Beam Therapeutics Inc., a biotechnology company developing precision genetic medicines through base editing, raised $207M after announcing, on February 5th, the pricing of its initial public offering of 10,588,236 shares of common stock, at $17.00 per share.
The aggregate gross proceeds, higher than expected
Beam Therapeutics’ common stock started trading on the Nasdaq Global Select Market on February 6, 2020 under the ticker symbol “BEAM.” All shares in the offering were offered by Beam Therapeutics. J.P. Morgan, Jefferies and Barclays acted as joint book-running managers for the offering; Wedbush PacGrow acted as lead manager.
Beam Therapeutics granted the underwriters a 30-day option to buy up to an extra 1,588,235 shares of common stock at the initial public offering price, less the underwriting discounts and commissions.
The gross proceeds of the offering, before deducting underwriting discounts and commissions and other offering expenses payable by Beam Therapeutics, were expected to be around $180M, excluding any exercise of the underwriters’ option to purchase additional shares. February 11th, the company announced the closing of its initial public offering of 12,176,471 shares of common stock, including the exercise in full by the underwriters of their option to purchase up to 1,588,235 additional shares of common stock, at a public offering price of $17.00 per share. The aggregate gross proceeds to Beam Therapeutics from the offering were higher than expected, reaching approximately $207 million, before deducting underwriting discounts and commissions and other offering expenses.
Precision medicine can reduce costs without compromising quality of care
Precision medicine, the field in which Beam Therapeutics operates, according to the Precision Medicine Initiative, refers to “an emerging approach for disease treatment and prevention that takes into account individual variability in genes, environment, and lifestyle for each person.” This personalized approach allows doctors and researchers to pinpoint more accurately which treatment and prevention strategies will work for a particular disease in particular groups of people. This strategy is contrary to the one-size-fits-all approach, in which disease treatment and prevention strategies are conceived for the average person.
Clay Christiansen has described precision medicine as disruptive in its ability to drive down health care costs without compromising quality or outcomes.
Basically, the power of precision medicine lies in its ability to enable doctors and researchers to find the most effective treatment for a given patient, thus improving care quality, while reducing both costs and stress for patients, since further diagnostic testing and tentative therapies are rendered unnecessary earlier in the diagnostic process.
There is, however, a distinction between personalized medicine and precision medicine. If the first refers to an approach that considers genetic make-up but with attention to patient preferences, beliefs, attitudes, knowledge and social context, precision medicine describes a model for health care delivery that relies heavily on data, analytics, and information. This model goes beyond genomics and other molecular technologies, and must embrace digital health, data sharing and data science to be successful.
Other precision medicine companies raised funds to advance research
Beam Therapeutics is not the only precision medicine company to go public in order to acquire more capital to fund their research.
Genome editing firm, Precision BioSciences has also filed for an initial public offering (IPO) seeking to raise $100 million, which it wants to use to advance its pipeline.
The money raised from the IPO is expected to help complete a phase 1/2a trial of lead off-the-shelf or allogeneic CAR-T targeting CD19 in non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, which is due to get underway in the first half of this year. This comes as the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), in November, accepted the company’s investigational new drug (IND), application for its first gene-edited allogeneic CAR-T cell candidate targeting CD19.
Another company trying to acquire capital, Seattle-based RNA-gene editing therapy start-up Shape Therapeutics (ShapeTx), has raised $35.5 million in a Series A financing round. The company wanted to use the funds to hire top genetics scientists, capable of advancing its RNA and protein targeting platforms.These included the proprietary ShapeTx RNAfix technology that enables direct in vivo targeting and modification of RNA by leveraging proteins such as Adenosine Deaminases Acting on RNA (ADARs), suppressor tRNAs, and engineered adeno-associated viruses (AAVs).
About Beam Therapeutics
Beam Therapeutics (Nasdaq:BEAM) is a biotechnology company developing precision genetic medicines through the use of base editing. Beam’s proprietary base editors create precise, predictable and efficient single base changes, at targeted genomic sequences, without making double-stranded breaks in the DNA. By using base editors to rewrite a single letter of the genome, Beam has the potential to create life-long cures for patients suffering from serious diseases. Base editors can be used for numerous therapeutic applications to treat disease. They can be used to correct disease-causing point mutations, to modify genes to create protective genetic variations, to activate or silence gene expression, or “multiplex” by making multiple simultaneous base edits. Using this toolkit of approaches, the company is advancing a broad, diversified portfolio of 12 base editing programs against distinct editing targets and diseases.
Bigfoot Biomedical, a medical device company working on simplifying and optimizing insulin delivery and dosing decisions for people living with insulin-requiring diabetes through the use of AI and automation, announced that it has raised $45 million in the initial tranche of a Series C equity financing.
The financing round was led by Abbot, with participation from existing investors such as Quadrant Capital Advisors, Senvest Capital, Janus Henderson, and Cormorant Asset Management.
