RNA biotech ADARx hauls in $200M, almost doubling 2 previous raises combined

Who says crossover rounds are dying? ADARx has raked in a $200 million series C, almost twice as much as the previous two joint series B rounds combined. The question now is, how quickly can the biotech's RNA pipeline be expanded? 

The new financing shared Wednesday will help ADARx advance two lead assets—ADX-324 and ADX-038—into the clinic, though more precise timing wasn’t disclosed. Since September 2021, the biotech had raised $121 from a series B and series B-1 round. The latter was announced in January, adding $46 million to ADARx’s bank.

So far so good for the San Diego biotech which said at the time of its unveiling that the first $75 million from the series B would help launch into a first phase 1 trial for lead program ADX-324. That study was launched in January, testing the safety and tolerability of the med in both healthy patients and those with hereditary angioedema. The study’s sole trial site is in Australia with an enrollment goal of 50 patients. 

The new proceeds will be used to advance the ongoing trial and push ADX-038 into its first human study, which is in development for multiple complement-mediated diseases, the company says. ADARx added that the money will advance a growing pipeline of mRNA-based therapies, which currently includes at least nine active programs, though a full list has yet to be publicized. 

ADARx is trying to take space in a crowded room of RNA contenders, which has only grown in recent years thanks to the success of companies like Moderna and Alnylam. The selling point for the newly-financed company is its multi-faceted siRNA platform that includes both RNA editing and degradation or inhibition capabilities, which can produce therapies that either fix gene mutations or regulate expression. 

“With this financing, we are well-positioned to achieve our clinical milestones for multiple clinical programs and to build a leading company in RNA therapeutics,” CEO Zhen Li said in a release. 

The potential has evidently caught the eye of a fresh new batch of investors, particularly institutional bigwigs like Blackrock, T. Rowe Price Associates and Venrock. Previous investors Ascenta Capital, Lilly Asia Ventures, OrbiMed and SR One Capital Management also contributed to the round.