Money in motion: ImmunoScape, Evotec, Ventyx and more


This week’s money has been poured into various therapeutic areas like cancer and inflammatory disorders, while government and philanthropic grants fund the fight against infectious diseases.

ImmunoScape seeks cancer-specific TCR candidates with $14 million in funding

With its latest round of funding closing Tuesday, a preclinical biotechnology company Immunoscape now has $14 million in new funds to inject into its proprietary Deep Immunomics platform.

By combining computational biology and machine learning, Deep Immunomics can screen tens of millions of T cells from hundreds of cancer patients in hopes of identifying rare, clinically relevant targets and potential candidates.

The San Diego, Calif.-based company has extensively validated this approach and is relying on Deep Immunomics to build a strong pipeline of cancer candidates. ImmunoScape’s global headquarters are located in Singapore.

The funds will also help the company accelerate its discovery and development programs and advance its most promising assets to the clinic. During the funding round, led by Anzu Partners, ImmunoScape won a new backer in Singapore-based Amgen Ventures and EDBI.

US DOD invests nearly $50 million in Evotec to prepare for plague

Evotec announcement Tuesday that its Seattle-based subsidiary, Just – Evotec Biologicssigned a $49.9 million contract with the United States Department of Defense (DoD) to develop a drug based on monoclonal antibodies against the plague.

Under the agreement, the company will be responsible for the discovery and development of the prototype drug, from sequence discovery through its first-in-human Phase I study. Evotec is also expected to provide preclinical and clinical capabilities for the approval of prophylactic monoclonal antibodies.

Caused by bacteria Yersinia pestis, plague is usually transmitted to humans by rodents and fleas. Although antibiotics are usually effective in curing it, plague can still progress to severe illness or death if left unchecked. Plague is classified as a target of interest under the DoD’s Accelerated Antibody Program.

The Rockefeller Foundation commits $15 million to fight AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria

On Monday, the Rockefeller Foundation promised $15 million to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. The money will go into a Laboratory Systems Strengthening Catalytic Fund, which hopes to help establish public health laboratories in low- and middle-income countries.

The Global Fund is holding its seventh replenishment conference on Wednesday, and this year it aims to raise $18 billion for its campaign against these infectious diseases and to back up its progress over the years amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The proceeds will also help the Global Fund manage several projects through 2025.

In 2019, the Rockefeller Foundation gave an additional $15 million to the Global Fund’s Data Science Catalytic Fund, strengthening community health information systems in LMICs.

Ventyx puts shares up for sale for $176 million

Ventyx Biosciences at the clinical stage announcement that it is selling 5,350,000 common shares at a price of $33.0 per share to accredited investors and qualified institutional buyers. The company expects gross proceeds of $176.6 million before deducting agent fees, among other expenses.

Net proceeds from the stock purchase agreement will help the California biopharmaceutical company fund the clinical development of its VTX958, VTX002, VTX2735 and VTX3232 assets. The money will also go into Ventyx’s preclinical programs and other research activities and will be used for general working capital and other similar purposes.

The company’s cash trails are led by San Francisco, Calif.-based investment firm Redmile Group. The private placement closed on Tuesday and is expected to open Ventyx’s cash trail through 2025.

Naveris wins $51 million in Serie A

After the $33.4 million expansion from its Series A funding round, commercial-stage company Naveris, Inc. now has $51 million, which it will use to push the commercialization of its flagship NavDx product.

Designed to detect HPV-related cancers early, NavDx is a blood test that uses Naveris’ patented DNA fragmentomics technology, which can distinguish between viral DNA from cancers and that caused by infections. More than 25 medical institutions have partnered with Naveris to use and study its platform. The company is also working with other companies to develop immunotherapies for HPV-related cancers.

The funding round was led by Gurnet Point Capital. TechU Ventures and BrightEdge, the venture capital arm of the American Cancer Society, participated.

Theravance launches a $250 million capital repayment program

Thanks to a capital repayment program approved Monday by its board of directors, Theravance BiopharmaInc. is seeking to buy out GSK’s entire stake in the company.

Currently, the pharmaceutical giant owns 9.6 million shares of Theravance, priced at $9.75 a share. That deal ended on Tuesday.

Theravance also plans to launch an auction tender offer in the Netherlands to purchase approximately $95 million of its common stock. After that, the company plans to launch an open market stock buyback plan to buy about $60 million of its common stock. The company expects to complete the latter program by the end of 2023.

RIGImmune buys sub-introduction

RIGImmune RNA Immunotherapy Company acquired Subintro last week, hoping to add the latter’s antiviral therapeutic candidates to its own pipeline. The newly combined companies will focus on intranasal drug delivery, stimulating innate and antiviral mucosal responses.

RIGImmune works on stemloop RNA therapeutic molecules that activate the innate immune sensor RIG-I. The company hopes this approach will demonstrate strong panviral activity and be viable for the prophylaxis of viral respiratory diseases and cancers. Its main candidate is called RIG-101.

Meanwhile, Subintro has a healthy range of antivirals for the treatment of respiratory diseases triggered by RNA viruses, such as influenza and respiratory syncytial virus.

Along with the acquisition, RIGImmune also announced that investment firm F-Prime capital is supporting the company.

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