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Life Science Gets its Capital Booster Jab

Wesley Johnson
16 December 2021
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Phacilitate’s Wesley Johnson explores more top deals from the past month or so in the latest instalment of his investment blog series.  

The life science industry continues its red hot form into November with a plethora of M&A transactions and funding rounds being wrapped up and placed under the proverbial Christmas tree.  

One deal in particular that stood out from the crowd in November was Blackstone stamping their authority in the UK with one of the largest private financings of a UK biotech company, and the largest from a single source. 

Blackstone’s capital injection in Autolus seems to be following a trend of an increasing amount of ‘take-private” transactions being launched across the sector, especially in the United Kingdom.  

According to a recent article by Lexology, since the start of 2021, market experts have seen nearly £35bn of bids launched in the United Kingdom alone. Research suggests that this trend to take private is arguably because public markets are not pricing assets correctly…   

However, returning to the round-up, below I have highlighted a few of the industry’s top transactions concluded for the month of November.     

Europe 

  • Blackstone Life Sciences invested up to $250 million in Autolus TherapeuticsAutolus Therapeutics plc, a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company, and Blackstone Life Sciences, have completed strategic collaboration and financing agreement under which funds managed by Blackstone will provide up to $250 million in equity and product financing. The funds will support Autolus with the advancement of its CD19 CAR-T cell investigational therapy product candidate, obecabtagene autoleucel, as well as next generation product therapies of obe-cel in B-cell malignancies. | Read more >> 
  • Freeline Therapeutics to raise up to $75 million in Public Offering of American Depositary SharesFreeline Therapeutics, a clinical-stage biotechnology company developing transformative gene therapies for patients suffering from inherited systemic debilitating diseases, has entered into and open market sale agreement to offer and sell American Depositary Shares, each ADS representing one ordinary share in a public offering, for gross proceeds of up to $75 million. The company attends to use the proceeds from the offering to fund activities relating to the continued development of product candidates and gene therapy platform and for other general corporate purposes, including but not limited to, working capital, capital expenditures, investments, acquisitions. 

Source: Global Data on 16 December 2021  

  • Neuroplast secures $11.5 million in Series B funding. Dutch stem cell biotech Neuroplast, a developer of autologous stem cell therapies has raised a total of $11.5 million in funding from investors Lumana Invest, Brightlands Venture Partners, LIOF, and from the Innovation Credit from the Netherlands Enterprise Agency, to further advanced the clinical development of a transformative treatment for traumatic spinal cord injury, and to obtain conditional EMA market approval for its Neuro-Cells® stem cell therapy. | Read more >> 
  • Oncternal Therapeutics enters into a co-development agreement with Karolinska Institute. Oncternal Therapeutics, a clinical–stage biopharmaceutical company focused on the development of novel oncology therapies, has entered into agreement with Karolinksa Institutet’s NextGenNK Competence Center for the development of next generation NK cell-based cancer immunotherapies as a collaborative partner. | Read more >> 
  • EverImmune has raised $5.7 million in a Series A funding. EverImmune, a biotechnology company specialising in the development of live biotherapeutic products in the field of microbiota oncology has raised $5.7 million in a Series A funding from undisclosed private investors. The funds raised in the Series A round will support the clinical development of Oncobax AK, the company’s Live Biotherapeutic Product, which is used as an oral adjuvant to anticancer immunotherapies. | Read more >> 
  • Chroma Medicine acquires Epsilen BioChroma, a new genomic medicine company pioneering epigenetic editing, has acquired Esilen Bio Srl, a biotechnology company developing transformative therapies for patients affected by underserved medical conditions, to develop the develop the technology pioneered at Epsilen and the San Raffaele Telethon Institute.  

