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East Coast Biotech Roundup: Pre-J.P. Morgan Preening Edition

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cancer immunotherapies by targeting cells that play various roles in the tumor microenvironment, hopefully to help the immune system better recognize tumors. You can read more about the startup in this post from Atlas partner Bruce Booth.

—We rounded up some of the other local funding announcements, such as the $65 million corralled by Cambridge microbiome drug developer Seres Health, in this post.

—Lexington, MA-based Agenus (NASDAQ: AGEN) is teaming up with Incyte (NASDAQ: INCY) to develop various checkpoint-inhibiting antibodies for cancer. Incyte is paying Agenus $25 million in cash and buying $35 million in stock up front; Agenus could get another $350 million in milestones down the road, plus additional payouts tied to royalties.

—Waltham-based Syndax Pharmaceuticals, which postponed its IPO a few months back, cut a licensing deal this week for its prospective cancer drug, entinostat. Japan-based Kyowa Hakko Kirin paid $25 million up front and potentially $100 million overall for rights to sell the drug in Japan and Korea should it eventually win regulatory approval.

—Boston-based PureTech Ventures added another $50 million in funding to the $57 million it raised a few months ago to back its various operating subsidiaries. I profiled PureTech’s previous raise, and its unorthodox structure, in October.

—Cambridge-based startup Intellia Therapeutics cut a deal with Novartis (NYSE: NVS) this week that marries two of the hottest fields in biotech—gene editing tools known as CRISPR/Cas9, and a cancer immunotherapy technique called chimeric antigen receptor T-cells, or CART.

—Cambridge-based Infinity Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: INFI) found this week that its prospective blood cancer drug, duvelisib, doesn’t have a future as a rheumatoid arthritis treatment. Duvelisib, a PI3 kinase inhibitor, failed a Phase 2 study for the autoimmune disorder. Infinity will turn all of its attention to developing the drug in various blood cancers, the focus of the big deal it cut in September with AbbVie.

—Cambridge-based orphan drug startup accelerator Cydan launched its first company this week, an entity called Vtesse. The new startup was formed with a $25 million round from Cydan’s backers, among them New Enterprise Associates, Pfizer Venture Investments, and Alexandria Venture Investments. Vtesse, which will be based in Gaithersburg, MD, is developing a drug for a rare disorder known as Niemann-Pick Disease Type C.

—Cambridge-based Aveo Oncology (NASDAQ: AVEO) announced its latest restructuring in the wake of 2013’s disastrous advisory panel on cancer drug tivozanib. Michael Bailey was named its new CEO, taking over for Tuan Ha-Ngoc, who will slide in as chairman. The company is also axing two thirds of its 60-person workforce.

—Antibiotics developer Cempra (NASDAQ: CEMP) launched a $120.6 million stock offering to fund further development of its lead drug, a potential treatment for community-acquired bacterial pneumonia called solithromycin. The Chapel Hill, NC, company’s offering followed positive results from a Phase 3 trial.

Frank Vinluan contributed to this report

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