Despite the combined effects of the pandemic, civil unrest, and skyrocketing unemployment, the biotech market displayed immense growth on all fronts towards the latter half of 2020. Based on recent data from BMO Capital Markets, there was over $17.6B in equity funding in 2Q2020 into biopharma across both IPOs and follow-on rounds. This biotech IPO fundraising scale, purely in terms of dollars raised, is already one of the largest ever witnessed in a quarter. In this report, we honed in on three core subsectors: viral therapy, cancer detection, and drug discovery.
Theolytics recently announced the closing of a $6.8mm Series A round, with plans to use the funding to create a change in the oncolytic viral therapy field. The company aims to accomplish this by using its phenotypic screening platform to discover and develop targeted candidates, suitable for intravenous delivery and optimised for a chosen cancer patient population.
StrideBio is a gene therapy company focused on creating and developing novel adeno-associated viral (AAV) vector technologies and therapeutics for rare diseases. Founded back in 2015, the company has raised over $15mm in funding to date to create improved gene therapies, with a focus on evasion of neutralizing antibodies, enhanced tissue tropism and de-targeting, improved potency and manufacturability at scale.
iVexSol, a rapidly growing lentiviral vector manufacturing company, announced the closure of a $13mm Series A round back in December. The company has raised a total of $15.2mm to date from current investors Casdin Capital and BioLife Solutions. This round of funding will be used to establish a cGMP manufacturing facility in Lexington, MA.
Delfi Diagnostics, a Baltimore-based biotechnology firm, recently raised its $100 million Series A as it looks to scale and move its tech toward clinical trials. Delfi is developing liquid biopsy tests for early cancer detection. The round was led by New York private equity firm OrbiMed, with participation from new investors, including Foresite Capital, Northpond Ventures, Cowen Healthcare Investments, and Rock Springs Capital.
Thrive, based in Cambridge, raised $257 million in Series B financing last June with at least 11 new investors participating, including Bain Capital Life Sciences. Thrive launched early in 2019 with $110 million in Series A funding with aims to assess how well its blood test, CancerSEEK, could detect pieces of tumor DNA and proteins associated with different types of cancers.
Freenome is a privately held biotech company pioneering a comprehensive multiomics platform for early cancer detection with a routine blood draw. Last year, it announced an oversubscribed $270mm Series C financing, bringing the company’s total financing to over $500 million since the company’s launch. The proceeds will be used to accelerate Freenome’s clinical trials for colorectal cancer screening and precancerous lesion detection.
Scorpion Therapeutics is developing a proprietary drug discovery engine to include new protein targets that have the potential to transform cancer treatment paradigms for large patient populations. Less than three months after breaking cover with an impressive $102 million Series A, Scorpion recently finalized a $162 million Series B for its next-gen cancer drugs.
Deepcure is a drug discovery platform designed to improve the breadth and accuracy of pre-clinical drug development. Fueled by over $6mm in disclosed funding, the company’s platform combines deep learning algorithms, cloud computing infrastructure and proprietary database of chemistries to find drug candidates that deliver improved value to patients, enabling healthcare organizations to get drugs rapidly and at an affordable price.
Genesis pairs proven drug developers with the industry’s most advanced small molecule discovery platform to accelerate and optimize the development of new medicines. Back in December, the team closed a marquee $52 million A round to fuel the platform’s growth. Rock Springs Capital led, and was joined by T. Rowe, Andreessen, and Menlo Ventures.
At Conduit, we connect the world’s best operator-investors and founders building the next generation of startups around the world.
As we scale our platform, understanding key market shifts across verticals will become increasingly vital. Our team will be digging deeper into emerging trends and first movers in the coming weeks, which you can find here.