Venture Funding Deals: Stem Cell Venture BlueRock Launches With Major Funding
With backing from Bayer and others, the US-based venture will develop iPSC therapies for cardiovascular and neurodegenerative diseases; other notable new financings involve Cerevance, Goldfinch Bio, NeuroPharma and Tenaya. Derived from Strategic Transactions, Informa’s premium source for tracking life sciences deal activity, the Venture Funding Deals column provides a comprehensive monthly review of emerging biopharmaceutical companies that have received venture funding. This month’s column covers deals announced November through December 2016.
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Private investors, including Japanese e-commerce mogul Hiroshi Mikitani, backed a $150m Series C round for Rakuten Aspyrian and its photoimmunotherapy platform. Also, pharma-backed therapeutic video game developer Akili boosts Series C to $68m, and Summit garners additional BARDA funding.
The height of the summer saw eight $1bn plus deals penned, including those by Pfizer and Roche.
Three $1B+ alliances were penned in July. Topping the list was a potential $2M deal between Skyhawk Therapeutics and Sanofi for the development of novel small molecules that modulate RNA splicing for challenging oncology and immunology targets. Skyhawk will grant Sanofi exclusive worldwide intellectual property rights to candidates discovered and developed under the collaboration. Skyhawk receives $54M up front and is also eligible to receive over $2B in potential milestone payments, as well as potential royalties on future sales. In the top July M&A by deal value, SD Biosensor and a consortium formed with private equity firm SJL Partners agreed to acquire US-based in vitro diagnostics company Meridian Bioscience in an all-cash transaction valued at approximately $1.53B. Founded in 1976, Meridian is a fully integrated life science company that manufactures, markets, and distributes a broad range of diagnostic test kits, purified reagents, and biopharmaceutical enabling technologies. The company has gained expertise through numerous acquisitions over the years including point-of-care testing firm Magellan Biosciences, GenePOC (develops POC molecular diagnostics for infectious diseases), and gastrointestinal diagnostics maker Exalenz Bioscience. Financing reached $3.97bn in biopharma, $851m in device, and $318m in diagnostics.