Merck KGaA signaled Thursday that it will make a bigger commitment to investing in emerging biotech companies.
For Amgen and Novartis, investing in the latest fund from Atlas Venture wasn't enough. The Cambridge, MA-based venture firm has struck separate agreements with the two major drugmakers to join forces on biotech startups.
Los Angeles-based biotech startup Kite Pharma has locked in $20 million in a private placement with its new investor Alta Partners and previous backers. By converting $15 million in previous promissory notes to stock, the company has increased the first-round financing to $35 million.
Just a few weeks after bidding farewell to its longtime CEO, Cambridge, MA-based Tokai Pharmaceuticals has rounded up $35.5 million in Series E cash to push into an expanded mid-stage study of its triple-threat treatment for prostate cancer.
Alnylam Pharmaceuticals CEO John Maraganore has joined Third Rock in the advisory role of venture partner, reunited in a way with his former Millennium Pharmaceuticals colleagues who launched the venture firm 6 years ago.
Frazier Healthcare has grabbed commitments of $281.8 million toward a targeted $300 million for the venture firm's seventh fund, according to an SEC filing. The firm seeks to raise half as much as the $600 million it secured for its previous fund launched in 2008, yet the crew at Frazier have done well enough to survive a serious drought fundraising for VC outfits.
With its lead drug poised to begin a Phase IIb study for acute heart failure, Trevena grabbed a $30 million investment from Forest Laboratories, which also picked up an option to snag global rights to the biotech's lead therapy with a deal that includes a $430 million potential payout.
A little more than a year ago, the startup crew at Lumena Pharmaceuticals was based in North Carolina and working on a new drug for diabetics. But things have changed. The company moved to San Diego, refocused its lead program on a rare liver disease and today announced that it had rounded up $23 million in Series A cash from a trio of venture groups.
The company, which includes Genentech legend Art Levinson on its board, has been engaged in basic scientific research for the past 5 years, with a special focus on cardio/metabolic work.
Astellas and a pair of venture companies have joined forces to launch a spinout virtual biotech which will pick up mid-stage research work on an experimental therapy for nocturia.