BIND Biosciences Raises $16 Million for Targeted, Drug-Loaded Nanoparticles

Xconomy Boston — 

As it promised during its “public debut” a few weeks ago at MassOpps (here’s my take on that presentation and the rest of the conference) BIND Biosciences has closed a $16 million Series B financing round. Polaris Venture Partners and Flagship Ventures—founding investors of the Cambridge, MA-based startup—were joined in the deal by ARCH Ventures and NanoDimension.

Founded last year by prolific inventor/entrepreneur Robert Langer of MIT (who says its actually hard to say just how many companies have been formed around his technology) and Harvard Medical School Assistant Professor of Anesthesiology Omid Farokhzad, BIND aims to develop exquisitely targeted drugs. The key, as CEO Glenn Batchelder explained at MassOpps, is using combinatorial techniques to develop libraries of tiny polymer nanoparticles loaded with the drugs and coated with various molecules that help them home in on just the right tissues or cells, depending on the disease to be treated—the lining of an artery for a cardiovascular disease, for instance, or tumor cells for cancer treatment. (Both diseases are, in fact, ones that BIND is targeting, along with inflammatory disease.) Rather than trying to predict exactly the right combination of particle size, coating, charge, and so forth, BIND simply tests different particles from its library and chooses the best one.

One of the things that intrigued me about BIND is how readily it has been able to take advantage of non-dilutive capital. The company, Batchelder said earlier this month, has grants from National Cancer Center and the National Institute of Standards and Technology, as well as a partnership with an undisclosed pharma company (focused on cardiovascular applications of the technology).

Batchelder, a veteran of Acceleron Pharma and Millennium Pharmaceuticals, declined to specify the total that the startup has raised through these routes, but he told me in an e-mail this morning, “BIND has attracted a tremendous amount of non-dilutive capital based on our unique combination of an extraordinary team and a powerful platform that almost guarantees the successful development and commercialization of targeted nanoparticles, which is widely understood to represent a revolutionary new class of therapeutics.” (I’m thinking it must be a tremendous amount, given that BIND’s Series A was only $2.5 million. In 2005, the average biotech Series A round was $21.3 million; the average Series B was $23.9 million.) “That said,” Batchelder added, “we raised this equity financing to ensure the expeditious advancement of our lead product into the clinic by 2009.”

Batchelder today demurred from saying anything about that lead product, but back at MassOpps he described it as a particle for ferrying chemotherapy agents to cancer cells.