With $1B already in for Dren Bio, Pfizer adds to pile in $65M financing

Dren Bio—a biotech developing therapeutic antibodies for patients with cancer and autoimmune diseases—has closed a $65 million series B financing round, with new investor and Big Pharma partner Pfizer jumping on board.  

The second financing round, which brings Dren’s total capital to over $156 million, was led by New York City investment firm Aisling Capital and Switzerland-based HBM Healthcare Investments. Pfizer joined the round as a new investor along with asset management firm ArrowMark Partners and healthcare investor Revelation Partners. Participating existing investors include SR One, 8VC, Taiho Ventures, BVF Partners, Mission BioCapital and Alexandria Venture Investments, among others.

Though Pfizer is a new investor, the Big Pharma partnered with Dren at the beginning of this year to develop therapeutic bispecific antibodies for certain oncology targets. Dren received $25 million upfront as part of the deal, which is valued at more than $1 billion in potential cash payments plus potential product sales royalties.

The New York pharma is actively investing in biotechs and emerging science it deems promising, with other recent contributions fueling ImCheck Therapeutics and ImmunOs Therapeutics, among others.

Dren Bio will funnel the $65 million to advance a broad internal pipeline including lead asset DR-01, an antibody candidate aiming to eliminate a subset of immune cells that underlie the cause of certain hematologic malignancies and autoimmune disorders.

“This financing comes at the perfect time as we prepare to initiate the first clinical trial evaluating DR-01, our lead asset, in patients with large granular lymphocytic leukemia or cytotoxic lymphomas in mid-2022,” Nenad Tomasevic, Ph.D., CEO of Dren Bio, said in a news release.

Further proceeds from the round will be used to expand development of Dren's internal pipeline, which includes assets developed using its proprietary targeted myeloid engager and phagocytosis platform, Tomasevic added.

In tandem with the series B funding, Andrew Schiff, M.D., of Aisling Capital, and Chandra Leo, M.D., of HBM Partners, will join Dren Bio’s board of directors.