Source: Global Data on 16 December 2021  

  • Achilles Therapeutics enters into licensing agreement with Secarna Pharma. Achilles Therapeutics UK Ltd, a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company developing precision T cell therapies targeting clonal neoantigens, has entered into a research, option and license agreement with Secarna Pharmaceuticals GmbH & Co. KG, a biopharmaceutical company focusing on the discovery and development of next-generation antisense oligonucleotide(ASO) therapies to address challenging or previously undruggable targets. | Read more >>
  • Organon to acquire Forendo Pharma for $945 million. In an effort to expand its pipeline of candidates targeting novel treatments in women’s health, Organon has signed a definitive agreement to acquire Forendo Pharma for approximately $954 million. | Read more >>  

North America 

  • Arbor Biotechnologies raises $215 million in Series B financingArbor Biotechnologies, a biotechnology company discovering and developing the next generation of genetic medicines has raised $215 million in Series B financing. Including this round, the company has raised over $400 million to date. Arbor plans to use the proceeds to advance its lead programs in liver and CNS diseases into the clinic and progress a pipeline of precision editing therapeutics, while also continuing to invest in its novel discovery engine to develop the next generation of gene editing technology. | Read more >>
  • Chroma Medicine raises $125 million in Series A financing. Chroma Medicine, a new genomic medicine company pioneering epigenetic editing has raised $125 million in financing to support continued development of the company’s epigenetic editing platform and advancement of its pipeline of targeted therapeutics. Atlas Venture and Newpath Partners seeded the company with participation from Sofinnova Partners.

Source: Global Data on 16 December 2021

  • Merck acquires Acceleron Pharma for $11.5bn. Merck has completed its acquisition of Acceleron Pharma for $11.5bn in a move to augment its cardiovascular portfolio through lead candidate sotatercept, a potentially first in class therapy for pulmonary arterial hypertension in phase 3 trials, as well as with marketed anaemia drug Reblozyl(luspatercept-aamt). | Read more >>
  • MANA Therapeutics raises $7.5 million in final closing of Series A financing. MANA Therapeutics, a clinical-stage company creating non-engineered, off the shelf allogeneic cell therapies that target multiple cancer antigens has completed the final closing of its Series A financing, bringing the total raised to $42 million. The additional funding will allow MANA to accelerate the start of clinical studies for its approach to off-the-shelf allogeneic cell therapy for patients with transplant-ineligible AML and select solid tumours. | Read more >>
  • Treadwell Therapeutics raises $91 million in Series B financing. Treadwell, a clinical-stage biotechnology company developing novel, cross-modality medicines for unmet needs in cancer, has raised $91 million in oversubscribed series B financing. The proceeds from the financing will allow Treadwell to continue the clinical and pre-clinical development of its broad, multi-modality pipeline. | Read more >>
  • Antios Therapeutics raises $75 million in a Series B-1 funding. Antios Therapeutics, a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company developing innovative therapies to treat and cure chronic hepatitis B virus(HBV), has raised $75 million series B-1 financing. The proceeds from this financing will be used to advance the clinical development of ATI-2173, Antios lead Phase 2b clinical candidate. | Read more >>
  • Krystal Biotech prices in public offering shares for $250 million. Krystal Biotech, a gene therapy company leveraging its novel, redosable gene therapy platform and in-house manufacturing capabilities to develop therapies to treat serious rare diseases, has priced the underwritten public offering of 2,666,667 shares of its common stock, at a price of $75 per share, to raise gross process of $200 million. | Read more >>
  • Turnstone Biologics enters into Research Collaboration with Moffitt Cancer Center. Turnstone Biologics Corp, a clinical-stage biotechnology company pioneering the development of cancer immunotherapies, has entered into a multi-year research collaboration with Moffitt Cancer Center, for pre-clinical development of investigational tumour-infiltrating lymphocyte therapies. | Read more >>
  • Atara Biotherapeutics to raise up to $100 million in Public offering shares. Atara Biotherapeutics, an allogeneic T-Cell Immunotherapy company pioneering the development of transformative therapies for patients with serious diseases including tumors, hematologic cancers and autoimmune diseases, has entered into a sales agreement to offer and sell shares of its common stock in public offering, for gross proceeds of up to $100 million.

