Bio Roundup: CRISPR Babies, Blood Diseases, Big Cancer Nod & More

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that founding investor Flagship Pioneering owns 18.1 percent of Moderna, and CEO Stephane Bancel holds 9.4 percent. Partner AstraZeneca is next with a 7.9 percent stake.

—Roivant Sciences launched another “vant” subsidiary, Aruvant Sciences, to develop gene therapies for blood diseases. The lead experimental product, which comes from Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, is for sickle cell disease and beta-thalassemia; early Phase 1/2 data will be discussed at ASH on Monday.

—Atlanta-based Antios Pharmaceuticals raised a $25 million Series A round to develop a drug for hepatitis B and potentially hepatitis D. Antios was formed by former leaders of Pharmasset and Idenix, which were both bought out for their hepatitis C drugs.

—Seven months after its lead drug flopped in clinical testing, Edge Therapeutics (NASDAQ: EDGE) agreed to merge with privately-held cancer drug maker PDS Biotechnology. PDS shareholders will get 70 percent of the combined company, and Edge backers 30 percent.

—-Arsanis (NASDAQ: ASNS), also reeling from a trial failure, will merge with X4 Pharmaceuticals of Cambridge, MA. X4 is developing drugs for cancer and rare diseases and is run by Genzyme vet Paula Ragan.

—San Diego-based ViaCyte raised $80 million in Series D financing to continue clinical tests of its stem cell-based diabetes therapy.

Roche is acquiring Jecure Therapeutics in hopes that the startup’s preclinical research leads to new drugs that treat the fatty liver disease known as NASH.

—Redwood City, CA-based Auris Health raised $220 million to support commercialization of its robot, which helps surgeons diagnose and treat lung conditions.

—Rheostat Therapeutics, which is developing neurodegenerative disease therapies based on the cellular process for breaking down and recycling waste, raised a $23 million Series A round to advance toward clinical trials.

—Last week, PellePharm of San Francisco landed $70 million upfront from Denmark’s LEO Pharma to support late-stage clinical testing of a drug for a rare skin cancer.

Ben Fidler and Frank Vinluan contributed to this report.

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