How Bigfoot will use the money
Bigfoot said it plans to use the funds raised from this financing round to support the completion of product development and U.S Food and Drug Administration (FDA) clearance for the Bigfoot Unity Diabetes Management Program, an injection-based digitized insulin dosing platform utilizing a proprietary, connected insulin pen-based system that is integrated with Abbott’s FreeStyle Libre glucose sensing technology.
The Milpitas, California-based company hopes to submit Bigfoot Unity for FDA clearance sometime this year and expects to launch the product by the end of 2020.
In addition, Bigfoot said the funds raised in the Series C financing would be used for clinical trials of future generations Bigfoot Unity systems that incorporate closed-loop technology for injection users.
Bigfoot and Abbott solidify partnership
Jeffrey Brewer, Chief Executive Officer of Bigfoot Biomedical, said Abbott’s investment “bolsters and validates our approach to provide a wholly integrated offering, utilizing innovative technologies. Our industry partnership with Abbott uniquely positions us to reduce the heavy burden of dosing decisions for people with insulin-requiring diabetes.”
In addition to leading the Series C financing, Abbott has entered into a commercial agreement with Bigfoot to develop and commercialize diabetes management programs that integrate with the FreeStyle Libre platform, a statement said.
Bigfoot says its integrated system and services address many of the challenges facing people with Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes, health care providers, and insurance institutions.
In 2018, Bigfoot raised $55 million in Series B financing which was also led by Abbott. At the time, the company said it planned to use the funding to support the development and clinical evaluation of its closed-loop automated insulin delivery system, Bigfoot Loop, and its connected insulin pen-based decision support system, Bigfoot Inject.
The latest financing round comes two years after Bigfoot and Abbott signed a deal to develop and commercialize diabetes management systems. The deal was meant to bring together Abbott’s FreeStyle Libre glucose monitoring tech and Bigfoot’s insulin delivery platform.
Under the terms of the deal, Abbott was to provide Bigfoot with the next-gen version of its FreeStyle Libre continuous glucose monitor. The glucose monitor was then to be to develop the first personalized system intended to optimize insulin delivery without the need for a fingerstick calibration.
Digital diabetes space kicks off 2020 with a bang
DTxIntelligence, which is tracking digital diabetes funding, tweeted that it was only mid-January, but funding in that space had surpassed all the funding that was raised in the first quarter of 2019. At that time, digital diabetes companies had raised just over $108 million, whereas, in January of this year, $165.5 million has been raised. DTxIntelligence said Bigfoot’s initial $45 million Series C round, Companion Medical’s $27.5 million debt financing, and Virta Health’s $93 million Series C round had driven the uptick in financing.
Virta Health, a company that says it has a treatment to sustainably reverse type 2 diabetes (T2D) said it will use the money it raised in Series C financing to combat type 2 diabetes. The company said it will also invest in further prospective research to expand its treatment to other diseases.
The American Diabetes Association reported that the population diagnosed with diabetes grew by 700,000 people annually between 2012 and 2015, with such prevalence projected to continue rising over time as the population grows and ages. As more people are diagnosed with diabetes, it is estimated that by 2022, the digital diabetes market will reach $742 million.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that at least 9.4 percent of the U.S. population or 30.3 million people have diabetes. A total of 23.1 million have been diagnosed with the disease while 7.9 million are undiagnosed. This creates an estimated $400 billion economic burden.
Ischemic strokes can cause havoc in the brain, but early and properly directed treatment can mitigate a lot of damage. While there are a number of options to unclog blocked arteries, the potential to provide additional drug therapy remains mostly unexplored because of the difficulty in getting medications past the blood-brain barrier.
Now, researchers at the University of Manchester are reporting that they were able to pass liposomes across the tiny tears in the vasculature that occur during ischemic strokes. Liposomes are lipid vesicles, naturally produced by the body and easily made in the lab, that are only about 100 nanometers wide.
Fluorescently labelled liposomes selectively translocated into the stroke area left side of brain
In tests on mice, they used in vivo real-time imaging and histological analysis to show that the liposomes successfully penetrated the blood-brain barrier and into the area injured by stroke.
“Liposomes are a tried and tested method of delivering drugs to the body – and are currently used to treat patients, for example, to target cancer drugs into the tumor at high doses which increases their concentration relative to other parts of the body,” said Dr Zahraa Al-Ahmady, the lead researcher of the study appearing in ACS Nano. “They are easy to manufacture and used across the NHS. But our research shows that liposomes have important implications for neurologists too.”
Now that this technology has been developed, it should be possible to press forward with assessing potential chemical compounds that may alleviate and potentially reverse damage caused by strokes.
Circulating tumor cells can point to the existence of cancer and provide information about its progression. Capturing these cells remains a tricky process. Dozens of devices have been developed that do their best to grab onto only the cancer cells being looked for, but they all suffer from problems such as poor efficiency, damage to the captured cells, and manufacturing complexity.
Researchers at Georgia Tech have now 3D printed a device that works in a novel way to filter out red and white blood cells, leaving only tumor cells that are unharmed and ready for genetic analysis.
The device requires very little prep work, uses a reasonably small amount of blood, and doesn’t require much technical knowledge to operate.
