Rescued from Pfizer's sweeping R&D cuts, Levicept's lead drug is a protein with promise in chronic pain, and the biotech has raised $15.7 million in venture and grant funding to follow through on its potential.
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The company develops drug-delivery platforms that offer therapeutic release of pain medicines while making them difficult to abuse. With the new capital, the company plans to advance one of its two lead opioid treatments, Egalet-001, into late-stage clinical development.
In recent years, it has become dramatically easier and quicker to create a virtual drug-development company. Today it is even possible to take virtual to its logical extreme: a zero-person biotech company.
Switzerland's OncoEthix has raised $19 million in venture cash to back its work on an early-stage cancer treatment, one of a new class of oncology drugs that's been inspiring a range of new clinical trials.
With an experimental therapy that could save "millions of lives," biotech startup XO1 Ltd. said it has raised $11 million in a Series A round of financing from Index Ventures.
Index Ventures recently completed an $11 million Series A investment in XO1, an asset-centric company established with the sole objective of developing the monoclonal antibody ichorcumab under license from Cambridge University.
Redwood City, CA-based startup Versartis has nailed a $25 million C round designed to fuel its journey into midstage work on a lead drug for endocrine disorders, leaving it positioned at the threshold of a late-stage program next year. New investor Aisling Capital led the round with assistance from Index Ventures, New Leaf Venture Partners and Advent Venture Partners.
GlaxoSmithKline is headed west. The drug giant revealed at the J.P. Morgan confab in San Francisco that it has put up $50 million of a $250 million life sciences fund that has been put together by San Mateo, CA-based Sanderling Ventures, which a spokesperson says will help fill a geographic gap in their strategy to seed new biotech startups.
Gone are the days when venture capitalists could hatch a biotech and take it public without much regard for the needs of Big Pharma. Public investors seldom buy into new biotech companies, and drugmakers have increasingly become early partners with VC firms and their young ventures. In the process, pharma has gained significant clout in the biotech VC game.