Biotech startup Avitide attracts venture funding from familiar VC crowd

Tillman Gerngross--Courtesy of Dartmouth

Repeat biotech founder Tillman Gerngross has started a new company. Avitide, which Gerngross co-founded with his colleagues at the high-profile startup Adimab, has taken off with an undisclosed amount of Series A financing from the same venture funders that have backed his previous companies. 

Lebanon, NH-based Avitide has emerged with affinity purification technology for improving the expensive and risky process of manufacturing protein drugs such as monoclonal antibodies and recombinant vaccines. The technology appears to complement those of other companies Gerngross has started to better aspects of advancing protein therapies, including his antibody-discovery outfit Adimab, a 2010 Fierce 15 company, and an earlier glycoengineering startup called Glycofi, which the pharma giant Merck ($MRK) acquired in 2006 for $400 million.

No doubt hoping for another winner, Gerngross's previous VC supporters have invested in Avitide. Borealis Ventures, which has invested in Glycofi and Adimab, led the first-round financing. Other backers include SV Life Sciences, Polaris Venture Partners, OrbiMed Advisors and Angeli Parvi. Phil Ferneau of Borealis and Michael Ross of SV have joined the board of directors at the new venture.  

"The Avitide team has pioneered an elegant and cost effective solution to a problem that bioprocess engineers have wrestled with for some time: 'How does one selectively purify therapeutic proteins at scale without having to go through multiple chromatography steps and without requiring an affinity resin based on recombinant proteins?'" Gerngross said in a statement. "The Avitide technology enables rapid development of highly selective chromatography resins via chemical synthesis which are not based on costly recombinant proteins. This will have a large impact on commercial bioprocessing."

Avitide Co-founder Kevin Isett, Adimab's head of high-throughput manufacturing, has taken the helm of the new venture as CEO. Gerngross wasn't available for an interview this morning. But he's already shown with Adimab that he can draw significant partnerships from Big Pharma with new technology for protein therapeutics.

- here's the release

Special Report: Adimab - 2010 Fierce 15

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