stemming from hereditary ATTR
amyloidosis, a disease in which the body produces a mutant form of
the TTR protein. Tegsedi, which is injected, targets RNA to reduce
the production of TTR protein, according to Ionis.
Expansion is developing RNA-targeted small-molecule drugs for
diseases with few treatment options. They include myotonic
dystrophy type 1, a disease affecting muscle, cardiac and brain
function; the motor disease amyotrophic lateral sclerosis;
frontotemporal dementia, a severe form of dementia; and
tauopathies, or brain disorders marked by an overabundance of
certain forms of the protein tau.
By going upstream of proteins and targeting RNA, Expansion hopes
to make a profound impact on these diseases, said Chief Executive
Renato Skerlj. Expansion, which raised this Series B funding from
Cormorant Asset Management, and others, plans to use the new
capital to advance its platform and move its initial drugs toward
And now on to the news...
Blood storage technology. Hemanext Inc. has secured new
venture-capital funding ahead of plans to seek U.S. regulatory
authorization for a medical device designed to improve blood
storage and help patients who depend heavily on donated blood.
Hemanext has collected $15 million in new funding and has now
raised a total of more than $100 million.
Donated blood is used widely in medical care, including in the
treatment of traumatic injuries and patients with blood disorders
such as sickle cell disease. Hospitals' need for blood is
increasing as they catch up on surgeries following coronavirus
Hemanext aims to improve the blood supply by increasing the
quality of stored red blood cells. That could lead to benefits such
as less-frequent blood transfusions for patients. The company plans
to study its technology in various types of patients, including
those with burns, sickle cell disease and blood cancers known as
"We're always living in a state of concern about whether or not
we'll have the supply to meet the [needs] of every American."
-- Biree Andemariam, a professor of medicine at UConn Health,
and a clinical adviser to Hemanext, referring to the nation's
supply of donated blood
Other VC News
Alternative-Milk Company Perfect Day Raises $350 Million
Perfect Day Inc. raised $350 million in a late-stage funding
round, valuing the non-animal dairy startup at roughly $1.5 billion
and setting the stage for an initial public offering, The Wall
Street Journal reports. Singapore's Temasek and Canada Pension Plan
Investment Board led the Series D funding round for the California
company, co-founders Ryan Pandya and Perumal Gandhi told The Wall
Street Journal. Other investors include Walt Disney Co. Executive
Chairman Robert Iger. Since its founding in 2014, Perfect Day,
which uses fermentation technology to produce animal-free dairy
proteins and counts actor Leonardo DiCaprio as an adviser, has
raised $750 million.
Vensana Capital, a venture-capital and growth-equity firm
focused on medical technology, closed its second fund at its hard
cap of $325 million. Vensana Capital II LP will continue to back
startups in the medical devices, diagnostics and data-science,
life-science tools, digital health and tech-enabled services
sectors. With offices in Minneapolis and Vienna, Va., Vensana
Capital raised $225 million for its debut fund two years ago.
Hadean Ventures held the first closing of its second fund at
EUR90 million ($104 million) to continue investing in pharma,
biotech, medtech diagnostics and digital health startups, mostly in
Europe. The new fund is supported by over 30 limited partners
including OPF, Saminvest, Argentum and Investinor. Hadean Ventures
has offices in Oslo and Stockholm.
BioAdvance, which makes early-stage life-science investments in
the mid-Atlantic region, said Shahram Hejazi was appointed managing
director and chief executive, replacing Barbara Schilberg, who is
retiring after almost 20 years in that position. Before joining
BioAdvance, Mr. Hejazi was president of Kodak's life-science
division (later known as Carestream Molecular Imaging), and CEO of
Zargis Medical Corp.
Cleerly Inc., a heart disease-care provider, appointed Brandon
Atkinson as chief operating officer and Nick Nieslanik as chief
technology officer. Mr. Atkinson was most recently chief executive
of 46 Summits Consulting. Mr. Nieslanik was vice president of
engineering at Teladoc Health. Earlier this year, Cleerly raised a
$43 million Series B round from investors including Vensana
Capital, LRVHealth, New Leaf Venture Partners, DigiTx Partners and
Healthcare automation platform Lumeon named Breht Feigh to the
post of chief financial officer. He was most recently CFO of Press
Ganey Associates. Lumeon is based in Boston and London, and is
backed by investors including Optum Ventures, Endeavour Vision, LSP
and Amadeus Capital Partners.
