Gates, Google-backed Arsanis ties off $45.5M Series D for mAb infection trials

Arsanis' new cash infusion will in part go toward its lead program for the prevention of Staphylococcus aureus pneumonia in high-risk patients.

Infectious disease specialist Arsanis has raised a solid chunk of cash, $45.5 million, in its latest funding round as it picks up the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Alphabet's Google Ventures (GV) as backers.

Arsanis designs and develops monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) with the aim of stopping serious infections.

While mAbs may be more well known to oncologists, research has opened new possibilities of expanding the use of mAbs to hit acute bacterial and viral infections, all without contributing to the growing issue of antibiotic resistance or damaging the patient’s microbiome.

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The funds from the financing will be used to complete the ongoing phase 2 study for Arsanis’ lead program, ASN100, for the prevention of Staphylococcus aureus pneumonia in high-risk, mechanically ventilated patients.

The company says it also plans to advance its preclinical programs for multi-drug-resistant infections, as well as its respiratory syncytial virus program (RSV) that is also supported by the Gates Foundation, toward the clinic.

The Series D was led by the Gates Foundation, with several additional new investors also getting involved, including GV and Alexandria Venture Investments.

The company’s existing investors, including OrbiMed, Polaris Venture Partners, SV Health Investors, NeoMed, EMBL Ventures and the Anna Maria and Stephen Kellen Foundation, also got their wallets out.

“The caliber of investors attracted to Arsanis underscores the importance of the work we are doing to develop targeted monoclonal antibody therapies to prevent and treat serious infectious diseases and mitigate the growing global health threat of antimicrobial resistance,” said Rene Russo, Pharm.D., BCPS, chief at Arsanis.

“This financing allows us to focus our efforts on completing the ongoing phase 2 study for ASN100 […] We also plan to continue to advance our preclinical gram-negative programs, as well as our respiratory syncytial virus program, toward the clinic.”

This funding will also see Arsanis conduct research in neonatal S. aureus sepsis, an infection that affects newborns in developing countries, with the potential for future funding to advance a neonatal sepsis candidate.

The Gates Foundation could also further boost funding to Arsanis for up to two additional discovery programs.