Polaris Venture Partners
A little more than a year ago, GlaxoSmithKline disbanded George Vlasuk's team at Sirtris and absorbed the R&D work in its Pennsylvania operations. But that didn't end the relationship. Today Vlasuk is back at the helm of a new biotech dubbed Navitor Pharmaceuticals, which was seeded initially by Polaris and is now coming out of stealth mode with a $23.5 million Series A and the backing of a syndicate that includes SR One, GlaxoSmithKline's venture arm.
Johnson & Johnson's global hunt for new technologies has led it to a fledgling biotech working on a new approach to triggering an immune system attack, as well as stopping one.
Three of the industry's leading discovery-stage venture groups have come up with a $43 million commitment to back a crew of marquee thinkers in the genomics field to launch Editas Medicine, a biotech exploratory vehicle that will set out to pioneer a new field of drug development.
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has stepped up with another equity investment in a biotech company, this time making a major contribution to a $13 million Series A add for a startup aiming at a universal preventive as well as therapeutic approach to influenza. Omega Funds also joined the venture top-up, bringing the first venture round for Cambridge, MA-based Visterra to $26 million.
Biotech has gone Hollywood at Living Proof. Jennifer Aniston has signed on as co-owner and the celebrity face of the company, which has previously rallied such biotech aficionados as MIT's Bob Langer and Harvard's Rox Anderson in an effort to make hair products with scientific inventions.
Robert Connelly has stepped aside from his job at the helm of Lexington, MA-based Pulmatrix, trading in his role leading the development of new respiratory drugs in favor of a new trans-Atlantic upstart which plans to create a wide range of "delicious" packages for food designed to replace today's trash with a tasty snack.
Polaris Venture Partners and the National Venture Capital Association hosted a panel discussion in Boston Monday night on how to address a chilly biotechnology investment environment, as part of the 2012 BIO International Convention in Boston. But what I also wanted to hear was if VC investment for medical device and diagnostics companies had begun to thaw.
Drug giant Johnson & Johnson and the Boston area's Polaris Venture Partners have been working together for months in search of early-stage biotech deals. The collaboration was announced in January, and it could be just a matter of time before the partners team up on an exciting deal.
Seventh Sense Biosystems scored a $10 million round of Series A financing designed to help launch a pivotal clinical trial for its point of care blood collection device.
Fast-growing Adimab has added close to $14 million in venture cash to the bank as it hires on new staffers and preps for a move into a 21,500-square-foot lab in Lebanon, NH.