Source: Global Data on 16 December 2021 

  • Arbor Biotechnologies raises $215 million in Series B financing. Arbor, a biotechnology company discovering and developing the next generation of genetic medicines has completed an oversubscribed and up-sized $215 million Series B financing. This round was led by Temasek, Ally Bridge Group, and TCG Crossover. Arbor plans to use the proceeds to advance its lead programs in liver and CNS disease into the clinic and progress a pipeline of precision editing therapeutics, whilst also continuing to invest in its novel discovery engine to develop the next generation of gene editing. | Read more >>
  • SQZ Biotechnologies to raise up to $75 million in public offering of shares. SDZ Biotechnologies company, a clinical stage cell therapy company developing treatments for multiple therapeutic areas, has announced underwritten public offering of shares, to raise proceeds of up to $75 million. The company intends to use the proceeds to advance the clinical development of product candidates and for working capital and general corporate purposes.

Source: Global Data on 16 December 2021 

  • INOVIO Pharma to raise up to $300 million in public offering of shares. Inovio, a biotechnology company focused on bringing to market precisely designed DNA medicines to treat and protect people from infectious diseases associated with HPV, has announced underwritten public offering of shares, to raise gross proceeds of up to $300 million. The company intends to use the proceeds for general corporate purposes, including clinical trial expenses, research and development expenses, working capital, general and administrative expenses, manufacturing expense and potential acquisitions of companies and technologies.

Source: Global Data on 16 December 2021 

  • Chinook Therapeutics completes full exercise of underwriters over–allotment option in public offering of shares for $183.5 million. Chinook, a clinical-stage biotechnology company developing precision medicines for kidney diseases, has completed the upsized underwritten public offering of 9,538,572 shares of its common stock at a price to public of $14 per share, which includes the exercise in full of the underwriter’s option to purchase an additional 1,710,000 shares of its common stock. Chinook intends to use the proceeds from this offering to advance the phase 3 ALIGN trial of atrasentan in patients with IgA nephropathy and the phase 2 AFFINITY basket trial of atrasentan in patients with proteinuric glomerular diseases, initiate later-stage-clinical development of BION-1301 for IgAN, mover forward the development of CHK-336 for hperoxalurias and continue progress on research and discovery programs. | Read more >> 
  • ANI Pharma raises $75 million in public offering of shares. ANI Pharmaceuticals, a pharmaceutical company, has completed the underwritten public offering of 1,500,000 of its common stock of price of $50 per share, for proceeds of $75 million, before deducting the underwriting discounts and commissions and other offering expenses. ANI intends to use the net proceeds from the offering to fund its Cortrophin commercialisation efforts, including but not limited to, sales and marketing and consulting expenses related thereto, and for general corporate purposes. Furthermore, ANI may also use a portion of the proceeds to in-license, acquire or invest in additional businesses, technologies, products or assets. | Read more >> 

Asia-Pacific

  • Imugene and Eureka Therapeutics into collaboration. Imugene, a clinical stage immune-oncology company, and Euraka Therapeutics, a clinical-stage biotechnology company developing novel T-cell therapies a treat solid tumors, announced a collaboration to evaluate Imugene’s CD19 oncolytic virus on CARlytics technology in combination with Eureka’s anti-CD19 ARTEMIS T- cell therapy for the treatment of solid tumors. | Read more >>

Conclusion

With increasing competition across the life science industry being fuelled by new entrants and investors looking for the next big growth opportunity, transactions continue to flourish.

In a recent article by McKinsey, they noted that large pharmaceutical companies still very much rely on biotechs as a source of innovation. With the top dozen pharma companies having more than $170 billion in excess reserves that could be available for spending on M&A, the prospect for further financing and deal-making look very promising going forward.

About ATIN

Success is not just what you know, but who you know. The Advanced Therapies Investment Network (ATIN), helps advance the next pillar of medicine by connecting investors with the industry’s most valued business opportunities through facilitating curated one-to-one meetings, senior roundtable meetings, and high-quality content. For more information about how to join this specialist group, please contact me directly via: wesley.johnson@phacilitate.com 

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