As Visterra readies an influenza antibody for Phase I trials, the Gates-foundation-backed biotech announced today it's hired veterans of Mascoma and Concert Pharmaceuticals and licensed an antibody to treat the dengue virus out of the MIT lab of its co-founder, Dr. Ram Sasisekharan.
While the venture capital market remains sluggish, biotechs are signing ever-richer licensing deals with Big Pharma backers, and the average value of upfront payments jumped 37% across the industry last quarter, according to a report, paced by some lucrative deals in the earliest stages of development.
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 U.K.'s Pulmocide has pulled down a $27.5 million Series A from a big-name cast of investors, setting out to discover and develop some inhaled drugs for viral and fungal respiratory infections.
California's fledgling Allergen Research Corp. has hauled in $17 million to get its oral peanut allergy immunotherapy through mid-stage trials, setting out ambitious goals to apply its platform to some of the world's most vexing food allergies.
After two years of building up its knowledge of the human microbiome, tiny Seres Health has emerged from stealth mode today with $10.5 million in venture cash from Flagship Ventures and a business plan to develop new therapies dubbed "Ecobiotics."
Argos Therapeutics is working to get out from under the shadow of Dendreon and its disappointing Provenge, and now the North Carolina company has the cash it needs to get its kidney cancer candidate through Phase III and prove the promise of its dendritic cell platform.
Moderna Therapeutics is having quite a year, and the Cambridge, MA, biotech just put a $110 million capstone on 2013, raising a colossal new round and riding high on technology that promises to transform the human body into a drug factory.
The Strüngmann brothers' expensive taste for biotech companies has helped generate another big venture round for Ganymed Pharmaceuticals, a German biotech with claims to some cutting-edge cancer drug technology.
Pfizer's venture arm has chipped in to a $32 million venture round for Mission Therapeutics, a Cambridge, U.K.-based biotech developing deubiquitylating enzyme inhibitors. Existing investors Sofinnova Partners, Imperial Innovations, S.R. One (GlaxoSmithKline) and Roche Venture Fund also contributed to the round.