Money on the move: Eagle, Elucidata, Prime Medicine and more
Published: Sep 28, 2022
By Tristan Manalac
Funding initiatives this week saw money flow into cancer, rare liver diseases, respiratory depression, chemotherapy-related toxicities and a cutting-edge machine learning platform, while a biotech start-up guns for an IPO.
BARDA Awards Eagle With $50M For Intramuscular Respiratory Stimulant
The Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority has granted Eagle Pharmaceuticals and its partner Enalare Therapeutics a contract of up to $50.3 million in value to support the development of the latter’s lead intramuscular asset, ENA-001. The candidate is an agnostic respiratory stimulant being tested for drug overdoses or breathing problems after surgery.
Under the terms of the BARDA deal, the sum will be awarded to Enalare once it hits certain milestones and will see the candidate through further pre-clinical, toxicology and human clinical studies up until regulatory filings with the FDA. The first tranche of the contract, valued at approximately $6 million, will allow Enalare to complete activities through Phase I.
Last month, Eagle pumped $12.5 million in equity investment into Enalare, while committing $12.5 million more six months later. A further $30 million is on the horizon for Enalare, payable in two $15-million rounds, each contingent on developmental milestones for ENA-001.
Elucidata Counts $16M in Series A Payday
In its recently concluded Series A funding round, Elucidata Corporation reported earnings of $16 million, which the company plans to channel into its machine learning operations platform Polly, deepening its capabilities in translational drug research and other related fields.
The proceeds will also help the Massachusetts-based firm scale its go-to-market initiatives and expand its global operations. The funding round was led by Eight Roads Ventures and counted F-Prime Capital, IvyCap Ventures and Hyperplane Venture Capital as participants.
Using Elucidata’s proprietary Bio-NLP technology, Polly can quickly curate large volumes of biomedical data at human-level accuracy, making these ready for downstream machine learning applications. R&D teams can also use these cleaned datasets for graphical or programmatic analysis.
Series A Powers Kupando’s Cancer Candidate with $13M
German biotech Kupando announced Monday that it had wrapped up its Series A round of financing, counting approximately $12.45 million in earnings. The funding round was co-led by Remiges ventures and Life Care Partners. Ventura Biomed Investors, High-Tech Gründerfonds and Brandenburg Kapital, along with unnamed family offices, participated.
Kupando plans on using the proceeds to support developmental activities that will allow it to file an investigational new drug application for its lead candidate, KUP101. Combining TLR4 and TLR7 agonists inside one liposome formulation, KUP101 is the only candidate in development that can activate both receptors. The drug is being investigated for a solid tumor indication.
Because both of its agonists can induce a broad immune response, KUP101 can potentially be a standalone anti-tumor agent and be used in combination with other drugs or as a prophylactic vaccine for infectious diseases.
Investment Agreement Wins $20M for Fennec
On Monday, specialty company Fennec Pharma announced that it has received $20 million in senior secured promissory notes, delivered under its existing investment agreement with Petrichor Healthcare Capital Management.
Fennec had already received $5 million under the deal, which was paid out during the initial closing. Monday’s proceeds represented the second closing and were to be paid after the FDA’s approval of the new drug application for PEDMARK (sodium thiosulfate injection) for cisplatin-associated ototoxicity in pediatric patients with metastatic solid tumors. The regulatory agency gave PEDMARK its nod earlier this month.
Under the terms of the investment deal, Fennec remains eligible for up to $20 million in additional funding, pending mutual agreement from Petrichor.
Prime Medicine Files for IPO
On Friday, Prime Medicine filed for its initial public offering. Though the company initially gave no price for its offering, analysis at Renaissance Capital estimates the gene editing startup to have a value of up to $200 million.
In its filing with the Securities and Exchange Committee, Prime described its business as “delivering a new class of differentiated one-time curative genetic therapies,” which it dubbed Prime Editors. Unlike CRISPR, arguably the most popular gene editing technology at the moment, Prime’s approach can correct faulty genetic sequences without making double-stranded breaks in the DNA.
The company is currently looking at 18 therapeutic programs, including sickle cell disease, cystic fibrosis, Duchenne muscular dystrophy, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and Wilson’s disease.
Private Financing Places $72.5M Behind Aadi
Aadi Bioscience announced that it had entered into a securities purchase agreement, selling an aggregate of 3,373,526 shares of its common stock, priced at $12.50 apiece. The company is also selling 2,426,493 shares of its common stock for $12.4999 per pre-funded warrant share. All told, the company expects gross proceeds of $72.5 million.
Aadi will use the funds to continue its PRECISION 1 trial, assessing its mTOR inhibitor FYARRO in solid tumors with the TSC1 or TSC2 inactivating mutations. Net proceeds will also help the company grow FYARRO’s commercial efforts and drive R&D activities to further develop and open clinical opportunities for FYARRO. Along with current cash, marketable securities and cash equivalents, the financing will fund Aadi’s operating and capital expenditures into 2025.
Royalty Monetization Agreement Nets Albireo $115M in Cash
Rare disease company Albireo Pharma entered into a royalty monetization agreement with Sagard Healthcare Partners. For $115 million upfront, Sagard will be eligible for a mid-single digit average royalty rate on the global sales of Bylvay (odevixibat), Albireo’s drug for pruritus in young infants, related to all types of progressive familial intrahepatic cholestasis.
Under the terms of the deal, Sagard will enjoy a 12.5% royalty rate up to $250 million, beyond which the rate drops to 5% for annual net revenues. Meanwhile, Albireo will remain entitled to buy-out options, valued at various multiples of the initial invested capital.