This morning a group of marquee venture backers put up $102 million to bankroll a startup--Gritstone Oncology--that plans to develop personalized cancer vaccines that can specifically spur an immune system assault on antigens that are created by tumors.
Over the years the partners at Third Rock have whipped up a wave of biotech startups focused on new cancer drugs, gene therapies, heart disease, gene editing and much, much more. Now they're tackling new therapeutics for hearing loss, convinced that this is a prime time to create a new company from the ground up in a field that's been long neglected by drug developers.
Life sciences investor Hatteras Venture Partners has seen some sweeping changes in its native North Carolina over the past year, as anchor tenant GlaxoSmithKline is shedding more than 1,000 local jobs and disrupting the local biotech ecosystem. But all that displaced talent has created a wealth of potential for new startups, Hatteras said, and the firm has put together $90 million for a new fund designed to back the next generation of promising companies.
Digital health startups attracted $4 billion in venture capital in the U.S. last year, compared with about $110 million in Europe.
The mystery of Ron Evans' new biotech startup has been solved. Armed with $36 million in cash from A-list venture investors and backed by a pro team recruited from Rich Heyman's Aragon/Seragon starring cancer drug startups, the prominent Salk investigator and his old buddy Heyman are coming out of stealth mode today with a new company called Metacrine.
Illumina graduated the first three companies from its genomics incubator, Illumina Accelerator, months after the sequencing giant roped in new funds to back startups selected for the program.
Padlock Therapeutics, an Atlas Venture-seeded biotech startup, grabbed the rights to some potential drugs developed by GlaxoSmithKline, widening its arsenal of assets as it chases a novel approach to autoimmune disease.
A struggling GlaxoSmithKline has set up an economy-sized research spinout with the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill that's short on cash and long--very, very long--on its promise to hunt for a cure for HIV.
The cascade of venture cash into CRISPR-Cas9 startups is continuing with no end in sight, despite a patent brawl brewing over who owns the technology. Today it's CRISPR Therapeutics' turn at the venture well, drawing $64 million in new VC cash that will fund a company that's based in Basel with deep and growing roots in Cambridge, MA. The new funding brings its total haul to $89 million, with GlaxoSmithKline's SR One and Celgene leading the way.
Atlas Venture is unveiling a new $280 million fund today that will double down on its bet on cutting-edge drugs. Atlas relied on two close industry giants--Amgen and Novartis--and a mix of old and new investors to help raise a fund that easily broke through its $250 million cap.