Since the technology is not designed to seek out specific cancer cells, it can capture most cells that are cancerous. This is because the “negative enrichment” process, as the researchers call it, focuses on getting rid of the vast majority of the blood’s normal components.
The new device required very long and winding channels that work to capture blood cells. These channels would normally get clogged by the printing wax, but the researchers were able to heat and spin them in a centrifuge. This cleaned out the channels so that sample blood can pass through.
An antigen deposited within the channels is designed to capture white blood cells, while a commercial filter separates red cells from the remaining few white blood cells and circulating tumor cells.
BOSTON, MA, Biopharmaceutical company has closed an $80M Series B financing.
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Oncologie, an innovative biopharmaceutical company using proprietary biomarkers to drive clinical development of next-generation oncology therapeutics, announced today that it has closed an $80M Series B financing. Existing investors, led by Nan Fung Life Sciences and Pivotal BioVentures China, are joined by a syndicate of new investors including Panacea Venture Healthcare and Korea Investment Partners.The funding will be used to advance Oncologie’s three clinical stage programs, as well as its proprietary biomarker platform and in-licensing activities. Oncologie will initiate key clinical trials in the coming months, including a global proof of concept gastric cancer study with its lead compound, bavituximab, in combination with pembrolizumab (Keytruda). Bavituximab is an investigational immune-modulatory monoclonal antibody that targets phosphatidylserine (PS), a phospholipid that inhibits the ability of immune cells to recognize and fight tumors. Oncologie’s other programs include a TLR9 activator, lefitolimod, and a unique VEGF-targeting antibody, varisacumab. Oncologie’s biomarker platform is designed to better inform patient selection across the portfolio by matching patients lacking a genetic “driver” mutation with the right medicine and allowing for selection of patients for treatment based on the microenvironmental defects of their tumor. The Company will also continue to leverage its platform to identify best-in-class assets for licensing and development.
“Expectations for precision medicine are increasing worldwide. By matching the right drug to the right patient, Oncologie’s innovative biomarker platform is designed to build value by narrowing patient populations, accelerating development timelines and reducing failure,” said Laura E. Benjamin, PhD, Founder, President, and CEO. “This funding allows us to accelerate the development of our pipeline and platform, and grow our portfolio through partnering or acquisition.”
“Over the past year, Oncologie has assembled an outstanding team of experienced professionals and a robust pipeline around a truly innovative biomarker platform,” said Peter Bisgaard, Managing Director for NanFung Life Sciences and Managing Partner of Pivotal BioVenture Partners. “I am particularly excited by Oncologie’s biomarker strategy and approach, which leverages cutting-edge science to optimize patient selection in the challenging arena of the tumor microenvironment. This team has ambitious and strategic growth plan for building a leading oncology therapeutics company around this platform and around a pipeline of next-generation immunotherapies. ”
About Oncologie, Inc.
ONCOLOGIE is an oncology therapeutics company committed to delivering better outcomes for cancer patients through an improved understanding of which patients will benefit from each drug in the pipeline. The current pipeline is focused on mid-stage clinical programs that modify the immune system to enhance efficacy of current standards of care and emerging immunotherapy agents. Headquartered in Boston, Massachusetts and Shanghai, China, Oncologie is working with global partners to acquire and develop innovative drugs for cancer patients around the world. For more information on Oncologie, Inc., please visit WWW.ONCOLOGIE.INTERNATIONAL.
Infusion pumps have been known to be a vector for a variety of medical mistakes, primarily adverse drug events. This has become such an issue that a few years ago the FDA began its Infusion Pump Improvement Initiative. One of the results of this program was the establishment of new requirements, aimed at reducing errors, for the manufacture of infusion pumps. Ivenix, a company based outside of Boston, just received FDA clearance for its Ivenix Infusion System that was envisioned, designed, and manufactured with the new requirements in mind.
The product is a large-volume infusion pump that features proprietary adaptive flow control technology that measures the fluid moving through the pump and adjusts its action in real time. This helps to eliminate the chance of free flow and nearly guarantees that the proper amount of fluids is administered throughout treatment.
Operating the pump was designed to be reminiscent of how one uses a smartphone, which helps to make things intuitive, reduces setup time, and minimizes errors and alarms. Ivenix believes that the benefits the pump delivers should lead to savings associated with reduced error rates.
Additional features of the Ivenix Infusion System include a wide range of administration sets and a management suite that lets clinicians remotely monitor infusions and be notified of any problems.
“For years, I’ve studied smart infusion pump safety and efficiency,” said Karen Giuliano, PhD, RN, FAAN, Associate Professor and Executive Director of Healthcare Innovation at Northeastern University Bouvé College of Health Sciences, in a press release. “My research has focused on revealing the serious usability challenges, which exist in the most commonly used IV smart pumps. Data suggest that the Ivenix Infusion System can enable clinicians to more quickly administer IV medications with significantly fewer errors compared with today’s leading pumps. Nurses, and the healthcare industry as a whole, have been waiting for an innovative solution like this.”