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.
In the top April alliance by deal value, Jazz Pharmaceuticals acquired exclusive global development and commercialization rights to Werewolf Therapeutics' WTX-613. Preclinical WTX-613 is an engineered IFN⍺2b cytokine pro-drug that is activated specifically within the tumor microenvironment where it can stimulate IFNα receptors on cancer-fighting immune effector cells. Jazz expects to submit an IND application to the FDA for WTX-613 in 2023. Jazz paid $15M up front and Werewolf is eligible to receive development, regulatory and commercial milestone payments of up to $1.26bn, plus royalties.
During Q1, biopharma merger and acquisition value reached $9.9bn and drew in $51.2bn in potential deal value from alliances. Device company M&A values reached $4.6bn, while in vitro diagnostic firms and research tools players completed M&A activity that totaled $52.5m.