Chris Liang had already forged a compelling profile in drug development when the newly formed Scripps Florida recruited him as head of chemistry back in 2004. Liang, who emigrated from China in 1984 to attend grad school at Princeton, had worked on Sutent early on in his career. He went on to found the first Scripps Florida spinout--Xcovery--with Genzyme founder Sheridan Snyder. And today, Liang put out the word that Xcovery has inked its first big deal for the little biotech with a virtual staff.
Advent Life Sciences is joining the parade of new biotech funds debuting this year. Based in London with an investment strategy that reaches into Europe and the U.S., Advent's second dedicated life sciences fund has come up with $235 million to invest in about 15 early- to midstage companies in the next few years.
Watertown, MA's Syros Pharmaceuticals has banked a massive $53 million Series B to support its innovative approach to treating cancer, targeting the genetic switches responsible for tumor growth.
While there is a well-established path from seed funding to exit for web startups, genomics plays with big ambitions require investors with deep pockets and an appetite for risk. Bryan Johnson seemingly has both and has set up a $100 million fund with the objective of turning "crazy" ideas into "viable" businesses.
Finland's Forendo Pharma has pulled in €12 million ($15.2 million) to advance its treatment for a painful uterine condition, drawing the support of a few major drugmakers.
The busy partners at Atlas Venture have gathered together a $17 million Series A for their latest biotech creation: Quartet Medicine, which pairs together two scientific founders who have been exploring the frontiers of pain management. This is Atlas' fourth maiden round for one of their biotech launches in a little more than a week, with Cambridge, MA-based Quartet joining Unum, Raze and Bicycle in a rare streak of startups. And there are likely some more to come.
As the promise of harnessing the immune system to fight cancer grabs headlines around the industry, venture stalwarts Fidelity Biosciences and Atlas Venture have teamed up to launch Unum Therapeutics, a Cambridge, MA, startup with a hybrid approach to the field.
Biotech startup machine PureTech has raised a $55 million round to fund the next stage of its evolution, recruiting some big thinkers to help it advance its stable of ventures and develop new technologies.
Last quarter biotech attracted a whopping $1.8 billion in new venture cash, the biggest quarter since 2005.
Today Menlo Park, CA-based Canaan is rolling out a new fund, its 10th, with $675 million to invest in new companies--about a third of which will be devoted to biotech and healthcare.