Pre-JP Morgan VC dealapalooza: Alector, NextCure and Cortexyme raise more than $100M

Alector CEO Arnon Rosenthal

The start of every new year comes with a traditional blast of biopharma deal news in the week ahead of the annual JP Morgan confab. And this year, the news flow is just a little too frenzied for it to be contained in your average FierceBiotech report. Today's count includes stories on J&J's ($JNJ) global deal roster and a big round/Roche ($RHHBY) deal for protein degradation startup C4. So, rather than try and keep up with a story on each new twist and turn, I thought I'd summarize some of the snapshots I've been taking of the dealapalooza going on right now.

• Less than four months after its $32 million Series D, San Francisco-based Alector lured Amgen ($AMGN) and AbbVie ($ABBV) into a $29.5 million D round led by the Dementia Discovery Fund. A 2015 Fierce 15 company, Alector has been hunting antibodies that can provoke an immune response to neurodegenerative diseases, with a big focus on Alzheimer's. Alector co-founder and chairman Tillman Gerngross (CEO of Adimab) has been lending his expertise in antibodies to the venture. Merck Research Lab Ventures, OrbiMed, Polaris Partners, GV (formerly Google Ventures), Topspin Partners and Mission Bay Capital all participated in the latest flash round. Release

Yale's Lieping Chen

• Following AstraZeneca's ($AZN) $500 million deal to buy Amplimmune in 2013, a group of former execs under Michael Richman have created a new biotech--NextCure--that will focus on immuno-oncology with a $67 million A round from a group of marquee investors. This one is a Yale spinout, with licenses on new tech from the lab of Lieping Chen, who's done pioneering work on the PD-1/PD-L1 checkpoint pathway. Canaan Partners, Lilly Asia Ventures, OrbiMed Advisors, Pfizer and Sofinnova Ventures were joined by Alexandria Venture Investments in the round. Release

• Pfizer ($PFE) has stepped in to lead a $15 million round for South San Francisco-based Cortexyme, which is working on new therapies for Alzheimer's and neurodegenerative diseases. Takeda and some new private investors also stepped in, with Dolby Family Ventures coming back to add to earlier investments. "Cortexyme's approach has the potential to be a game changer in the Alzheimer's field," noted Takeda's Ilan Zipkin. Release

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