Kipu, a technology partner for mental health and addiction
service providers, acquired Avea Solutions, whose software helps
treatment centers streamline billing. Terms weren't disclosed. TCV
counts Miami-based Kipu in its portfolio.
Elligo Health Research Inc., an Austin, Texas-based startup that
provides physician practices with technology and services to help
them participate in clinical trials, completed a $135 million
Series E round. Morgan Stanley Expansion Capital and Ally Bridge
Group led the investment, which included participation from Norwest
Venture Partners, Cerner, Hatteras Venture Partners, Noro-Moseley
Partners, Piper Sandler Merchant Banking, Shumway Capital and
Syneos Health. Along with the funding, Elligo Health Research
acquired ClinEdge for an undisclosed amount. Melissa Daniels,
managing director and general partner at Morgan Stanley Expansion
Capital, joined Elligo's board.
Wayspring, a Nashville, Tenn.-based substance use disorder-care
provider formerly known as axialHealthcare, picked up a $75 million
investment. Valtruis, a newly formed value-based care portfolio
company of Welsh, Carson, Anderson & Stowe, led the round.
Centene Corp., CareSource, HLM Venture Partners, Highmark Ventures,
.406 Ventures, Blue Venture Fund and Oak HC/FT also participated in
Anji Pharma, a Cambridge, Mass.- and Shanghai-based biotech
company, landed $70 million in Series B funding from CR Capital.
The company's clinical pipeline includes a provider of glucose
management in patients with Type 2 diabetes and advanced chronic
kidney disease, as well as a treatment for functional
Lifebit Biotech Ltd., a biomedical data provider with offices in
London, San Francisco and Hong Kong, raised $60 million in Series B
funding. Tiger Global Management led the round, which included
participation from Eurazeo, Pentech Ventures and Beacon
Stellar Health, a New York-based startup whose technology
enables primary-care providers to deliver real-time notifications
and action-based incentives to patients, secured more than $60
million in Series B financing. General Atlantic led the round,
which included additional support from Point72 Ventures, Primary
Venture Partners and others.
MFine, an Indian digital health startup, nabbed $48 million in
Series C funding. Moore Strategic Ventures and Beenext co-led the
round, which included contributions from Stellaris Venture
Partners, SBI Holdings, Heritas Capital, Prime Venture Partners and
Wider Circle, a Redwood City, Calif.-based startup that works
with health plans to deliver hyper-local care programs that connect
neighbors for better health, snagged a $38 million Series B round.
Lead investor AmeriHealth Caritas was joined by Blue Venture Fund,
Chicago Ventures and others in the new funding.
NovaSignal Corp., a Los Angeles-based startup specializing in
the assessment and management of brain health, closed a $37 million
Series C1 round led by Alpha Edison and Reimagined Ventures.
Kytopen Corp., a Cambridge, Mass.-based provider of a scalable
technology for engineered cell therapies, collected $30 million in
an oversubscribed Series A round. Northpond Ventures led the
investment, which saw participation from the Engine, Horizon
Ventures, Mass Ventures and others. Northpond's Adam Wieschhaus and
the Engine's Theresa Tribble will join the board.
Vital, an Atlanta-based provider of software for hospital
emergency departments, snagged $15 million in Series A funding.
Transformation Capital led the round, which included participation
from First Round Capital and Threshold Ventures.
Genetika+, a Jerusalem- and Boston-based startup applying
personalized medicine to behavioral health, fetched a $10 million
Series A round. GreyBird Ventures led the funding, which included
support from Meron Capital, Jumpspeed Ventures and Sapir Venture
Americans are getting Covid-19 boosters -- no questions
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What science knows now about the risk of Covid-19 transmission
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Around the Web
Mass General Brigham won't offer Biogen's new Alzheimer's drug.
Pharmaceutical CEOs have a new top concern: recruiting and
keeping employees. (Endpoints News)
The tedious process of training computers to think about
medicine. (STAT News)
How exploiting a protective gene mutation might protect the
brain from Alzheimer's disease. (Fierce Biotech)
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
September 30, 2021 10:39 ET (14:39 GMT)
Copyright (c) 2021 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.
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