BridgeBio raises $1.25bn, and other biotech financings

BridgeBio raises $1.25bn, and other biotech financings

Our round-up of recent biotech financings is headed by a massive $1.25 billion round for genetic medicines specialist BridgeBio Pharma, with smaller rounds for Tr1X, Comanche Biopharma, Ratio Therapeutics, and Myrobalan Therapeutics.

Blue Owl Capital and Canada Pension Plan Investment Board have stepped in to bulk up cash reserves at BridgeBio as it prepares for the launch of acoramidis for transthyretin amyloid cardiomyopathy (ATTR-CM) and a market showdown with much larger rival Pfizer and its $2.5 billion Vyndaqel/Vyndamax (tafamidis) franchise, plus an extensive late-stage clinical trials programme.

The financing includes $300 million from Blue Owl and $200 million from CPPIB Credit that will be payable on the first approval of acoramidis and help fund its rollout, in return for royalties of 5% of worldwide net sales.

Blue Owl has also agreed to provide $450 million to refinance BridgeBio’s credit facility, extending its lifespan from 2026 to 2029, and the financing also includes $300 million for other development activities, including funding late-stage trials.

Those include phase 3 studies of acoramidis in achondroplasia, limb-girdle muscular dystrophy type 2I (LGMD2I), and autosomal dominant hypocalcaemia type 1 (ADH1). The new financing comes after BridgeBio raised $250 million last September, shortly after it reported phase 3 data for the drug that suggests it could become a real challenger to Pfizer’s drugs.

San Diego-based cell therapy start-up Tr1X has emerged from stealth with $75 million in a first round that will be used to help bring its off-the-shelf regulatory T-cell (Treg) and CAR-Treg therapies into the clinic for autoimmune and inflammatory diseases.

Tr1X’s candidates are claimed to be the first engineered Type 1 regulatory T (Tr1) cell therapeutics to be derived from universal donors. Tr1 cells prevent the body mounting an immune response to ‘self’ antigens. Dr Roncarolo, TR1X’s scientific founder, president, and head of R&D , said that Tr1 cells “have unique properties and represent the ideal therapeutic platform from which to develop ‘immune reset’ products.”

The biotech’s pipeline is led by TRX103, a candidate for the prevention of graft-versus-host disease (GvHD) in patients undergoing stem cell transplants from unmatched donors. Others are targeting inflammatory bowel disease, type 1 diabetes, and B cell-mediated autoimmune diseases.

The round was led by The Column Group, with participation from NEVA SGR and Alexandria Ventures.

Comanche Biopharma has raised $75 million in a Series B round to fund clinical testing of its experimental treatment targeting a cause of preeclampsia, a complication of pregnancy that results in spikes in blood pressure and can cause complications for the mother and unborn child. It occurs in around 10 million pregnancies every year world.

The RNA interference-based drug -which is called CBP-4888 and has completed phase 1 testing - targets mRNA isoforms coding for the protein sFLT1, which is produced in the placenta and has been implicated as a possible mechanism behind preeclampsia. The new funds will be used to take the project into phase 2.

The Series B was led by New Enterprise Associates, which was joined by new investor Atlas Venture, as well as existing backers Google Ventures, F-Prime Capital, Lilly Asia Ventures, and Longview Healthcare Ventures. NEA partner and former FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb has joined Comanche’s board of directors.

Radiopharmaceutical developer Ratio Therapeutics closed a $50 million Series B from existing investors Schusterman and Duquesne and new backers PagsGroup, Bristol Myers Squibb, and the Center for Technology Licensing at Cornell University.

Proceeds will go towards further development of its two technology platforms – Trillium for binding to drug targets and Macropa for delivering alpha particles to destroy tumour cells – and to bring forwards Ratio’s lead radiopharmaceutical asset RTX-1363S targeting fibroblast activation protein-alpha (FAP) and with potential in epithelial-derived cancers.

The fundraising comes around a year after the Boston-based biotech, which already has partnerships in place with Bayer and Lantheus, completed a $20 million first round.

Massachusetts biotech Myrobalan Therapeutics has added $24 million to its cash reserves via a Series A led by Co-win Ventures, with Guan Zi Equity Investment, 3E Bioventures Capital, and AB Magnitude Ventures Group also participating.

The start-up is focusing on the development of oral small-molecule drugs for neurodegenerative diseases, including a GPR17 antagonist that could promote the remyelination of neurons, with potential in disorders like multiple sclerosis. Also in the pipeline is a CSF1R inhibitor that could target the demyelination process and neuroinflammation, and a TYK2 inhibitor also designed to reduce neuroinflammation.

The cash injection will be enough to advance the first of the three ‘neurorestorative’ assets into clinic trials, according to Myrobalan.