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November 23, 2015

Young Companies in the Money

They Made the Most of the Market before Its Turn South

Young Companies in the Money

More than half of the 26 funding events took place since July for GEN’s 21 private companies listed as raising the most in funding so far in 2015. [© Gajus/Fotolia]

  • More than a month after biopharma stocks began to tank, investors and market-watchers remain divided on whether the Wall Street swoon is just the proverbial bump in the road, or a pothole that will stymie startups for months, if not years, to come.

    An answer is unlikely to emerge from this year’s GEN tally of early-stage drug and diagnostic developers that closed on millions of dollars in private funding during 2015 (as of deadline on November 2).  For what it’s worth, more than half (15) of the 26 funding events by the listed companies took place since July,

    As was the case with GEN Lists published last year and in 2013, this year’s tally does not include companies that secured private funding and later went public, or filed registration statements to do so. We counted at least 12 companies fitting that description this year—Aimmune Therapeutics, aTyr, BeiGene, Chiasma, CytomX Therapeutics, Dimension Therapeutics, Edge Therapeutics, Merus, Nabriva, REGENX BIO, Voyager Therapeutics, and WAVE Life Sciences.

    Also not included are public companies that raised large sums of private funding. Five such companies would otherwise have been included among the top 21—Keryx Biopharmaceuticals, Agenus, Ardelyx, ImmunoGen, and ReNeuron.

    Below is a list of 21 privately held biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies, ranked by the amount of nonpublic financing they raised through November 2. Each company is listed by total raised (with a breakdown of the amount for companies reporting two events this year), the type of financing, the date announced, the purpose of the financing as stated by companies, the financing leader, other firms involved in the financing with their status as new or existing investors noted where available, and footnotes offering details of the events.

  • #21. ADC Therapeutics

    Amount: $80 million

    Type: Private placement of equity

    Date announced: September 2

    Purpose: Advance company’s product portfolio, including ADCT-301 for lymphoma and leukemia now in Phase I and a collaboration to develop up to two antibody-drug conjugates for commercialization with MedImmune.

    Financing leader: None denoted

    Additional financial partners: New investors including undisclosed “leading” European and US-based investors; founding investor Auven Therapeutics, with participation from AstraZeneca.

  • #20. Ovid Therapeutics

    Amount: $80.1 million1

    Type: Series B financing and equity financing

    Date announced: August 11 ($75 million Series B financing); March 18 (Form D filed for $5.1 million equity offering)

    Purpose: Advance product candidates, including OV101 for Angelman Syndrome and Fragile X Syndrome. Phase II testing is expected to commence in both patient groups in 2016. Also, advance several other internal compounds into clinical testing, and further expand pipeline.

    Financing leader (Series B): Fidelity Management and Research Company

    Additional financial partners (Series B): New investors Cowen Private Investments, Sanofi-Genzyme BioVentures, Tekla Capital Management, Sphera Global Healthcare Fund, Jennison Associates (on behalf of certain clients), Redmile Group, and Cormorant Asset Management, as well as additional undisclosed “blue chip” mutual funds and “leading” life sciences investors. Existing Ovid investors, including DoubleLine Equity Healthcare Fund, LLC, also participated.

  • #19. Berkeley Lights

    Amount: $90 million

    Type: Not specified

    Date announced: September 21

    Purpose: Advance development of opto-nanofluidic platforms designed to enable interactive biology at the cellular level and empower scientists and researchers to study and interact with single cells “in ways never before possible.”

    Financing leaders: Sequoia and Walden Riverwood Ventures

    Financial partners: No other investors disclosed

  • #18. Turing Pharmaceuticals

    Amount: $90.3 million2

    Type: Series A financing

    Date announced: August 10

    Purpose: Investment in acquisitions, advancing and accelerating pipeline of novel drug candidates

    Financing leader: Martin Shkreli, founder & CEO

    Additional financial partners: Undisclosed “multiple preeminent institutional equity investors”

  • #17. Oxford Nanopore Technologies4

    Amount: $99 million (£70 million)

    Type: Private placement of ordinary shares.

    Date announced: July 21

    Purpose: Support improvements to the company’s existing range of products and services; further develop and expand its pipeline; expand manufacturing and commercial activities.

    Financing leader: None denoted

    Financial partners: Undisclosed new and existing investors in the UK, US and mainland Europe
     

  • #16. Innovent Biologics

    Amount: $100 million

    Type: Series C financing

    Date announced: January 22

    Purpose: Advance pipeline consisting of eight antibody products, including one approved IND and four additional filed applications, and fund company operations.

    Financing leader: Legend Capital

    Additional financial partners: Temasek and two undisclosed partners

  • #15. Helix

    Amount: “In excess of” $100 million

    Type: Undisclosed “financing commitments”

    Date announced: August 18

    Purpose: Create a neutral tech platform “at the highest quality standard” that will work with partners to accelerate consumer adoption of genomics.

    Financing leaders: Founding investors Illumina, Warburg Pincus, and Sutter Hill Ventures

    Additional financial partners: Mayo Clinic is an initial partner that has made an undisclosed “strategic investment” as part of a collaboration between its Center for Individualized Medicine and the company to develop applications initially focused on consumer education and health-related queries.

  • #14. Gritstone Oncology

    Amount: $102 million

    Type: Series A financing

    Date announced: October 20

    Purpose: Support discovery and development of novel tumor-specific neo-antigen (TSNA) based immunotherapies, with an initial focus on lung cancer.

    Financing leaders: Versant Ventures and The Column Group, with Clarus Ventures

    Additional financial partners: Frazier Healthcare Partners, Redmile Group, Casdin Capital, and Transformational Healthcare Opportunity, a special-purpose vehicle for private investors.

  • #13. CureVac

    Amount: About $110 million (€100 million)

    Type: Private placement

    Date announced: November 3

    Purpose: Further develop clinical pipeline of natural, chemically unmodified messenger RNA (mRNA) therapeutic and prophylactic product candidates; fund research and clinical development to expand company’s mRNA platform technology.

    Financing leader: New investor Baillie Gifford

    Additional financial partners: New investors Chartwave Limited, Coppel family, Elma Investments, and Sigma Group; existing investors dievini Hopp BioTech holding GmbH & Co. KG (Dietmar Hopp), and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

  • #12. 23andMe

    Amount: $115 million

    Type: Series E financing

    Date announced: October 14

    Purpose: Expand operations and maximize the potential of its direct-to-consumer product in the U.S. and abroad. The company said it expects to launch a new user experience that includes carrier status reports in the U.S., as well as enhanced tools and functionality for customers by year’s end. Financing will also provide capital for strategic infrastructure—including new laboratory space for therapeutic research, a next generation sequencing laboratory as well as other investments in long-term growth.

    Financing leader: Fidelity Management & Research Company

    Additional financial partners: New investors Casdin Capital, WuXi Healthcare Ventures and Xfund; as well as existing investors including Illumina, New Enterprise Associates, MPM Capital, and Google Ventures

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