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Derived from Strategic Transactions, Informa’s premium source for tracking life sciences deal activity, the Venture Funding Deals column provides a monthly review of emerging In Vitro Diagnostic, Medical Device, and Pharmaceutical companies that have received venture funding. This month’s column covers deals announced February through March 2016.
With funds and firms closing, a new reality awaits those who survive until the next economic upswing. Some of the elements are already in place, such as VCs' willingness to take capped returns and exits via risk-sharing contingency-based acquisitions. The emphasis on capital efficiency may change the types of companies VCs can afford to back, and corporate funds are now a vital part of biotech venture, especially in the early stages.
From a scientific standpoint, there is little if any need for a new therapeutic antibody manufacturing platform: multiple existing ones generally work well, for those who have licensed rights. But Open Monoclonal Technology Inc. believes its rat-based system has a compelling business advantage: companies coming late to the field can access OMT's technology at relatively low cost, and use it for any targets they wish. OMT itself aims to leverage ownership of the platform to develop antibody "cocktails" or mixtures.
By now everyone knows that antibodies can make excellent drugs. What is far less certain, albeit widely hoped, is if antibody fragments will also succeed in the clinic. The first wave of candidates is only now entering early clinical trials. Crescendo Biologics Ltd. is one of many firms betting that smaller will prove better: it aims to tailor single-domain fragments and optimize them with a ribosome-display platform.
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